Close

From information chaos to information architecture
Part 3: Case

In part 1 and part 2 we looked at the preconditions and steps to turn chaos into structure. In this final part, we’ll share a case study to demonstrate how we put the theory of optimizing information architecture and information management into practice.

Flow consultants know the way to efficient information management

Context: Implementing Microsoft Office 365 as opportunity

The management of the Belgian railway system is done by independent departments that closely work together. The most important parties are the rail infrastructure and the railway operators. As requested by the IT-department, Flow analyzed the information management of different management boards in one of the most important operators (NMBS). We mainly focused on the aspect of ‘sharing information and knowledge with colleagues’. In this article, we put the new method of sharing information and communicating knowledge into practice.

Initially, Flow was requested to help cope with the wave of new software tools introduced by Office 365. Teams and SharePoint Online, for example, require a different approach to information management.

“Show us how to organize our content”

For the analysis, we used the method discussed in our previous article on information management. Not entirely unexpectedly, the employees had reached the limits of their current way of working, which mainly involved file servers and e-mail.

Common remarks were:

  • “Why don’t I have access?”
  • “Is this the right version?”
  • “What file is located where?”

The new possibilities presented by Office 365 were seen as a hopeful opportunity. People were prepared to make use of them, but also nervous about taking that leap. They were looking for practical help in organizing their own ‘content’.

Future-proof information management in 4 use scenarios

Flow helped design and implement a new way of cooperating and communicating.

The three pillars of this approach:

  • Future-proof, in the sense of flexibility
  • Clear and unambiguous
  • Based on needs, not purely on the organizational structure

Everything started with an efficient structure of the information, adapted to fit use scenarios. For information sharing, there are four possible scenarios:

Approach and tools

In the start-up phase, we interviewed employees in all relevant roles (purchasing, supplier management, accounting etc.) to gain insight into their way of working, the document types they used and any methods of improvement they could think of.

It quickly became clear that it would take different combinations of IT-tools and guidelines to facilitate working together. Cooperating with clearly defined team sites, project sites and community sites.

We grouped the sites on a landing page (hub) for easy navigation. Each site is based on (cloud) software such as SharePoint, Onedrive, Outlook, Teams… and equipped with the relevant libraries, templates, forms and links.

Results

As we expected, the introduction of a new method and new software was sometimes overwhelming. We provided the NMBS employees with support in the form of templates and clear structures, making it easier for them to build a digital workplace and use it efficiently.

The right communication, regular trainings, digital support and face-to-face conversations increased involvement and made sure everyone remained on board.

 

Flow technical communication specializes in all aspects of technical documentation, such as writing manuals, organizing information and facilitating knowledge transfer.