Published
November 22, 2019
Category
Drupal 8 / Development
client
Presidency of the Republic

01. Overview

Just like organizations in the private sector, governments thrive when communication is made easy. All too often, however, the opposite situation exists. Departments operate in isolation, getting things done without significant input from other agencies, even those with complementary functions.If departments were better connected, they could disseminate information and pool resources more effectively. The solution is an intranet. Unfortunately, individual intranets don’t often link, which leaves an assortment of communication bubbles all working side-by-side, with no knowledge of each other.Intranets are private networks built by organizations to distribute information to their employees and facilitate resource sharing. They’ve been in use for decades and are an efficient method for connecting group members while keeping prying eyes out. But unless they connect everyone that needs to be in communication, their effectiveness is reduced.Uruguay was contending with this problem when they called us. The Presidency of the Republic had patchy intranet coverage and was interested in rectifying the situation. They had existing intranets that needed improvement, new intranets that needed to be added, and ultimately they wanted all of them unified under a single intranet that included every unit within the Presidency.
“The Presidency of the Republic operates under a complex hierarchy that includes the Presidency, executing units, and dependent units”

02. The Challenge

 
 
 
 
 

The Presidency of the Republic operates under a complex hierarchy that includes the Presidency, executing units, and dependent units. The latter two categories include departments and agencies that either execute instructions directly or are dependent on the Presidency in some way.

There is quite a bit of interdependence between all of the players involved, and critical information commonly needs to be passed up and down the chain of command. Before our involvement, this wasn’t easy.

Some of the units had intranets, but they weren’t connected to other units within the Presidency. Some units had no intranet coverage at all. Worst of all, no intranet combined every unit into a single communication block, precluding the President and his office from disseminating information to his entire staff at once.

In many ways, having an assortment of disconnected intranets was worse than having none at all. Connected units could communicate quickly among their staff but often forgot to forward critical updates to units that weren’t connected. Units without intranets were forced to communicate using different channels. The President and his immediate staff had to contend with multiple communication networks, which meant information was often delayed, miscommunicated, or lost entirely.

The President’s staff came to us seeking a solution. They wanted a single, unified intranet that allowed the entire Presidency of the Republic to communicate directly. However, each unit also wanted the ability to communicate internally, inaccessible to the rest of the Presidency, so they needed separate intranets as well. 

Ideally, both the unified and unit-specific intranets would share an interface so that staff members would have one destination for all of their communications.

The client knew they wanted to use Drupal, so they set about finding a web development firm keenly experienced with the technology. Kadabra IT was the logical choice. We bring more than six years of high-level Drupal experience. We regularly contribute within the Drupal community and ensure that our developers are PHP certified. We got to work.

03. Our Solution

 
 
 
 
 
 

The first thing we did was formulate a plan for combining nearly 20 separate intranets into one unified whole, while still allowing the individuals a degree of autonomy.

We designed a multi-domain architecture with Drupal, which allowed the same intranet to be accessed through different URLs. For example, the Agency for Electronic Government and Information and Knowledge Society (AGESIC) would access the intranet through the URL:

  • agesic.intranetpresidencia.gub.uy

Simultaneously, the Regulatory Unit for Energy and Water Services (URSEA) had access through the URL:

  • ursea.intranetpresidencia.gub.uy

Each unit was assigned a URL in the same manner. Only the subdomain (the bold section) differed with each. This allowed us to identify which unit was requesting access. Then we engineered a system that permitted both global content and unit-specific content to be displayed within the same framework. Each unit would see all communications on the unified intranet and their own internal messages without having access to the other units.

We also built safeguards to prevent individual units from inadvertently sharing privileged department information through the intranet portal’s unified section.

04. The Results

 
 
 
 

Communication blossomed across the entire Presidency and within individual units. Departments that had never had intranet access were blown away by how easy it was to keep tabs on essential matters. And the President and his staff finally had single channel access to every single unit within the Presidency.

Individual staff members were empowered to share knowledge and expertise within their unit and with the rest of the Presidency. Discussions were free and open, with full certainty of confidentiality when needed. Leadership was able to disseminate critical updates quickly and easily.

No matter where staff members found themselves, they had one destination where they could connect and find the information they needed.

The intranet also made onboarding new employees simpler. It provided a single access point for training documents and organizational information, conveniently divided between unit-specific material and material relating to the entire Presidency.

The intranet’s chat feature also diminished the Presidency’s reliance on email for internal messaging. Chat provided them instant access to individuals within every unit.

The Presidency of the Republic was grateful to finally have a fully-interconnected intranet system designed to their precise specifications, and they were impressed with the work that went into its creation.

As one staff member put it, “Kadabra IT has a combination of professionalism, knowledge, and communication skills that truly creates a world-class work experience.” For our part, we thoroughly enjoyed the challenges this project provided us, and we were happy to deliver a solution that worked perfectly for our client.