Moving from communication to collaboration (Pléiade)
About the Ministry of Education and the ministry of higher education and research
With over a million staff members, the Ministries are some of the largest employers in the world. Their organizational structure consists of a centralized administration and decentralized departments. Shortly after the year 2000, the central administration set up an intranet portal for its departments, with the aim of improving the dissemination and sharing of information. This was the first version of the Pléiade intranet.
The intranet was designed to foster interaction between departments via its publishing functionalities for institutional information and document-sharing functionalities. After changing its maintenance provider in 2007, together the Ministries and CGI entered into a new phase of considerable transformation of the portal. In the last four years, Pléiade has undergone many technical and functional changes to make it a more comprehensive and powerful tool. The adoption of this technology is helping the Ministries attain their goal of improved communication between central administration staff and the regional education authorities.
The challenge was to create a dynamic platform which supported staff from various departments working together.
Project Pléiade was a step forward from document management to a real collaborative workspace. This change was put in place gradually. First, maintenance was carried out on the existing document management portal. Then from 2009, the existing collaborative layer was replaced by a Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure.
Upgrading Pléiade required carefully-controlled technical transformations, as Pléiade is not just one simple communication site. Primarily it is aimed at a very important user group, including all central administration officials, regional education authority staff, and external partners. This called for a seldom-implemented technical architecture with heavy data transfer, affecting key elements of the infrastructure, for example authentication procedures and high-availability.
A success story
Today, Pléiade is a key communication tool between central administration staff and regional education authorities. Each of them can:
- Set up collaborative workspaces per project team or per theme
- manage participants
- share documents and calendar
- contribute to mailing list discussions
- set up think-tanks
This collaboration platform, which has become a reference in the education field, is today used by 6,000 central administration officials, and is going to be deployed to 150,000 employees in the regional education authorities. Pléiade responds to the Ministry's ambition to promote collaboration and access to information, both valuable resources. This portal opens up the attractive possibility of improving group efficiency, by facilitating process automation.