Case Study Miles Smith: A modern intranet on SharePoint for UK insurance company

Insurance company Miles Smith chose Valo, a modern intranet on SharePoint, to improve their internal communications, to publish news without the need to understand technology and store documents.

  • Industry: Insurance
  • Country: UK
  • Company Size: <250 users

Starting Point:

Miles Smith is an insurance company based in London, UK, employing 220 workers.

The company’s previous intranet, Smithy, was outdated. Because of slow internet speed, it couldn’t open automatically on everyone’s screen. Staff had to log in with a different set of credentials. In addition, they found content difficult to locate and publish, resulting in only a handful of visitors logging on each month.

The organization invested in Office 365 with SharePoint as their new intranet. However, it soon became clear that SharePoint out-of-the-box had a few drawbacks for Miles Smith.

In particular, the project team felt it had a limited user interface and was not easy to customize. Furthermore, the standard search capabilities and inability to group content were also a problem.

Solution:

Alex Eggar from Valo Partner Yoko:10 demoed SharePoint intranet for Miles Smith. When its limitations became clear, Alex suggested Valo Intranet because it is built 100 percent on top of modern SharePoint.

Valo Intranet sits on top of SharePoint to enhance internal communications for news and documents.

The project team agreed that Valo Intranet filled many of the gaps found in standard SharePoint. Yoko:10 assisted with the installation and roll-out of Valo Intranet in July 2019.

Benefits:

  • Ability to create customized ‘content hubs’ which are key for publishing news, corporate documents and events
  • Customizable search results page
  • An intranet on SharePoint
  • Useful ‘People Finder’ feature
  • One-off license rather than a pay-per-user fee
Miles Smith's Valo Intranet on SharePoint

Miles Smith’s new Valo Intranet on top of modern SharePoint

A digital transformation

Miles Smith Insurance Group is an independent insurance broker based in the heart of London’s financial district. It is a Specialist Risk Group company with 220 employees, including 80 who work directly for Miles Smith Insurance Solutions. The organization is a market leader in arranging insurance solutions for businesses operating in high-risk and specialist industries.

The company was keen to update its old intranet platform, Smithy, that only a small number of staff used. A major issue was the lack of control over whether people logged on or not. Smithy didn’t open automatically on everyone’s screens but instead, staff had to log in with no single sign-on capability.

Following a digital transformation program across the company, the IT team invested in Office 365 and SharePoint. They wanted to take advantage of the full Office 365 suite of tools including SharePoint and use the new intranet to bring the organization together.

Focus on content, not the technology

Alex Eggar, intranet and collaboration consultant at Valo Partner, Yoko:10, took the project team through a demo. However, one concern was that the SharePoint communication sites wouldn’t have a standard look and feel.

Alex suggested Valo Intranet, which is built on top of communication sites, hub sites and team sites. As such it provides organizations with the features they need to increase collaboration and engagement via their intranet.

Valo Intranet enhances SharePoint intranet and allows content producers, communications and HR teams to focus on the content alone instead of understanding the technology behind it.

Staff needs no prior technical knowledge. As Valo Intranet is built on an existing framework, it is possible to take advantage of what is already in place.

The Miles Smith marketing team have benefited from using the new intranet for day-to-day activities.

Valo Intranet has allowed people who aren’t experts in coding or SharePoint to use it and easily make changes in it. Colleagues can work on an interface they are not familiar with but they’ve adapted to it and picked it up pretty quickly. This is very helpful for me as marketing manager as it speeds up the whole process.

Annie Wakeman
Marketing Manager, Miles Smith Insurance Group

A central storage site

The new intranet provides a central storage site for important company documents. The organization can now put all its documents in one place. The operations team is currently categorizing them by department, subject matter and document type. There is one place to store everything, especially non-insurance documents including policies, procedures, and standards. Once completed this will be rolled out and available 24/7.

In addition, Valo Intranet gives a professional image to internal communications with an attractive platform to communicate effectively. As Valo is built on Office 365 staff are already familiar with the features. The improved user interface is the icing on the cake when it comes to how the intranet looks and feels.

It’s not complicated to post news, helped by the fact that it’s all linked in with our current ecosystem, Office 365. That simplicity and ease with which we can post an article or a news post and upload a document is familiar to us already, the back-end of it. But how you make it look on the front end is what matters.

Robert Madeira
Operations Director, Miles Smith Insurance Group

An improved digital workplace

The new intranet has been up and running for five months so the staff are discovering new functionalities to improve their digital workplace.

In addition, the internal communications team is putting more and more content on the intranet so colleagues now rely on it to find out what is going on.

Miles Smith Valo Intranet

Miles Smith’s new intranet offers fresh content and is the place to look for information.

Whereas with the previous intranet, employees weren’t looking at it at all. By contrast, Valo Intranet is frequently visible on staff screens. And it is the place they go to find information.

Now that the first phase of installation and roll out is complete, the internal communications team are keen to look at more ways to encourage collaboration and engage co-workers. This includes additional Valo features, including Idea Management to collect and nurture staff ideas.

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Are you using SharePoint and looking to update your current intranet without the need for heavy customization? Get in touch to see how we can modernize your digital workplace.

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