#DUGconf Bringing the Datatel Portal to Life #IT28016

Bringing the Portal to Life
  • Kevin Maurer – Info Systems Manager, Hillsdale College – kmaurer@hillsdale.edu
  • Jeremy Brinkman – Asst. VP of IT & Dir of Admin Systems – University of Northwestern Ohio – jbrinkman@unoh.edu

  • We have WebAdvisor – why do we need the Portal is a question people frequently ask
  • Hillsdale – 
    • Live on Portal December 2008
  • UNOH
    • Live on Portal in July 2010
    • teaches high performance automotives – have their own race track
  • Preparing Users
    • Hillsdale:
      • Met with faculty chairs & core team
      • opened the portal up before "Go Live"
      • Postcards passed out at registration
    • UNOH
      • Northwestern Communicator (newsletter for fac/staff)
      • Demo sessions with managers – walking people through the steps made a difference – "this isn’t something IT is pushing onto us!" – can really help if you go to the right departments with the right people who are willing to adopt and USE the system – 
      • Pre-release posters & other promotions: "This is what the portal is going to do for YOU" poster – 
      • Facebook, Twitter, etc. – grabbing the biggest demographic we could find to promote to them – 
      • If you don’t have buy in from the people who make the decisions then it is hard to get the job done – The CORE Team because the Governance Team
  • Governance
    • A strong governance structure will set you up for success
    • Assign & document ownership of content early
    • some departments have tech-savvy users: let them help you!
    • a standing team is a great start. The Core Team was used at UNOH and Hillsdale
  • Easy Wins which are easy to promote to your end users
    • SSO to email, WebAdvisor & UI are attention grabbers
    • configure search for all your websites, not only the Portal
    • Convert "All Campus" messages to portal announcements or events (less e-mail = Good)
    • Other examples:
      • Employee Newsletter Archive – so people don’t have to keep the PDF in their email 
      • Job List in Career Services
      • Campus RSS Feeds
      • Content Contributor Panel – there are so many places on the portal that people needed to put information but there needed to be a central place – in Share Point there is a list of where they can Place information (they can’t do it without permission but they know where locations are)
      • Buy / sell / trade (other exchange public folders)
    • Comments
      • cuts down on a lot of the campus emails but people are still occasionally sending blanket email .. "oh well" 
      • Get sick of getting tons of emails on the same subject (like 10 emails about the blood drive)
  • Training
    • Help your Datatel Success Partner to scale down your training to fit your school
    • Content contributors
    • Faculty & staff – do video tutorials
    • Students – do video tutorials & email quick tips
  • Usabilty Testing
    • Recruit some student volunteers – bribed them with meal tickets to get them to come in
    • Create a list of tasks for the students to perform
    • Provide time for candid feedback
    • Identify common navigation challenges
    • Offer free stuff as an incentive – like Meal coupons & giveaways
    • Grant volunteers early access to the Portal and follow-up with them – they were able to actively USE the portal as an early adopter
    • Comments
      • VERY important to the process
  • demos:
    • my.hilsdale.edu
      • Hillsdale does not have a PORTAL entrance – you just click on "fac/staff" or "student" – uses an ISIS Server – the more we can simplify is easier – recognizes that he is a Staff member and puts him into the Staff portal (staff site not super snazzy – pretty much looks like the out-of-the-box Datatel portal) – The calendar is pulled out of Exchange – going through an implementation of Razors Edge and are using shared document space with the team – super cool where they can look at who is in a course section including the picture & profile of the student… this is for faculty! – WebAdvisor INSIDE the portal is much nicer looking 
    • my.unoh.edu
      • Is not using the ISIS Server so not as "pretty" or user friendly – (Their page is equally not to Jazzy – 3-columns is nice but pretty much out-of-the-box) – they have two constituencies: Fac/staff & students – they use "zones": Email on left / center is announcements, campus news (external RSS feed), campus event, Athletics feed / Right (tabs): WebAdvisor (can do multiple processes at one time within the portal), UI 4.2, Business Objects – If we want to promote something heavily it can be front & center – if you bring people who like technology and want to use technology… they will blossom.
  • Portal Annoyances
    • All day calendar events appear to begin at 12am
    • No ISA Server = Windows login box
    • No error page for failed authentication in Windows 2008/IIS7
    • Non-user friendly error when SSO credentials are not set. The user believes their is an error – this cause a lot of tech requests 
  • Keeping the Momentum
    • Gradually retire old interfaces – phasing out WebAdvisor, etc.
    • Activate portal content and promote it as a new service – make it clear how much more helpful this will be
      • My sites
      • Audience Targeting
      • InfoPath & Workflow
    • Direct legacy WebAdvisor users to the portal via welcome message
    • Develop a content contributor panel to easily manage information
  • Questions
    • How long did it take? 
      • if you have experience with SharePoint you can get it done quick
    • Did you use professional services? 
    • Who was part of the implementation team? 
      • Decision makers
      • Users across campus – IT people – early adopters

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