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SharePoint Internet, Intranet, Extranets at Gateway to Innovation

Yesterday, at the Gateway to Innovation conference in Saint Louis, MO, two of our clients presented to an audience on how SharePoint specifically helped their organizations 1) grow and scale, and 2) collaborate and integrate data and processes.

Aaron Schmeerbauch of Cassidy Turley speaks at Gateway to Innovation 2012

Andrew Richards, Director of the Information Systems Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University presented a new external website developed on Microsoft SharePoint 2010 with the help of Perficient. Aaron Schmeerbauch, a project manager at Cassidy Turley, presented a SharePoint implementation designed to assist with internal collaboration as the firm grew. Here are the key points and highlights from their presentations, along with screenshots of the work performed with Perficient’s assistance and strategic guidance.

A New website for Washington University Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences

Richards began by addressing the needs he had identified with the old site. “We needed to connect worldwide with a good user experience for applicants.” The challenge: Applicants and alumni are scattered across the world.
Key Drivers/Challenges:

  • Site design and impression
  • Content organization and navigation
  • Site performance and site maintenance
  • University wide migration from Lotus Notes
  • Social media
  • Needed a Mobile-friendly piece

Additional Challenges:

  • Until the redesign, the website had primarily focused on the applicants but not other users. This new site also needed to properly serve content up easily to faculty, students and alumni for their needs as well.
  • Users complained about difficulty finding content, so a user experience review was imperative.
  • Quick links on left hand side were limited in number so they had to be generic in description. If someone came on the site looking for something specific, the couldn’t find it.
  • Not a good system for content management for the staff. Would have needed to go back to the provider to get the site expanded.

Perficient Came in to Engage:

  • UX practice at Perficient was leveraged to study the site and weigh in on the proposed redesign.
  • The team produced three different site layouts for the department to review and choose from.
  • Perficient wanted to put Wash U in a better light by focusing on the high quality of education at lower cost

The new site for Washington Univeristy's Division of Biology:

What Perficient Did:

  • Refined user interface and information architecture
  • Enhanced CMS with SharePoint 2010
  • Expanded integration options with existing systems
  • Integrated single identity for authentication across Wash U
  • Provided out of the box mobile access
Quantifiable Results from the Redesign:
  • Page views increased 2010 to 2011
  • Time spent on site increased dramatically as well.

By utilizing Sharepoint, the new site has given us an efficient and smooth interface with many types of social networking, straightforward integration with existing database of information to broaden the reach of the division to our diverse audiences, and expanded ease of content management staff as well as constituents.


New Intranet Portal for Cassidy Turley

Next up was Aaron Schmeerbauch from Cassidy Turley. Their needs with a portal were different from Washington University’s in that they needed to integrate many systems from multiple firms using different intranets.
Cassidy Turley is a commercial real estate services provider, involved in leasing space, property management, corporate campus management, and more. It’s a large firm with 900 brokers and a total of over 3500 professionals. At the time that Cassidy Turley engaged with Perficient, they were dealing with six local commercial real estate firms combining to form Cassidy Turley, each of which had been operating with very small IT staffs.

  • Needed to consolidate communications and web platforms
  • Difficult to reinforce desired corp culture using existing tech platform
  • Email as primary method of communication
  • Existing intranet sites had limited functionality and visibility. Once the agencies combined, the maintenance and upkeep of these sites declined.
  • Legacy firms maintained their own intranets in silos.


  • SharePoint 2010 intranet and extranet

Schmeerbauch added here that “one third of our associates are not on the same network domain as the rest of the company. They were affiliate firms and not just wholly owned firms. We wanted to be able to allow them to securely access the site and also just give them limited access.”

The New Portal for Cassidy Turley

Improvement opportunities:

  • Provide quick and easy access to critical, relevant information
  • Improve communication and collaboration
  • Reinforce corporate culture
  • Provide targeted content by major service line, corporate department, job, role
  • Decentralized content creation and management

How Perficient Helped Them Get There:

  • Client was dissatisfied with DNN platform – an open source solution that had significant down-times.
  • Needed a solution that provided scalability and simple content administration
  • Solution flexible enough to handle a rapidly growing organization and various user types, internal and external
  • SharePoint 2010 has done a great job enhancing the content editing capabilities

The Broker Dashboard for Cassidy Turley

  • Dual authentication to accommodate on network employees and off network affiliates
  • Decentralized authorization mechanism to increase the number of content creation administtrators
  • Integrated RSS feeds to drive company and industry news
  • Designed a breaking news banner that highlights critical company news
  • Successful consolidation of web platforms
  • Branded as eCommunity to reinforce corporate culture and need to collaborate
  • Reduced email traffic, increased collaboration through site tools
  • Incorporated majority of legacy functionality into eCommunity
  • Legacy firms decommissioning their intranet sites

In order to integrate all their business units, they needed a platform to organize and disseminate information across the organization and their existing platform was not serving their needs. By using Sharepoint 2010 they were able to create synergy within their organization across multiple divisions.


In Summary

Microsoft SharePoint® Portal Server enables enterprises to deploy an intelligent portal that seamlessly connects users, teams, and knowledge so that people can take advantage of relevant information across business processes to help them work more efficiently. Two great examples are Washington University in St. Louis’ division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences and Cassidy Turley.
Learn More about Perficient’s SharePoint Practice
Contact Perficient

Here is the presentation from this session at Gateway to Innovation:


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Erin Moloney

As the leader of Perficient's Dallas-Fort Worth geography, Erin is responsible for delivery excellence, sales, marketing, career development, partnerships, recruiting, and community engagement. She was a founding Co-Chair of Perficient's Women in Tech global employee resource group. Erin is a member of the DFW Alliance of Technology and Women and the Texas Women’s Foundation. Our Dallas-area marketing, strategy and technology experts are responsible for delivering a world-class experience for our clients. Erin's goals are to build career paths and professional development for each Dallas-based team member, grow our visibility and business relationships in North Texas, and to foster an exciting work environment for our employees.

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