The Challenge 

Over 50% of Ofsted’s workforce is home based and spend up to four days per week away from their desks on inspection. As a result, Ofsted’s ability to communicate and engage with this significant part of their workforce was greatly reduced. Employee interaction with Ofsted’s intranet also suffered because their previous site was not available via Ofsted smartphones and tablets. This meant that a great deal of information had to be circulated via email, as users were unable to access intranet content on the go.

Ofsted’s previous intranet site was built on an old version of SharePoint, meaning that it was outof-date and could not have significant changes made. It was no longer fit for purpose. Ofsted consulted with their intranet provider but found that any development would be very costly due to the state of their legacy system.

In addition, the site itself was not performing to the standards required by Ofsted. Employees often raised issues with the site and regularly complained about the site’s ‘ineffective’ search functionality. A review carried out by Ofsted’s Internal Communications team found that just 30% of Ofsted employees were happy with the intranet’s usability. The limited functionality meant that Ofsted was not able to keep up with latest digital good practice, such as being unable to embed videos or social media feeds, instead having to hyperlink to the respective sites. Integrating social media was considered very important as it would help to ensure Ofsted employees were up-todate with Ofsted’s external communications as well as the important issues in the media related to the remits Ofsted inspects.


Using our in-depth knowledge of intranet solutions, we were able to highly recommend the latest SharePoint software. risual has extensive knowledge and experience in delivering Office 365 projects and creating single, unified solutions that support and simplify daily tasks and encourage collaborative working. Some of the reasons for recommending SharePoint Online were:

•  SharePoint Online offers a wide variety of features that matched Ofsted’s requirements. The new  SharePoint app also allows individuals to interact with colleagues while on the move and increases productivity by allowing access from any location via a smartphone or tablet.

•  SharePoint is a team’s content hub. It’s where everyone, both inside and outside an organisation, can come together in real time to get work done.

•  SharePoint Home can provide, at a glance, activity across all sites and groups, giving a useful insight into user activity and behaviour. Team sites allow collaboration across an organisation regardless of physical location.

•  SharePoint offers enterprise-grade security and compliance. End users get the productivity they’ve been asking for while the IT department gets the cloud security and compliance requirements they demand


•  Ofsted ran a survey to cover the first couple of months of the new intranet and average user satisfaction hit 84%, with a further 94% indicating smartphone satisfaction. Before it was just 30%.

•  Ofsted has told us that the intranet is saving them a significant amount of money in the long term. The hosting is now on the Microsoft farm as part of the Office 365 suite, so there are significant year-on-year cost savings.

•  It’s now much easier for Ofsted’s employees to collaborate and communicate. They can find people/information much more easily and Ofsted is getting better data statistics around their intranet user activity.

•  Ofsted has been able to integrate applications, so the user experience is smarter and easier. Employees can now interact with social media and videos without having to click through links.

•  Ofsted employees are now engaging with content, rating content and adding messages/ comments in response to stories. Ofsted linked Yammer to their intranet to ensure it is easy to see and access – this has had a direct impact on the quantity of content being posted on Yammer.

•  Other benefits include personalised content that is tailored for each employee, improved visual images and an updated and collaborative people finder tool thanks to machine learning. The project was referred to as ‘an all-round win’.

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