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New Platform Transforms Digital Workplace for Credit Unions

A credit union with nearly $2 billion in asset located in the Western U.S. had a problem. Saddled with 12-year-old legacy technology, its intranet literally consisted of a splash page with links, making it nearly impossible to highlight or prioritize special content. As a result, the credit union was relying heavily on email to communicate its internal messages.

Beyond that, the credit union’s director of communications wanted a platform that would enable her team to create engaging content, help users find that content intuitively, and empower them to easily create new pages, edit the content, and have a consistent look.

To that end, the communications director envisioned having a news carousel at the top of the home page so that feature stories could be highlighted. He specifically wanted to allow others to create their own news stories for the front page and send them through a workflow where the internal communications team could review, approve, and post them from within the platform.

Enter intranet and digital workplace solutions provider Valo. Faced with the challenge to provide credit union staff with an engaging, easy-to-use, one-stop shop for viewing and sharing documents, news, information, content, and social activity, ValoIntranet took the credit unionfrom clunky to intuitive. Specifically:

  • Valo Intranet became the go-to option for all low-urgency, company wide communications. Thisgreatly reduce the number of stand-alone emails so that those emails that were being sent internally received the attention they deserved. To make that possible, the credit union made a specific page the homepage for all of their users. It became the first page every staff member sees.
  • Valo’s Mega Menu provided the means to help users easily and intuitively find content and information by offering options and accessible links on each page.
  • Valo’s People Directory enabled users to easily search for colleagues, based on a variety of search criteria. The page doubled as the credit union’s human resources landing page, and contained feel-good features such as upcoming events and birthday announcements.

Beyond these benefits, Valo Intranet granted the communications director’s wish, providing a news carousel that allowed staff members to publish content. He notes, “Thanks to Valo’s news carousel, we’re able to publish content that really engages staff and piques their interest. We are also able to monitor engagement with each story, which helps inform our messaging strategies.” 

While Valo Intranet has received high praise from the credit union’s staff – typical were the remarks of the HR director, who noted “This is the first time I feel like I can actually find what I am looking for on the intranet” – Valo has now upped the ante by launching Valo Connect. A platform that bringsthecredit union’s digital workplace tools and content together into one, easy-to-use enterprise portal within Microsoft Teams, Valo Connect provides employees with an immersive, personalized digital experience that bridges the connection between teams and the tools they use.

Valo Connect actually got its start out of a recognition that organizations worldwide, including numerous credit unions, were shifting to a mobile-first, cloud-first environment. This trend has been exacerbated by the coronavirus, which led to even more businesses and employees working remotely at least on a part-time basis. Many corporations are also developing plans for more work-from-home options beyond the pandemic. Some indications suggest that the share of working days spent at home will increase from pre-COVID levels from 5 percent to even 20 percent.

As today’s remote workforce continues to grow, more companies are using Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, Office 365, and other applications to communicate, collaborate, and co-innovate with their teams.Having multiple tools and applications for remote workers, however, requires significant IT resources and often impedes user adoption of these technologies.

Further complicating this situation is the fact that most credit unions want separate, specialized solutions for specific departments, such as human resource management, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and marketing automation tools.

Regardless of whether it is a SharePoint page, an external HRM system, or another vital, frequently used platform, all of this puts internal IT teams under the gun to provide digital tools that employees can find and use easily and effectively, regardless of their digital skill levels.

That’s where Valo Connect comes in. Valo Connect eases the burden on credit unions’ IT departments and offers a smoother digital workplace experience for staff by bridging the gaps between all of the digital tools being used and then housing them in a single enterprise portal directly inside of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams was chosen because it has emerged as the main collaboration tool for more and more businesses worldwide. More specifically, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams have more than doubled from 32 million users in early 2019 to 75 million in 2020. Unfortunately, the intranet had not been integrated inside Teams in a user-friendly way. Instead, it has tended to live primarily as a separate application in SharePoint. 

Valo Connect was designed specifically to consolidate the intranet within the Microsoft Teams environment. By using Valo Connect on top of Microsoft Teams, credit unions are now able to integrate the intranet inside Teams and empower the intranet with more capabilities than ever before. Specifically, Valo Connect enabled credit unions to realize benefits in four key areas:

  • In terms of communications, Valo Connect makes user engagement easy and effective. Through a personalized news center, Valo Connect allows users to get the news that matters most to them. In addition, the credit union can designate the home page of its corporate intranet (or any other page) as the landing page of Valo Connect so that everyone has access to the most important companywide news.
  • With respect to collaboration, Valo Connect brings all files, people, and news together through Enterprise Search features. This allows users to edit documents in context directly in Microsoft Teams. Within specific teams, Valo Connect enables searches for files and documents, channels, and even private channels.
  • Regarding collaboration, Valo Connect brings all of the experiences from the Microsoft365 world into one hub. It makes connections to the ecosystem with intelligent apps (Power Apps, Power Automate, Dynamics365).It also provides for a seamless integration with other Valo Product Suite tools (Valo Teamwork, Valo Ideas, and Valo Intranet). 
  • Finally, the cherry on top is ValoConnect’s seamless integration with the Microsoft Teams platform. That means that all links to rich content are automatically deep linked to offer the best integration for phone calls, instant messages, files, etc. In addition, credit unions can build unlimited Valo Connect apps for multilingual use cases, different member audiences, different organizations, and more.

Beyond these benefits, Valo Connect remainsone of the only platforms to offer the ability for credit unions to create their own apps​. It offers security trimming and the full support of SharePoint native components and Valo Intranet capabilities, including the Universal Web Part, audiences, etc. It is also mobile native. And best of all, it can be installed directly into any credit union’s existing Teams environment.

Bottom line: the digital environment of credit union employees will become more structured with Valo Connect. That, in turn, is going to make them happier and more efficient since they won’t have to think or worry about where all of the tools they need are located within their companywide intranet. They can simply tap into Microsoft Teams, just like they already do, and thanks to Valo Connect, land in the heart of their digital workplace.

Juha Koivula is the Business Director, North America at Valo Solutions.  Founded in 2011, Valo is a pioneering Intranet product provider with a global partner network of influential SharePoint and Office 365 professionals, serving more than 700 customers and 2 million users around the world.

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