NORC at the University of Chicago


See how NORC at the University of Chicago broke down departmental silos and created a people-focused intranet in this employee engagement case study.

The Opportunity

NORC at the University of Chicago is an independent research organization with offices in the D.C. Metro area, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and on the University of Chicago campus. NORC supports a nationwide field staff, as well as international research operations.

They were using an outdated intranet that had become a form repository. The system reinforced departmental silos and knowledge was not easily shared; instead, it was trapped in email, local drives and unsearchable. Overall, the intranet had developed a bad reputation.  

The Insight

NORC enlisted Rightpoint, along with two supporting vendors, and charged the team with creating a user-friendly, people-focused interface that would encourage sharing and help dismantle the departmental and project-oriented silos of knowledge that had plagued the organization. The new solution would also need to increase efficient reuse of existing ideas, practices, and tools.

The Solution

The team created the new NORC intranet, InSite, which provides the organization with a one-stop shop to learn, share, and conduct research through an innovative combination of collaborative workspaces and social tools. It was built to move knowledge trapped in email threads and local drives into a more open and searchable environment. The new intranet boasts:

  • Collaborative, uniform workspaces for each project team
  • Improved people-finding to encourage knowledge sharing

  • Increased discussion and document visibility through feeds and advanced open security scheme

  • User-customized information flows (subscriptions, following, feeds) 

  • Social engagement, tools and games

The Result

InSite allows NORC’s 700+ professional research and administrative staff distributed across six main offices and numerous field offices throughout the U.S. to work more efficiently and “think in the open.” Since launch, the average number of page views per day has increased 87% and the average number of visitors per day has increased 338%. The new platform provides NORC’s staff with the ability to:

  • Easily move staff among projects and efficiently ramp-up teams on new projects with 88 project and department team sites
  • Share knowledge by making all discussions and documents visible, along with associated owners

  • Control their personal information flows at a granular level, while the organization can still broadcast to all via mandatory subscription channels

  • Participate in social engagement and team building activities