Work Underway on New St. Thomas Intranet System

In February 2017 the University of St. Thomas plans to unveil a new intranet platform combining online tools and information for faculty, staff and students in an easy-access, personalized format.

Called “OneStThomas,” the intranet will be accessible only with a St. Thomas username and password and serve as a digital “wrapper” for Office365, SharePoint technologies and internal campus communications.

St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan encouraged the intranet’s development, noting that “Many universities of our size and scope have found that implementing an intranet system improves internal communication.”

Three themes emerged as campus information and technology professionals researched how best to implement an intranet for St. Thomas. Here an intranet would need to provide:

  • Relevant and timely communication to faculty, staff and students
  • Secure and accessible content
  • An integrated, customizable tool set (a “digital dashboard”) for a more collaborative, innovative, and engaged workforce and student body

Over the summer, the university selected a product to power OneStThomas: Unily, an award-winning platform developed by BrightStarr, a 10-year-old global technology company based in Surrey, England. BrightStarr, which has U.S. offices in Seattle and New York, works with clients to build digital workplaces, platforms and tools.

Dr. Ed Clark, vice president for technology and chief information officer at St. Thomas, explained that “Unily ties together so many of the things that historically have been very separated on our campus: our communications, our collaboration platforms and our projects.

“Named by leading IT consulting firm the Gartner Group as an emerging best practice, Unily really interests many of my CIO colleagues. We’re very fortunate to have BrightStarr partnering with St. Thomas to introduce this technology to higher education,” Clark said.

Chief Marketing Officer Kymm Martinez added, “The addition of the intranet allows us to separate communications between internal and external audiences so we can better meet the needs of both.

“It’s exciting to think about the potential of focusing our website on prospective students, alums and anyone else from outside the university who wants to connect with us rather than having to be all things to all audiences,” she said.

BrightStarr’s Consulting Services Team will be on the St. Paul campus Oct. 10-12 to begin work with OneStThomas’ steering committee, faculty and staff stakeholders from various academic departments and offices, a group of student representatives, a technical implementation team and a project support team. The team also will meet with the President’s Cabinet.

Watch for more on the development of OneStThomas on the project’s website.