Sydney, Australia – 7 September 2015 – Technology firm Professional Advantage has today announced its cloud-based intranet solution for the Australian Red Cross is now live.

With around 22,000 volunteers, 20,000 members and 2,500 employees and headquarters in each state and territory, Australian Red Cross is one of Australia’s largest not-for-profits. The organisation engaged Professional Advantage to plan, design and configure a new intranet solution following an RFP selection process.

Professional Advantage cloud and collaboration solution advisor Andrew MacKenzie said the new solution leverages Microsoft’s NonProfit program, which provides Office 365 for free to qualified not-for-profits.

“While Office 365 includes access to the latest versions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange for email, Skype for Business, One Drive and Yammer, the first phase of the Australian Red Cross rollout was very much focused on the Office 365 SharePoint platform for the Intranet,” Andrew said.

Australian Red Cross IT portfolio manager Brian Gates said the organisation wanted to leverage Microsoft's Office 365 platform to simplify content management, engage the business, modernise communication and sharing; and from an IT operations perspective, gain access to a platform with a continuous improvement cycle to reduce investment and support requirements.

In collaboration with Australian Red Cross, Professional Advantage developed a collaborative and social Office 365 intranet solution called The Lounge as a welcoming environment to encourage Australian Red Cross employees to make regular use of the solution.

“The Lounge is a single source of truth for key documents, including policies and procedures. It also features team sites so that departments can share resources and disseminate information between employees" said Gates.

“Some of the key feedback we received from the Australian Red Cross was that The Lounge needed to be a comfortable and happy place to visit. It needed to be sticky, and a place that people would come back to visit again and again. They wanted to make it easy for teams to collaborate and locate information,” Andrew said.

By the end of the year we will have decommissioned our current Intranet and Wiki sites to help reduce the complexity of using multiple platforms for the business and IT teams.

Initial feedback from Australian Red Cross staff, management and end users has been extremely positive, with staff actively seeking training.

Australian Red Cross national business and philanthropic partnerships manager, Miranda Jackson, said The Lounge was a place employees enjoyed visiting.

“The Lounge makes me happy to complete mundane jobs as well as learning new things in a fun, positive environment,” she said.

In the coming phases of the project, Professional Advantage will work with Australian Red Cross to create an easy-to-access, secure extranet portal for volunteers. Also built on Office 365, this solution will help volunteers in their day-to-day activities supporting the Australian Red Cross mission.

Latest News