IN TOUCH : Young Exec’s firm makes good on global stage

“As far as government intranets go, it’s pretty sexy one” is not phrase you hear every day. But the achievement of local Microsoft development company Provoke Solutions in getting its client’s site named one of the best 10 in the world is hardly an everyday event.
Wellington-based Provoke has been recognised for work on the Ministry of Transport intranet, which has been named in the world top 10 by California’s Nielsen Norman Group. The group is recognised as world leader on corporate culture and the human-centred product development process and its Intranet Design Annual is coveted by software firms, companies and government as the authoritative source for best practice in intranet design and user experience.
Nielsen Norman Group has been releasing “10 Best Intranets of the Year” list since 2001 and says this is the first time New Zealand designed solution has ever made the grade.
According to selector Jakob Nielsen, consistent design and integrated information architecture are becoming standard on good intranets, so in order to be awarded place for this year’s list candidates had to show they could also deliver productivity tools, employee self-service, access to knowledgeable people (as opposed to ‘knowledge management’) and better-presented company news.
“User-centred design is not new concept in website or intranet design,” according to Zef Fugaz, head of the Provoke design team. “I guess we just want to do it better than it’s currently being done. For us usability design is not an add-on, it’s integral to what we do. It’s amazing to have our work recognised at this level.”
Provoke is surfing golden wave at the moment with company successes of 2007 including two Microsoft Partner Awards (for Business Productivity and Partner Solution of the Year) and the NZIM/Eagle Technology Young Executive of the Year awarded to company director Mason Pratt, who is very happy to be kicking off the new year with continued success.
“With the MoT, solution was required which delivered collaboration, content management, centralised communication and stakeholder management. We are industry leaders in our implementation of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 so we had the technology to do the job,” he says, adding that the MoT site is good to use as it’s modern, flexible and looks good.

The 10 best-designed intranets for the 2008 list are:
•Bank of America, US
•Bankinter SA, Spain
•Barnes & Noble, US
•British Airways, UK
•Campbell Soup Company, US
•Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, US
•IKEA North America Service, LLC, US
•Ministry of Transport, New Zealand
•New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Australia
•SAP AG, Germany.

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