The first part of this case study on the Glaser Foundation discussing business can be found here.
The Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention, care, and treatment programs.
The Foundation, currently working in 17 countries, was founded in 1988 and experienced significant growth in the last five years, with its employee base increasing from 200 employees in 2006 to over 1,500 in 2011. This was due in part to increased funding from new global health initiatives, such as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
The Foundation is a former client of Chess Media Group. We helped with vendor evaluation, use case development, and definition of business objectives. We spoke with Keith Fleming, IT Manager, and Sara Teitelman, Senior Technical Editor who shared their insights with us.
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Corporate Culture Shifts
The Foundation’s employees are accustomed to communicating via email and sharing documents via email. Introducing a new platform required changing their corporate culture to encourage more collaboration and transparency. Progress and movement in the desired direction is beginning to take place. Communication channels have opened up and information is flowing more readily. The biggest change and improvement derived from the project has been employees identifying collaboration as something that needs to be done. Employees are beginning to think about different ways in which they can share information with each other.
There are still many areas for improvement. The country offices continue to work in silos, and many people still feel shy about contributing their ideas and opinions in such an open and transparent fashion. For example, so far US-based staff are more likely to comment on an executive’s blog than someone in a country office. The Foundation’s aim is to move from the current state in which experts and senior-level employees are giving advice and answering employee questions, to a state in which all employees feel comfortable with asking questions and helping others, and the experts and senior-level employees listen and provide additional insight and feedback.
Organizational Structure Shifts
Two significant advancements that The Foundation made was the creation of the Governance Committee and the Knowledge Management Task Force.
The Governance Committee is comprised of the COO and VPs representing each division. The committee meets once a month, discussing day-to-day issues that have arisen from the project as well as plan for the future, such as whether spin-off entities that might need access to certain pieces of information should have access to the entire corporate system.
The Knowledge Management Task Force was created with the express purpose of redesigning the intranet. Their objective achieved, the task force was disbanded, and many of those who served on the task force, in addition to their official roles, continued on as content managers for their respective departments at various locations. One full-time consultant was also hired to help the content managers organize and publish information, and provide employee training.
The project’s core management team is comprised of seven staff from three departments: IT, Program Innovation and Policy, and Communications. While all group members devote only a portion of their time to this task, they are responsible for the roll-out of the new platform, and helping teams to organize information and managing content. In addition, the IT department is primarily tasked with ensuring the performance and accessibility of the platform, conducting internal demos, and project management work. The Foundation’s long-term goal is for each country to have its own local content manager to curate information and develop taxonomy with localized context.