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Logo for FirstOntario Credit Union

FirstOntario Credit Union: Custom SharePoint Intranet Portal


FirstOntario is a leading Ontario credit union. Established in 1939 with just a small group of employees, the company now provides services to over 125,000 members and has several branches across the province.

To continue to thrive after decades of success, FirstOntario prides itself in creating a pristine, family-like experience for all members and views effective communication as the lifeblood of innovation at their organization. With a growing trend of remote, mobile work and an ongoing initiative to modernize their workforce, the organization recognized the importance of instituting modern, digital communications technologies to fuel effective communication and collaboration both internally and with external stakeholders.

As such, FirstOntario partnered with MRS and turned to the experience and expertise of the MRS SharePoint team to lead the development of a new corporate intranet portal.

Connecting hundreds of employees across the province

With hundreds of employees working across over 30 Ontario branches, and a growing trend of mobile and remote work, FirstOntario Credit Union was searching for ways to fuel greater collaboration and foster a more familial feeling despite the inevitable geographic dispersion that came with their growth. The proliferation of digital technologies such as mobile devices and the cloud was a huge opportunity for the organization to do this.

Ultimately, the goal was to implement a modern, mobile application that could connect every FirstOntario employee on one centralized communications platform. They wanted every employee to be in tune with what was happening around the organization, including all latest news, updates and events, as well as the ability to collaborate and communicate with one another in a far more personalized manner.

A modern corporate intranet with Microsoft SharePoint

MRS worked in close collaboration with various teams and departments in FirstOntario – from Communications and HR to IT, Operations and senior executives – to envision and architect a custom, comprehensive SharePoint intranet portal to help the organization accomplish their objectives. From front-to-back, MRS lead and managed the entire systems development lifecycle (SDLC), including working with stakeholders to identify business needs and technical requirements, envisioning the solution, architecting the application and providing user onboarding support and technical training.

The features of the custom SharePoint intranet include:

  • home page and landing site: contains all important updates and information from across the company (events, holidays, etc.), foreign exchange rates, interest rates, and any other pertinent information
  • user-specific personalization: features across the intranet, such as recommended files, news and updates are tailored to each user based on characteristics such as their individual role/department and their interaction with the portal
  • user profiles, directory and direct messaging/live chat capabilities: employees across the organization are able to see profiles of their coworkers, their contact information and can direct message them for real-time, personal communications
  • social media integration: live feeds display FirstOntario’s social media profile and any posts mentioning the company
  • trending topics shows users what’s popular around the organization
  • calendaring events, meetings and notifications allow users to book time with coworkers, share their availability through the intranet
  • cloud-based content management: file storage with detailed yet clear taxonomy makes it easy for employees to find and access information (e.g. vacation request forms, policies and procedures, marketing assets, etc.) through the intranet
  • two-click design rule used in development process to ensure that all times, users can find what they need in two clicks or less
  • search functionality makes it easy for employees to quickly search for and find what they’re looking for


Helping employees thrive in a modern, digital workplace

A modern corporate intranet portal is a necessary tool for organizations to communicate effectively in today’s digital-driven business landscape. At FirstOntario, by instituting a central intranet, company events and news can be disseminated immediately across the entire business, necessary information and documents can be acquired quickly and hassle-free, and finally, employees are empowered to communicate and collaborate amongst each other far more effectively regardless of physical location.

Ultimately, the implementation of a user-friendly corporate intranet helps employees at FirstOntario Credit Union feel a greater sense of connection and engagement with their organization, leading to a drastic improvement in corporate culture.