HES-SO Geneva

Federate the 6 schools around a common intranet.

Bringing a community together

And keeping it alive

The HES⁠-⁠SO Geneva has become a large reservoir of skills, ideas, innovations, creativity and knowledge. With more than 5,800 students, it is a fundamental player in the economic and socio-cultural fabric of Geneva. Its various fields of study and research are divided into six schools: The School of Landscape, Engineering and Architecture (HEPIA), the School of Art and Design (HEAD), the School of Management (HEG), the School of Health (HEdS), the School of Social Work (HETS) and the School of Music (HEM).

These institutions have a total of 12 research institutes, and more than a thousand collaborators.

The implementation of the new law on the HES-SO Geneva and its autonomy, coupled with new requirements in terms of transparency and the formal emergence of a community of the HES-SO Geneva, have revived the need for an efficient intranet.

The objective of this large-scale project was therefore the creation of a common intranet for the 6 schools as well as the common entity addressing all types of public, such as teachers, administrative staff and students.

The challenge

Design a platform that is both unifying and respectful of the unique features of each establishment

A common platform for several different entities, the main challenge was to keep the system as simple as possible while providing centralised and personalised access to all content shared internally. The intranet was to be designed as a large "marshalling yard" which allowed inter-school content to be brought together on the same page with content specific to each school.

The challenge was to manage to interconnect all the tools available to employees and students, and not to duplicate information, but to make it accessible from this single point of entry.

Institutional presentations, directories, announcements, documents: the imposing amount of data requires relevant structuring, to provide centralised access to information and optimised sharing. In this context, the capture and harmonisation of content led the project to a very high complexity and required the implementation of a coherent and well communicated global strategy.

Solutions and technologies

Successfully simplifying a highly complex project

Over the course of numerous discussion and validation meetings with the implementation team, we worked on setting up a functional and efficient solution that responded to the complexity of the requests and existing mock-ups (produced by another agency).

A component-based approach

The main advantages are:

  • great flexibility in customising layouts.
  • granularity of access by school and by type of audience for each page and even for each element of the page's content.
  • a simple layout for navigation from a mobile phone (Smartphone).

The essential elements of the intranet

  • Page editing with layout builder and components approach
  • Access permissions with fine granularity
  • Groups
  • News
  • Events
  • Job offers
  • Swimming pools
  • Offers
  • Daily menus for each restaurant

An intuitive navigation system

It was essential that the content browsing experience remained intuitive and easy, even for people with multiple roles in multiple schools. We have opted for a clear navigation context that requires you to choose an entity to browse the content. Likewise, we have implemented a granularity with the editing of the components and a single page shared between all the entities, forcing the sharing of the structure of the page. To help publishers manage these complex pages, we have developed a "masquerade" tool allowing a page to be viewed as it will be visible to each of the different target audiences.

A solution designed on Drupal

2 instances of Drupal 7 have been built: the intranet itself and a document Management System (DMS) to maintain official process documentation.

Both are strongly integrated with:

  • an SSO.
  • a widget to find and reference a DMS document in the intranet.
  • a shared authorization system to display DMS documents only to authorized persons via the intranet.

A third Drupal 7 instance contains all the data on people. Synchronisation runs every night to synchronise data with the intranet and DMS providing roles and permissions.

In addition to that, an Apache Solr instance provides the search.

Let's discuss your project together

Based in Geneva, our digital experts look forward to discussing your strategic challenges and objectives.
We regularly organise presentations at our clients' sites and would be delighted to come and meet you.


Our office

Rue Du-Roveray 16
1207 Geneva
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[email protected]
+41 22 548 00 28

Kian Rieben

Kian Rieben
Director & Partner

Let's discuss your project together

Based in Geneva, our digital experts look forward to discussing your strategic challenges and objectives. We regularly organise presentations at our client's sites and would be delighted to come and meet you.