CSIRO – Transforming internal communications with a personalized intranet.

CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, is Australia’s national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. CSIRO research delivers solutions for agribusiness, energy and transport, environment and natural resources, health, information technology,telecommunications, manufacturing and mineral resources. CSIRO has 6,500 staff based across 55 locations around Australia and also internationally. CSIRO selected Next Digital to implement a single intranet platform that would enable their geographically diverse staff to quickly find people, policies, procedures and forms; locate specific information or complete tasks; and provide a channel for internal conversations and communications.


CSIRO was managing staff communications across 28 intranets on 8 different technology platforms. This
approach was problematic on several fronts including:

  • Several different software management systems providing inconsistent user experiences
  • Posing a drain on staff resources, as each required a technical administrator as well as a content administrator
  • Authors needed knowledge of specialist software
  • No connection between each intranet causing much of the content to be duplicated across systems and frequently out of date
  • No clear internal communication strategy or alignment

The organization also had 52 internal newsletters which had created issues with managing multiple lists, inconsistent messages and voice across the organization, duplicated efforts, and no single, binding culture or sense of connection to the other business units within CSIRO.

Working with Next Digital, a full service digital, marketing and technology agency, an internal working group at CSIRO took up the challenge to address CSIRO’s internal communications through the online channel.


Like most organizations, CSIRO went to market looking for an intranet that would help staff quickly find people, policies, procedures and forms; locate specific information or complete tasks; and provide a channel for internal conversations and communications.

Dissimilar to other organizations, CSIRO also needed an intranet that would:

  • Provide a flexible infrastructure to meet the needs of such a diverse organization in terms of volume
    of content
  • Be relevant to staff in all geographical locations (i.e. info for their local site/region)
  • Offer a workflow that can be customized to suit their existing culture in using the intranet
  • Provide an authoring tool that is simple for non-expert authors
  • Be a system that reduces the expense and time needed to provide an intranet
  • And most importantly, provide an easier way for managers and staff to communicate internally CSIRO and Next Digital chose Sitecore for its ability to meet these requirements and provide personalized content.

“The best thing about Sitecore is personalization. The fact that we can personalise content in the site means that we can deliver content to people that is directly relevant to them and they don’t have to go digging around. That’s our favorite thing,” said Peter Saunders, Web Manager, CSIRO Mathematics, Informatics and Statistics, CSIRO. Staff can control how much or little they see through ‘see all option’, search news, or adjust their profile settings.

News feeds and event series (e.g., news relating to a particular division or site; event series i.e., science seminars) makes seeing news for a particular topic (regardless of personalization) easier too. CSIRO has also introduced an element of fun by offering staff the ability to create their own polls and widgets as a way to draw them in and keep them coming back.


The development of MyCSIRO was an organizational project, led by the Internal Communications team with the core project team covering a number of business units. The popularity and uptake of the new intranet was higher than expected, including a growth in the original project team once staff became aware of and wanted to get involved in MyCSIRO.

Benefits included distributed authoring which freed up administrator’s time for other tasks, the ability for individual staff to customize their views and better access to corporate content and other business units in CSIRO.

Technical Description

Solution Special Ingredients

  • Sitecore CMS
  • Sitecore Online Marketing Suite