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Providence College Launches SharePoint-based Website


Warwick, RI – November 1, 2011 - At 4:30 PM on September 14th Providence College globally released its new web educational identity. When the project was taken on by Atrion’s Applications & Information Division, in May, the Providence College team wanted to launch in time for the beginning of the 2011 scholastic year. Atrion had 5 months to complete what would otherwise be an 8 month project.

The Providence College website is built on SharePoint 2010, offering a multi-tiered system capable of supporting all Providence College web entities, schools, offices, departments; and features an agile architecture that will continually evolve as PC's needs grow —without having to restructure or significantly invest at any growth point.

The new works consistently across major end-point devices—mobile phones, iPads, desktops and laptops—and includes video, dynamic content hubs, self-updating custom modules—such as main story feature, news, events, galleries, and more. Providence College staff can now create new sites without assistance, adding micro sites to help showcase the value of applying, visiting, transferring to the school, or other college initiatives.

As a platform, interest and adoption has exploded in the SharePoint space. "Not many people have seen this done with SharePoint," said Joshua Cliff, Director of the Applications & Information Solutions team for Atrion. "Like the cloud," Cliff said, "people want it, know it is highly valuable, but have trouble identifying, planning and implementing solutions and their end-user experiences. The question today isn’t ‘Should the company use SharePoint?’ Because the answer is absolutely. The question is ‘Where?’ and ‘Where not?’”

In the higher education space, SharePoint is of increasing value because it is offered at such steep discounts to colleges and universities through Microsoft Campus Agreements. Additionally, many lines of business systems in the Higher Ed space are converting to a SharePoint foundation. More generally, SharePoint typically gets perceived as an internal information platform for content collaboration, document management and corporate analytics, rather than as an exceptional platform for web content management or a portal solution capable of providing visually appealing user experiences.  

“That’s beginning to change largely” said Cliff. “With the enhancements of the 2010 version of SharePoint, the platform is greatly matured into areas not particularly strong in previous versions. The platform today is capable of so much more in every area which has led to a particularly strong return on the investments clients are making.”

The success of SharePoint projects however, like any high value, user impacting project, depends on many variables. The Providence College website is an end-to-end solution—a website anchored by advanced visual design, planned features and an extensible information architecture that leverages a technology that is enterprise, robust, and scalable. To build it took a team of specialized individuals – from architects to engineers and from designers to developers who were focused on every step, from how the site looked across devices and how well it functioned at any end-point, to planning for governance and adoption.

“A successful solution is a holistic solution; a marriage between the science and the experience of a system." Cliff said. "At Atrion, we’re particularly good at fusing engineering and creative elements. This allows us to take powerful platforms such as SharePoint and do great things." Within a few weeks of the launch, the Providence College site was selected to be included on, ranking it amongst the Top SharePoint websites in the world.

The Providence College website project represented a unique – and often unheard of – partnership between a vendor and a client. From the early planning stages to a month beyond the last day of delivery, the Providence College and Atrion teams worked side by side to design,  implement, build-out, and migrate all of the old site content into the new site—with quality assurance at every step towards launch day. For insight, Cliff has a motivating analogy describing the nature of the partnership. “We didn’t just build the building,” said Cliff, “Atrion and Providence College worked together – as The Team – to choose the furniture and the rugs; paint the rooms; and then, on time and on budget, cut the ribbon. Together.”  

Ashley Mercado
Program Manager
Atrion Networking Corporation