The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017



MIX homepage.

For example, 65 percent of traffic to

Finance’s section of the SharePoint site

was seeking details about how to get

reimbursed for private, value-added tax

payments. So this went onto a new page,

reachable with a single click under

“Services.” It includes procedures, Fre-

quently Asked Questions and informa-

tion on pending reimbursements. Mak-

ing the most-sought information easier

to find should lead to fewer phone calls

to the Finance office and less need for

in-person meetings.

A new Travel page centralizes

information that had been spread

among General Services, Finance and

the Regional Security Office. A Health

page gives everyone access to the same

information about, say, Zika. Medical

providers at the consulates can focus

on serving patients rather than posting

duplicate versions of the same thing.

Other management topics and mission-

wide resources (e.g., maps, biographies,

media links, awards) got the same treat-


Each office retained its own section

within SharePoint, which became a tool

for employees in those offices to col-

laborate online.

Users empowered with owner-


SharePoint is often referred to as a

place where documents go to die. That’s

because people often have incorrect

permissions or lack technical know-how,

and content quickly gets out-of-date.

MIX largely eliminates the need to

update individual pages. Content is

arranged in document libraries, and

pages are set up to automatically draw

from those libraries. If a document is

updated or replaced in a library—as

easy as putting a document in a com-

puter’s shared drive—it automatically

appears on the corresponding pages.

This ensures there’s a single version of

each document.

One or two Locally Employed staff

were recruited from each office—about

40 people in all—to assume full control

of their online section as “content own-

ers.” They received training to manage

their document libraries and the per-

missions for their pages, and their name

appears prominently on their page so

users know who to contact if something

isn’t correct.

Connect locations.

We initially

pursued an additional SharePoint site

collection for MIX and also asked to

pilot the newest version of SharePoint.

Neither effort gained the necessary

approvals, so we applied the new MIX

“look and feel” to the 10 existing site

collections of the embassy and consul-

ates so they would appear seamless, uti-

lizing the existing version of SharePoint.

Now they share the same navigation

banner across the top of the page with

five categories of dropdowns: Mission,

Services, Embassy, Consular, Locations.

Users in Tijuana and Guadalajara, for

example, see different homepages—

each with locally controlled content—

but they can easily navigate to informa-

tion shared across Mission Mexico. As

a result, usage of the intranet has been

The MIX homepage was designed to be

the common online starting point for

employees each day, like a virtual “town

square” for the mission community.