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Student develops an information collaboration tool for Hastings Deering

Hastings Deering sells, services and supports the complete range of Caterpillar heavy earth moving equipment in Queensland and Northern Territory. As for many businesses, Information Technologies are becoming more important for efficiency of collaboration.

Therefore, with the help of CEED, Hastings Deering selected Huining Li (Master of IT student at Queensland University of Technology - QUT) to design and develop a new intranet and collaboration site for the company.

Hastings Deering - Huining Li, 2012 
 Huining Li pictured on-site with some of Hastings Deering's heavy
 earth moving equipment

For many years Hastings Deering had been using Lotus Notes as its collaboration platform. However, with the development of new technologies in IT, Lotus Notes no longer seemed capable of satisfying the more complicated business requirements. It was decided that Hastings Deering needed a more robust and user-friendly collaboration platform and Microsoft SharePoint 2010 was selected.

Huining’s original CEED project took place during the second semester of 2011. During his time with Hastings Deering, Huining has worked on designing the prototype of the new intranet site, which was developed and tested in the development environment.
Huining’s work had a big impact across different departments in Hastings Deering; they were happy and impressed with the results of his first project and decided to offer him the opportunity to continue working on the new intranet after the completion of his 2011 project. This continuation took the form of a second CEED project and Huining has continued to develop his intranet design during the summer semester and the first semester of 2012. Huining said that he was “very glad to be offered the opportunity to be working on this current project.”

As an extension of his last project the features and components designed previously are going to be deployed onto the production server. Huining’s second project also involves the development of some core components which were not included in the last project as well as some improvements

The success of Huining’s current project will be based on satisfying six key objectives:

  • Continue to develop features and components
  • Improvements of some existing web parts to meet Hastings Deering’s new requirements
  • Data migration - the news and merchandise information existing in the current Intranet website will be migrated into the SharePoint Intranet site in the production server
  • Deployment - this includes deploying the corporate address book (CAB) web service, master page and theme, correct settings in the production server and all the components developed step by step and department by department
  • Improvement - after the deployment, feedback will be received from users and improvements should be done based on this.
  • Training - the power users will be trained after the deployment so that they can understand the new features and improved features of the new Intranet

The entire deployment consists of five iterations, each following the pattern: deployment, feedback and then improvement. Huining’s project plan involves five deployments starting with only deploying the intranet to the IT department followed by the Marketing department and then continuing until the last deployment where all improvements have been made based on previous feedback.

The completion of this project will be of great benefit to Hastings Deering as Huining’s project is an important part of the whole company’s collaboration platform migration. The completion of this project is the foundation for Hastings Deering’s future migration of other software applications. The custom templates that Huining has developed will be convenient for creating sub-sites for different departments and new features will be added to improve the user’s experience.
Huining is planning to roll out the new intranet site to production by the begininig of April this year and he is expecting that when the intranet is up and running it will “run successfully and receive positive feedback from the users.”

He also added that “the experience that I get from Hastings Deering is a REAL experience compared with the academic projects at university. This is the best part of the project. This is my first working experience in Australia (Huining is originally from China) and the work environment and colleague relationships are different, but I really like it!”

Huining is on track to complete his project by the end of the semester (June).



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