The Oxford Portal: Streamlined Collaboration

April 28, 2016

“We don’t want to mold to somebody else’s ideas. We want software that molds to us.” – Gene Kelly, Senior Developer

We have a lot of projects that come through our doors with opportunity for collaboration. With so many great ideas being generated from all different departments, we needed an outlet so as not to miss a single one of these “ah-ha” moments. We thought, “How do we make sure every employee at Oxford remains connected to all of the projects without disrupting workflow or interrupting other projects?” Instead of trying to fit our ideas in a box or somebody else’s design, our Interactive Team created their own: The Portal.

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What is a Portal?

The Portal is a web-based application, accessible anywhere with Internet, that leverages web-based technologies in order to find new solutions to problems we have not discovered the answers to yet. What one decides to do with a Portal depends on needs; it can be a communication hub, or a place for increased productivity and collaboration, or just a sounding board for opinions and ideas. The real beauty of having a Portal is that it can house anything you want it to house … anything.

This is done through building apps within the Portal. These apps – of which The Portal can house an infinite amount – can be used to increase productivity, communication or collaboration, and are available to anyone to use within the company.

Some examples of apps we use are:

Bright Ideas: Anonymously submit feedback, ideas, comments or questions pertaining to anything happening in the office, ongoing projects or future projects.

Opinions: Create a poll or survey to collect opinions from anyone in the office.

Keywords: Various explanations and definitions of what we do here at Oxford for people to further educate themselves on an aspect of a program, campaign or buzzword within a department they want to better understand.

Send Files: Send large files between users.

Employees: List of employees with their contact information for easy communication.

There is also “The Oxford Wall” that acts much the same as a Facebook group’s wall – anyone can post news, photos, questions, etc. that can be commented on and visible to anyone with access to The Portal. The value in collaboration apps is that they allow people to engage on their own time and at the same time provide instant feedback that does not disrupt work flow.

Privacy Concerns … Covered

To ensure against anyone outside the company has access to The Portal, Oxford implemented three layers of authentication for security:

1. Admin loads only approved employees into the system with email addresses and passwords.

2. An approved employee submits their email address and assigned password to login to the first screen.

3. A second login screen comes up where the employee must put in the “token,” or secondary password, to gain access to the portal.

Access is dictated by the organization who owns it. Only those entered into the system can begin the login process.

A Well-Oiled Machine

Having created The Portal in Q1 2015, we’re already reaping the benefits of as a company. We’ve streamlined collaboration and increased engagement to create a more open, sharing environment of eager collaborators; people who may not have been involved with project originally are now unafraid to give their opinions, too.

The next phase is sharing this with our clients. Listening to employee opinions is integral to company success. Contact Oxford today to learn more about how adopting a portal can help build your brand … from the inside out. Call (609)397-4242 or send an email to