Sycamore Root - Intranet Project Overview


Indiana State University is working to rebuild our web presence.  In addition to the marketing and recruiting efforts that will be the primary focus of the external Internet, OIT will be working with departments to build an internal Intranet called Sycamore Root.  The Sycamore Root Intranet will be comprised of the information, data and tools which are needed to conduct daily business on campus but which do not necessarily need to be shared outside of the university to the wider world.  The Intranet will primarily consist of SharePoint communication sites but may also include components in Teams, Canvas or other information tools.  

During the rebuild project OIT will be reaching out to individual departments to assist them with the transition.  Site Coordinators and Members will be given this link to help them prepare.     

The purpose of this document is to provide information for the Departmental Site Coordinators and Site Members (content editors) regarding the implementation of their Sycamore Root sites. 

Project Deadline - October 1, 2024

The license for the old web server expires in October and the server MUST be retired.  Data that has not yet been migrated will be lost.

Project Activities

During our efforts in 2023 we made contact with the vast majority of campus areas to bring them into the project, explain what was happening and then train them on the tools they needed to build their Sycamore Root sites.  With deadlines for server retirement fast approaching it is in departments' best interests to be building their Root sites so the content not being used in the external web has somewhere to land. 

If you believe you have a need for a Sycamore Root site but you have not yet been contacted in any way please email Aaron Brink to start the conversation.

There are two main approaches to completing a Sycamore Root build:

Departmental Editors Build Departmental Sites

This is the intended methodology.  Someone in the department takes responsibility for the site and builds it to the department's specifications.  If it's been a while and you need a refresher  or if you're working on it and get stuck there are many options available for help and training:  Sycamore Root Assistance

White Glove Team to the Rescue

Due to the amount of information needing to be saved from the old web, the fast approaching deadlines and the overall lack of departmental engagement OIT has created the White Glove Migration Team.  The Team is dedicated to assisting departments build their Sycamore Root sites.  Their methodology is as follows:

  1. When the scheduled start time for your department has been reached OIT will reach out and send you a spreadsheet with the information related to your existing website that should be sorted into the Student Root, the Employee Root, as well as the new external website based on the area of interest the information belongs (see Types of Sites below for more information).
  2. The team will then schedule a meeting to go over the Root migration process, as well as to establish contacts for the Departmental Site Coordinator, as well as any site member roles (see Roles below for more information).
  3. The Site Coordinator and team members will sort through the information given and establish where the information in question is to go. Sycamore Root (student and employee sites), the external website, Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, and the Trash Bin are all options for storing the old site data. The Content Identification Worksheet will be used to help with this work:  Intranet Content Identification Worksheet.xlsx
  4. The Site Coordinator and Site Members are then responsible for attending SharePoint Communications training to learn how to build and manage an intranet site.
  5. The Site Coordinator and White Glove Team will work together to build the Root sites in question from the information/data from the spreadsheet and collected from the website.
  6. Once the site it ready and approved OIT will link it to the appropriate Hub and officially hand over responsibility of the Root Site to the department.

Project Intake Process - Deprecated


When the Intranet Oversight Committee has scheduled your department for intake the process will proceed through the following steps: 

  1. OIT will reach out to describe the project and schedule an intake meeting. 

  1. At the intake meeting the project will be discussed in more detail as we set expectations, schedule next steps and identify the people who will occupy the Departmental Site Coordinator and Site Member roles.   

  1. The Site Coordinator and Member(s) will then analyze the content of their existing web site and identify the audience for specific items and thus the tool which will be used to host that content in the future.  The Internet, Intranet, Teams, Canvas and Trash are the potential landing places for this content.  The Content Identification Worksheet will be used to help with this work:  Intranet Content Identification Worksheet.xlsx 

  2. The Site Coordinator and Site Member(s) attend SharePoint Communication Site training to learn how to build and manage an Intranet site.   

  3. The Site Coordinator and Site Member(s) work to build out the site. 

  4. Once the site is ready OIT will link it to the appropriate Hub and officially hand over responsibility for that site to the Site Coordinator. 


These are the roles (outside of OIT) that are relevant to the rebuild project. 


Role Name 


Departmental Site Coordinator   

  • The final decision maker with regards to the departmental intranet content.   

  • Will also by default be a Site Member (content editor).   

Site Member

(content editor) 

  • An owner of content for a specific department/division/team/project   

  • Site Members are not the same as Departmental Site Coordinators, although they could be the same person in a smaller department   

  • Has editing permission for the site.

  • A minimum of two (2) Site Members is required for each Communication Site to ease the transfer of responsibility should someone leave the department.   

End User 

(everyone else) 

  • All the employees of Indiana State University who do not have any administrative roles or permissions as defined above   

  • Usually has Read-only permissions on a given site   

External User 

  • Any user outside of the Indiana State University domain   

  • Not an employee of Indiana State University   

  • A user who does not have Indiana State University Office 365 credentials   

  • Usually a vendor, client or any other external party   


Types of Sites

During the rebuilding of the Internet the first consideration for where content will be hosted will be the audience for that content and how they need to access it.  The following section will define those audiences and the tools which can be used to host content for them. 

Internet Sites 

Internet sites are generally what come to mind when you think of “the web”.  They are publicly available, indexed by search engines, and accessible to anyone with the url.  These pages will be the domain of the Marketing group and they will be working with departments to identify and implement their external marketing, recruiting and business content.   

You will likely see this type of content on these sites: 

  • Information about ISU and its campus. 

  • Information about applying to and attending ISU as a student. 

  • Event information related to campus. 

  • Forms and other content needed by external vendors or others doing business with ISU. 

Communication Sites - Sycamore Root Intranet

Communication Sites are what will make up the Intranet.  These sites will be very similar to what existed previously on the ISU Internet pages but will be specifically tailored to an internal audience.  Typically, the content for Communication Sites will be available on a read-only basis for active employees and students, except for those few current employees who maintain the content on those sites (Site Members).  These sites may be used to distribute forms and other appropriate information to the larger campus community but are not intended to serve as an area for document management and collaboration.  Communication Sites will be implemented with SharePoint and new site requests (outside of the rebuild project) should go through the OIT Help Desk (   

Visitors to your Root sites will be authenticated into our system with their campus credentials and their access to the employee or student side of the intranet will depend on their Banner provisioning role(s).  See the FAQ below for more information on who can access which sites.

You will likely see this type of content on these sites: 

  • Information about a department’s services. 

  • News about a department’s activities or events. 

  • Forms and tools needed by active employees and/or students such as benefits information, the Applicant Tracking System, or the Knowledge Base. 

Team Sites 

Department Team Sites are sites that are only accessible by those who are part of the department/division/team. Team Sites are used for document management, communication and collaboration within a department or between team members.  Teams can be created by any authorized user. Membership and content access for Department Team sites is administered by owner(s) of the Team.   

You will likely see this type of content on these sites: 

  • A department’s process and procedures documentation. 

  • Department-wide team/channel to facilitate chat and document sharing. 

  • Teams/channels dedicated to a particular sub-group within a department (managers, Banner users, etc.) 

  • Project-specific teams/channels which only contain the members and content relevant to that project. 

Departmental Site Requirements

Each department will have a main site for both Employees and Students regardless of the amount of content necessary.

Each main Departmental Communication Site should contain the following elements: 

  • A Hero part at the top for site title and exposing most-used services/data. 

  • The main picture of the Hero part (or action link) should point to a separate About page which exposes an Org Chart, mission, vision and goals statements, policy and other information.

  • A News part to highlight departmental activities and announcements. 

  • An Events part (if appropriate) to expose and help schedule important departmental events. 

In addition, the following conditions apply and must be met:  

  • Images used on Communication Sites should be drawn from ISU stock as much as possible. (see Additional Resources below)

  • All the sites that are part of the University Hub Sites identified in Section 2.5, must adhere to the colors and theme of the parent Hub. Changing or altering the colors or logos on the sites that are part of the Hub is not permitted.  

  • No altering of site colors is allowed on any Communication sites.  

  • Department Team Sites can have custom colors if necessary, but adherence to ISU color and branding is strongly encouraged.  

Other pages linked from the main departmental page can be created to fulfill whatever needs the department has.  

Additional Resources

All logos and branding should, when possible, follow the ISU branding guidelines available here: 

Microsoft Documentation on How to Create a Communication Site:

ISU Stock Media:


Frequently Asked Questions

Where do I even start?

How you approach the building of your Sycamore Root site will depend on multiple factors.  The steps below outline a generic process that should be applicable in most situations.

  1. Pick a Page
    1. From the original external Internet site choose a page to convert  
  2. Identify and Categorize Content
    1. Analyze the information provided on the page you've selected.  Use the Intranet Content Identification Worksheet.xlsx if you find it helpful.
      1. Determine which elements need to be exposed to the general public (Internet)
      2. Determine which elements need to be maintained internally for the campus audience (Root)
      3. Determine which elements (if any) should be retained internally for your department only (Teams etc.)
  3. Decide how you want to present the Root content to those visiting your page(s)
    1. Decide which content elements should be grouped together and on which page they should exist
      1. Should it have its own page or be included with other data?
      2. Front page or sub-page?
  4. Build your page
    1. Use the Communication Site tools to build pages, add sections and configure web parts to display your data. 
      1. Build in big chunks and don't worry too much about the layout
      2. Be as modular as possible with your data.  For instance if you have several blocks of text on the page, but they aren't related to one another, use separate Text web parts for each of them so that it will be easier to move them around if necessary. 
  5. Build your site
    1. Repeat the first four steps to flesh out the basics of your site and migrate internal content into Sycamore Root.
  6. Link your site
    1. Link the pages and data using the navigation bar and links in context throughout the site
    2. Link to the external web as appropriate
    3. Link from the web to Root as appropriate
  7. Make it pretty
    1. Now that you have the content mostly where you want it and linked together in a logical manner you can work on layout, fonts, images etc. to get the aesthetic you want for your site.  


How can I add an editor to a Sycamore Root site?

As an editor you have the ability to add them yourself:

  1. On your Sycamore Root Site
  2. Click Site Access link in the upper-right corner
  3. Type their name in the box
  4. Select their name when it appears in the list
  5. Drop down the menu right under their name and select Edit
  6. Click the Share button


When will students be able to access the Sycamore Root Intranet?

Intranet access is determined by a person's provisioning role(s) in Banner.  A student will have an account and be able to access the data in Sycamore Root when they have been provisioned with any of the following roles:

ASTU Admitted Student A student who has been admitted to the University, but has not taken or registered for classes.
FSTU Future Student A student who is not enrolled in the current semester but is enrolled in a future semester, up to 3 terms out.
CSTU Current Student A student who is currently enrolled in at least one course for the current semester.
PSTU Previous Student A student who is not currently enrolled as a student, but has been enrolled within the past year. Also includes students with an incomplete grade in the past three years.


When will Sycamore Root be available to campus?

Sycamore Root is live and available to campus.  There are links on the current external web.  Access the Sycamore Root here.

Do I have to maintain data in both SharePoint and Drupal?

Our best-practice recommendation is that when you get a Sycamore Root page built out to where your audience would find it useful you should then link into the Sycamore Root Intranet from your external web page.  You can then start pulling back on the internal content that lives on the external web while still providing those services or data to your audience.  The template below can be used to redirect from the web to Sycamore Root:

The content you are seeking has been migrated to the Sycamore Root Campus Intranet. This change is being made to streamline our internet presence while also improving access and security for data and services which are offered internally to the ISU community. <link to internal site>Please visit our Sycamore Root site</link>

Use that as your template and modify the <link> area to be an actual hyperlink directed at your Sycamore Root page.


Who can see what in Sycamore Root?

The Student and Employee sides of the Sycamore Root Intranet will generally be built to serve those specific audiences.  Who can view what content is more explicitly laid out in the table below:

Who can view Sycamore Root Intranet Content?
  Employee Employee Taking Classes Affiliate Student Student-Employee
Student Site






Employee Site Yes Yes Yes No Yes


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Article ID: 150291
Thu 3/16/23 9:59 AM
Tue 6/11/24 4:33 PM