The Geneva University Hospitals intranet and Social HUG

Case summary

The project involved redesigning the HUG Drupal 7-based intranet site, and redeveloping it on Drupal 9.

Case description

Created in 1995, the Geneva University Hospitals are the largest university hospital in Switzerland. The HUG employs 19,000 staff, treated more than 260,500 patients and performed 27,000 operations in 2022.

In November 2021, we began the redesigning of their intranet site, based on Drupal 7, and migration to Drupal 9. The stakes were high, given that the intranet involved 19,000 users and the volume of data was significant.

The first aspect of the project is the intranet, which includes official publications. The second is the HUG social network (called HUG Social), which is more concerned with social activities between employees and informal communication. The project involved redesigning the intranet and updating the HUG Social, with the aim of making these tools more effective and user-friendly.

One of the most interesting aspects of this project was its complexity: the data was retrieved from the HR department for the intranet, and from the old Drupal 7 version of the site. Over 80 scripts were created to migrate the data to Drupal 9. A specific script had to be created for each type of content.

As for the updating of HUG Social, the task was also complex since we went from the Open Social 8.6 version to the 11.3.6 version.

Case goals and results

- migration and data management from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9
- graphic redesign of the intranet site
- update of the HUG Social network
- creation of specific modules
- optimisation of the intranet site

- 22,600 migrated contents
- creation of 80 migration scripts
- effective migration with an up-to-date intranet site on Drupal (a migration to Drupal 10 is planned)
- optimisation of the HUG Social network
- optimisation of internal communication tools and content management
- centralisation of data on 2 sites
- optimized user experience and customized user-friendly tools
- performance optimisation, better management of the Drupal cache
- migration of a separate site to manage classified ads


Challenges (technical)
- SSO identification with Kerberos
- Management of user permissions in groups
- Search systems with Solr
- Data transfer for their search system
- An intranet involving 19,000 users

How they were overcome

One of the problems we encountered concerned performance when we put the intranet site into production. We had to look for the error in the code and this took quite some time, but in the end we found the solution!

Community contributions

We have created various templates for permission modules. One module gives the possibility to create Dynamic paths in Imce profiles by creating imce_dfp plugins. The other module is for the group permissions template and provides a way to manage permission override of group instances with the help of permission templates. This module is based on Group and Group permissions modules.

This project is of interest to the Drupal community, particularly in terms of access rights management and the creation of a permission template module developed for the European community.

This project helps bring greater visibility to Drupal in the medical field. Thanks to its simplicity of use, performance and stability, Drupal positions itself as a robust and reliable technological solution.


Geneva University Hospitals server

Why should this case win the splash awards?

For one simple reason: with this project, we've improved the working lives and internal communications of a community of 19,000 users! This technological solution improves communication, the exchange of information and emergency protocols, among other things. Lastly, customer feedback on this new intranet is extremely positive.