Hear how one of the world’s largest businesses approached building the business case for a new intranet

Glencore is one of the largest diversified natural resources companies in the world with activities focused on the mining of metals & minerals, energy, marketing, and recycling. It’s a huge global enterprise with 160,000 employees across 150 sites in 35 countries.  

When Neil Morgan joined the business with the remit to deliver a unified intranet experience for all employees, he was aware that IT had recently undertaken a small exercise to roll out a communitybased platform. “One of the interesting things was we have over 200 intranets across the group and there was no research done to determine how valuable those intranets were, or how they were serving their communities,” explained Neil. He realised that this was an opportunity to build the business case based on the needs of employees  – by his own admission, he is ‘employee obsessed’ –  and he set about helping the organisation really understand who their employees are, what they need to get their work done and how a better intranet experience could help deliver this.   

Getting the basics right 

Neil tells us, “We conducted in excess of 160 interviews and focus groups to help us understand the challenges employees had on the ground. Through this detailed discovery phase, Neil found five fairly common problems (see below). This created a better understanding among some senior folk about where the problems lay, and it also highlighted challenges in content delivery too, in that much of the content that was produced was not available to many employees simply because they didn’t have company devices.   

Covid was a catalyst 

In common with so many businesses, throughout March, April and May there was a focus on enabling large parts of the workforce to work effectively remotely. This helped to highlight the importance of the role of the intranet and further reinforced the need to modernise the intranet to meet the needs of employees. “There is no doubt that the Covid situation gave the project impetus and there was a real sense of urgency to fix things,” Neil adds. 

 

Shadow IT 

Across such a large and disparate enterprise it is hard for IT to deliver one solution for everyone. Unsurprisingly, in certain countries, various messaging platforms were used, filling the gaps that were not being met by the organisation. “By gathering so much insight from the employees and making sure that our business case aligned with the needs of the organisation, we enabled the executive team to see the scale of the problem through the eyes of employees. As well as not having to support and maintain multiple platforms across the group, it was evident that a more coordinated approach would result in savings for the organisation over time,” explained Neil. “For example, our IT team was spending time on supporting and managing the multiple intranets – it was not time well spent. By devolving the content administration to others in the organisation we allowed our IT colleagues to focus on work that created more value to the company.”   

Choosing which platform 

When it comes to choosing possible vendors, Neil has this advice, “I’d recommend that you don’t start by focusing on a particular vendor. Rather, through your research, identify the gaps you have in your digital workplace capability, and develop scenarios from these that allow potential vendors to see the challenges you need to meet. In our case, we focused on what our people wanted to be able  to do,  we developed twelve different scenarios from both a user perspective, and a content editor perspective, and then looked at the market to see which solutions could help. We shortlisted four possible providers.”   

Why Beezy?  

“There were three things about Beezy that really appealed to us: firstly, the content editing was easy; secondly, we liked the idea of communities to bring some social element to our intranet as this fits with our company culture; and thirdly, it was flexible and scalable for a large and complex organisation like Glencore.” 

Beezy are no strangers to working with large and complex enterprise customers and while every customer is uniquethere are a similar set of challenges in many of these very large organisations, typically with in excess of 100,000 employees. “Although Beezy is a product, it’s not a one-size-fits-all implementation,” explains Dave Fletcher, Director, Enterprise Sales at Beezy. “It is the underlying information architecture that underpins the product in each organisation that makes the difference and makes each implementation unique to that customer.” 

Three Beezy features are worth mentioning here: 

Newsfeed: Beezy have a long history of getting this right having been an ESN (enterprise social network) back in the day. It’s easy to pull in everything an employee needs into a single news feed, personalised to them, that emulates social media pages for a familiar user experience. 

Global Local: This is a new feature and certainly seems to be clinching deals with large enterprise customers. As Dave Fletcher told us, “It solves many complex problems in a simple way. For example, an organisation like Glencore, that has acquired other companies along the way that may, for any number of reasons, need to retain some independence in branding that can cause a real headache for things like shared intranets. Global Local solves the myriad Microsoft and SharePoint problems that arise in a complex enterprise customer like this, creating a seamless digital workplace experience that is tailored to the needs of local offices and sub brands.” 

Integrations: Because Beezy is a product, it is super easy to connect to virtually anything, which means access to all your third party tools and platforms are right there in front of you with important information and notifications popping up in your newsfeed.   

What’s next at Glencore? 

Neil again, “We are in the process of rolling out to all employees. We have some practical things to figure out like how to authenticate users who do not have a Glencore email address. Then we will be all set to move forward with confidence to create a unified experience for all employees, wherever they are. The ultimate aim is to bring the company together to feel more global.”   

 Here at simplycommunicate, we are seeing more and more organisations opting for a product-centric approach and it’s easy to see why: the intranet market is maturing and there are few, if any, new problems that organisations need to solve that haven’t already been catered for. Every customer stands to benefit from the regular developments and product improvements in the platforms and products available todayYou could say a company like Beezy is solving the problems that businesses didn’t yet know they had!  

As a final word of advice, take a leaf out of Glencore’s book and however much you like the sound of a particular vendor or product, make sure your decision is led by your own discovery and research phase, so that whatever solution you end up with, you know it will meet the needs of your organisation.   

Looking to build your intranet business case, or need a hand launching one? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help.

 

THE AUTHOR

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