Collaboration, Interviews, Sharepoint

Wincasa Q&A: Why combine your Employee App with your SharePoint Intranet?

pauli

Debora Pauli
Project Lead Digital Communications, Wincasa

pauli

Debora Pauli
Project Lead Digital Communications, Wincasa

"Why We Combined Our Employee App With Our SharePoint Intranet!"

How does Wincasa, the leading real estate service provider in Switzerland, manage their digital transformation with more than 860 employees. What role does the digital workplace play? These questions were asked to Debora Pauli, who works as a project manager for digital communications at Wincasa.

Since July 2017 Pauli has been actively involved in the roll-out and go-live process of implementing Beekeeper and integrating the employee app into the SharePoint environment at Wincasa. Here she shares her experiences and discusses how and why Wincasa replaced their intranet with Beekeeper and SharePoint.

How important is digitization for Wincasa and why?

Debora Pauli: Digitization and innovation are firmly anchored in our corporate strategy. A few years ago, we began to study the topic intensively and created a digital strategy. The key to this strategy was to find solutions to improve employee collaboration, build knowledge management, and streamline operational processes. We have set a goal of becoming a leader when it comes to digital technology in the real estate industry 2020. By introducing the new Business Transformation department earlier this year, we took another big step in that direction.

Wincasa is the leading real estate service provider with more than 860 employees at 25 locations in different language regions. This poses a particular challenge to our internal communications. The new platform helps us communicate transparently, efficiently and in a timely manner. In this way, employees are consistently and easily informed about changes and projects. At the same time, employees have the opportunity to try out new ideas and develop solutions. Digital knowledge sharing platforms are the key to success and make us fit for the future. To remain competitive as an employer and for Generation Y and Z, the digital workplace and the Social Intranet are more important to us today than ever before.

What made Wincasa move from a traditional intranet, to a digital workplace with a Beekeeper and Sharepoint Integration?

Debora Pauli: In particular, the need for timely information management and internal communication has grown. This would not have been possible with our former, static intranet, where only “topdown” communication was possible. Although employees received news and updates, they could not provide any suggestions or ideas.

Our goals were to:
• Modernize internal communications
• Promote cultural change
• Create an environment of belonging for employees

We needed a system that would provide fast, easy, and efficient access to all relevant information for every employee, whether they are desk or non-desk workers. After reviewing some digital workplace tools, we decided to integrate Beekeeper and SharePoint, the best solution for our needs.

How can we imagine the collaboration between Beekeeper and SharePoint? Is the integration of both internal communication tools really that seamless?

Debora Pauli: We haven’t got a lot of development hours to improve our platform, unfortunately, not as many as we would like anyway. We try to fix flaws that make it hard for users to publish their own material on the platform, since that is a major part of our intranet strategy – content created by the staff members themselves. It needs to be simple to post stuff on the intranet – preferably as simple as posting something on Facebook or Twitter.

In short, yes! Although both applications came from different providers, the Swiss startup Beekeeper and Microsoft, we were very pleased with this combined solution. Our goal was to create a new digital workplace that combines the traditional functions of the intranet and the innovative functions of social collaboration tools. We succeeded in integrating both tools.

In detail, this means:
• After signing the contract, the implementation process of the IT project lasted just five months.
• Communication with both providers was straightforward, efficient, and fast.
• In some cases, communication also ran directly between providers without the need for Wincasa IT to get involved. This simplified the process for us as a project team.

Our new digital workplace reaches every employee at Wincasa and information is exchanged efficiently between different teams at every level of the organization. Employees can motivate each other and support each other with questions. We are becoming a more connected Wincasa community.

What were the challenges of migrating from your former intranet and how did Wincasa implement Beekeeper?

Debora Pauli: The Beekeeper team helped us plan the internal rollout and shared helpful tips and experiences with us. It was especially important to start with enrolling all employees, so that open questions could be clarified right from the start and no frustration would arise. The challenge was that employees at Wincasa are very different, some of whom are not used to working with digital internal communication tools. At the same time, some employees belong to Generation Z, the generation for which even Facebook is too old. So, the challenge was to plan a Beekeeper rollout that appealed to all employees equally and motivated them to become part of the community.

For the rollout, we selected young and tech-savvy employees as ambassadors and actively supported them in getting to know the new digital workplace tool. At the same time, they were responsible for presenting the new intranet on the day of the launch at the various locations and for creating a buzz internally. We supported this process with a company-wide selfie competition.

How has internal communications at Wincasa changed since the introduction of Beekeeper?

Debora Pauli: Internal communication has changed a lot. From an outdated and under-used intranet, our new digital workplace with Beekeeper is now more transparent, relaxed, and fun for employees and management. With Beekeeper, our employees now have a way to have their voice heard. Internal communication is not longer happening in isolated teams, but takes place across the entire company, regardless of team, location, or generation. We also have leadership buy-in, as our CEO actively posts, “likes,” and comments on employees’ contributions.

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