Case Study The Wates Group: Valo’s modern intranet transforms internal comms for construction company

Following an internal communications audit, The Wates Group identified the need for a new intranet platform to help its staff collaborate more effectively.

  • Industry: Construction, Development and Property Services
  • Country: UK
  • Company Size: 1,001 – 5,000 users

Starting Point:

Wates is one of the UK’s leading privately-owned construction, development and property services. Having undertaken an internal communications audit in 2017, the organization recognized that its employees needed a modern intranet to collaborate more effectively.

Their existing intranet was outdated and could no longer respond to changing needs. The reliance on email as a communication tool resulted in excess email traffic and was an ineffective way to connect.

As a large percentage of Wates’ staff work on their own, they needed a way to feel part of the bigger picture. Staff were using un-managed social apps to communicate with each other so the company was keen to bring this communication back into its own business ecosystem.

Wates also wanted to be able to measure engagement with internal communications messages. Having identified these needs, the organization began searching for a new customizable and interactive digital workplace platform.

Solution:

Wates wanted the new intranet to leverage their investment in Office 365 and SharePoint. It also needed to keep up to date with Microsoft’s changing landscape and receive regular innovative functionality updates.

The project team wanted an easy to configure product that would deliver notable benefits without the need for an extensive project.

In addition, they wanted a mobile app to allow their users to check on the latest news as well as access documents on the go.

Valo’s Premium Partner Pythagoras suggested Valo Intranet, an out-of-a-box product built on SharePoint and Office 365, as it was the ideal solution for their needs.

Benefits:

  • Almost 134,000 intranet homepage visits within the first-two weeks of launching Valo Intranet
  • 187 Yammer groups created, allowing users to easily collaborate with one another to meet their business needs
  • Using built-in reporting tools, the Wates team can monitor page views to identify the most popular pages and content
  • Yammer feeds are surfaced on all department homepages, displaying a focused view of the relevant conversations for each team
  • The new intranet works as an informative company directory
Wates intranet on mobile

With the mobile app, users can check on the latest news as well as access documents inside the intranet on the go.

A better way to communicate and collaborate

The Wates Group employs almost 4,000 people working with a range of clients and partners from across the private and public sector. The group’s employees work in collaboration with customers, consultants, supply chain partners and communities across its three main services.

In order to respond to the company’s changing needs, Wates undertook an internal audit in 2017 which showed a clear need for a modern intranet to help its staff collaborate more effectively. Because their current intranet was outdated, staff had resorted to using un-managed social apps as a way to collaborate and communicate with each other.

A move away from email

With a large number of its staff working remotely, Wates needed to find a way to ensure all its staff felt part of the organization. The company also wanted to move away from an email culture.

The Wates Group worked with Pythagoras, who suggested that Valo Intranet was the best choice for their needs.

As an out-of-the box product, built on the current Office 365 and SharePoint platforms, it is quick to install and operational within days. Plus, Valo Intranet has an attractive interface and uses simple templates to display content.

Wates Valo Intranet layout

Valo Intranet’s attractive layout was one of the selling points to Wates.

A prototype to bring the intranet to life

To help Wates see the benefits of Valo Intranet for themselves and to show how easy it is to set up, Pythagoras delivered a working prototype based on Wates’ requirements.

Pythagoras delivered a prototype intranet in just five days. We shared this with approximately 100 business users within Wates to obtain their feedback and ensure we were providing a platform which was suitable for our business.

Hurkan Akin, IT Programme Manager, The Wates Group

Having an impressive working prototype brought the concept of Valo to life for the intranet users which helped the organization move forward with the project.

A corporate social network from Yammer

As people are so used to using social apps for their communication in their personal lives Wates wanted to give their staff the ability to communicate in a social and efficient way, in an environment that was controlled and compliant with regulations, at work too.

They introduced Yammer, Microsoft’s corporate social network, so that colleagues can now quickly start conversations and share advice in an informal way in this channel, removing these conversations from their inbox.

The Yammer feeds are surfaced on all department homepages, showing a focused view of the relevant conversations for each team. Yammer has proven to be a great communication tool and an effective way for colleagues to collaborate.

An intranet with personality

To further engage staff, Wates ran a competition to name the new intranet. The name ‘Edi’ was chosen, providing a personality for their ‘Employee Digital Interface’.

Wates was keen to encourage enthusiasm for the new modern intranet early on so they shared the anticipated benefits of Edi and Yammer. They set up one-to-one Yammer training sessions, and nominated departmental ‘champions’ to promote the network and to increase engagement.

Wates measured engagement with Edi and the internal communication messages from the outset. Using Valo’s built-in reporting tools, the Wates team have been able to monitor page views to identify the most popular pages and content. They found that within two weeks of Edi and Yammer being launched in January 2019, the intranet homepage had received almost 134,000 visits.

We’ve been very happy by the introduction of Valo Intranet. It’s completely changed the way we as a business communicate with each other. It’s made everything much more visible, transparent and fun!

Nicola Savage, Communications and Marketing Director, The Wates Group

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