TOPdesk boosts internal communication and information access with Omnia-based Microsoft 365 integrated intranet

Service Management Solutions provider TOPdesk has implemented a new Omnia-based Microsoft 365 integrated intranet to boost internal communications, organizational cohesion and create fast lanes to information, knowledge, and collaborations. The new communications platform has delivered on all accounts.

“Our new intranet has dramatically reduced the time users spend searching for news, information, files, knowledge, collaborations, tools, and other resources. The new solution has also made our organizational matrix more comprehensible and easier to navigate in search of information, competence, or colleagues. This makes it so much easier for employees to engage in collaborations, conversations or just connect socially, thus bridging international, office, and departmental gaps and strengthening our organizational cohesion”, says Kalin Rashev, Head of Local Development at TOPdesk Germany.

Slashing search time from hours to minutes

Since 1993, TOPdesk has been helping organizations improve their service delivery using TOPdesk’s Service Management software solutions and services. Today, TOPdesk has more than 850 employees spread across 17 offices in 11 countries, helping over 4500 organizations around the world deliver better services.

In 2021, TOPdesk decided to replace its previous communications platform, which mainly consisted of the CRM and workplace software Bitrix24. It didn’t provide sufficient support to users and lacked many functions TOPdesk needed to build a more streamlined and well-structured information and communications solution. It was, for example, difficult for users to identify the right workgroup or forum to which they wanted to send a message or post an article in. As a result, everyone sent their messages and posted their blog posts everywhere, with little or no confirmation that the colleagues in mind had received any of it.

“We needed a platform with a flexible architecture and smart targeting, search, and navigation functions which would help us build a more user-oriented, transparent, and attractive intranet. One which presents constantly fresh and relevant content to all our users. And one which the users easily navigate in search of documents, conversations, tools, internal competence, and other resources. They used to spend a couple of hours every day trying to find relevant information on the former communications platform. Today anyone should be able to find anything within 15 minutes. That’s our goal anyway”, says Steffen Groß, Head of Services at TOPdesk Germany.

Steffen explains that the platform they wanted had to offer smooth integration with Microsoft 365, Teams, and SharePoint as they had a lot of SharePoint-based data and sites to include in the new intranet. After being presented with an Omnia demo in the spring of 2021 TOPdesk was quick to order. The implementation project kick-offed a few months later in June and the new intranet was launched one year later in April.

“In addition to being the most cost-effective solution and offering the flexibility and functionality we needed in an intranet platform, Omnia also scored the fastest page-view and search results response time”, Kalin points out.

Lessons learned

One of the main reasons why it took almost a whole year to build and implement the new intranet was TOPdesk’s then-current reorganization. Kalin and Steffen describe the project as a restructuring loop. Every so often they had to redo the entire information and templates structure due to yet another organizational matrix. It was frustrating and very time-consuming, but at the same time, a valuable exercise since the looping process resulted in a very robust and carefully considered final structure.

“We had a number of challenges throughout the project. The most significant one was our never-ending organizational restructuring process. For instance, all templates for creating documents and collaborations had to be rebuilt many times to reflect the changing organizational hierarchy”, Kalin painfully recalls.

“Another hurdle was that several team members and key stakeholders in the project were replaced at every turn of the organization’s restructuring. A strong piece of advice to anyone about to embark on an implementation project is to make sure that the organizational matrix is set in stone before laying the foundation of the new intranet. And if possible, try to keep the project team intact until the end”, Steffen suggests.

Kalin and Steffen also believe that the implementation process would have been more efficient if they had made small incremental releases of the intranet instead of having one “big bang” release. Then they could have tested different features, layouts, and user interface options successively and made corrections along the way to the final rollout. But since the organization kept changing during the project this more agile release model was difficult to apply.

Keeping everyone in the loop

The new intranet has made it considerably easier for the employees to find whatever information or resource they need to execute their tasks efficiently as it offers a great overview, structure, and search. Another key factor behind the much-improved information accessibility is the platform’s personalization and targeting capabilities.

“In addition to enabling the targeting of every news item, blog post, document, etc. to selected users, Omnia also enables the users to subscribe to practically any kind of content and to keep track of their own actions and participation. You can, for instance, clearly see what’s new and which content you’ve already read or engaged with. As a result, we have managed to streamline and heavily reduce the flow of information to all users. Instead, they only receive what’s relevant information to them. This certainly helps the employees to stay on top of things and it will most likely boost their engagement”, Kalin concludes.