Results beyond expectations as MAN Energy Systems go fully digital with Omnia

Thanks to focusing on user experience, using Champions to drive adoption, and implementing a new governance model, the results of the new modern intranet launched within MAN Energy Solutions are well beyond expectations.

By introducing a new Omnia-based Microsoft 365 integrated intranet, MAN Energy Solutions (ES) have taken a giant step in digitalizing their workplace.

– Our vision was to establish a modern intranet as the hub of our digital workplace and a fundamental part of the digital experience for all types of employees. And we have seen great results, Solution Consultant and UI/UX Team Lead, MAN Energy Solutions.

From dinosaur to digital

MAN ES is the world’s leading provider of large-bore diesel and gas engines and turbomachinery. The company provides solutions that minimize fuel consumption and focus on decarbonization and digitalization to deliver value to customers. Owned by the Volkswagen Group, MAN ES is based in Augsburg, Germany, and employs some 14,000 people at over 120 sites around the globe.

In 2019, MAN ES started an initiative to replace its previous intranet. It had served the company for eleven years but could no longer provide sufficient support to users. In fact, the tag line for the initiative – “From dinosaur to digital” – accurately describes both the present situation and the objective for MAN ES.

– We wanted to create an intranet that could accommodate new and more flexible working habits and make it easy to find and share information and knowledge. Making it easier to connect and engage with our workplace and colleagues was also one of our main priorities. Today, we can see that our new intranet has really boosted employee engagement across our entire organization, Joseph Purse points out.

As Microsoft 365 was introduced to the entire organization in 2019, it was decided that Microsoft’s 365 tools should be the cornerstone of and integrated with the new intranet. MAN ES also decided that Teams would be used for chat, online meetings, and task-based collaboration and that SharePoint Online would be used for collaboration sites as well as storage and management of documents and files. After a thorough market study, the project team found that Omnia would best serve their requirements and needs in a cost-efficient manner.

Building a user-centric solution

The internal UI/UX Team at MAN ES began the process of specifying and designing the new intranet in 2019. The team created five digital workplace personas in order to better understand user needs and expectations. They then conducted one-on-one interviews with representatives for the various personas, customer journey mappings, interactive wireframing, and usability testing.

– Some years ago, the company took a decision that all new applications, or changes to existing applications, must go through the UI/UX Team. This was simply to ensure that the solution really fitted what the business needed, and this change has had a huge positive impact on end-users.

– What we do is that we talk to the business, build interactive wireframes, and go back to ask: was this what you meant. When we are sure that requirements are met then developers can start working. I think this is a model that works great for us and that saves us both time and money.

– We make sure that end-users were involved in the process from day one, and the interactive wireframes ensure a hands-on approach. All work has been conducted in an iterative design process where employees have been contributing to the feedback loop and thereby helping us improve the user experience over time, Joseph Purse emphasizes.

The work carried out by the UX Team and the feedback from engaged end-users taking part in the process was key to solution design and made it possible to establish a user-centric intranet that could support the new ways of working.

Champions help to drive success

The implementation of the new Omnia-based intranet began in the spring of 2020 but was put on hold for a few months when the pandemic broke out. Work was resumed in the summer of that year and the new intranet, named #CULive, was launched one year later in June 2021.

During the entire project, Joseph’s team has involved key stakeholders, representatives for the personas, super-users, and early adopters in order to build an internet with the perfect fit and drive adoption. The project team also recruited a large group of so-called “Champions” who would promote the solution and offer support to their colleagues. An internal marketing campaign was also created and set in motion prior to the launch. To emphasize the paradigm shift from an old legacy intranet from “the age of dinosaurs” to the new digital age, MAN ES used marketing tactics that really stood out.

The organization's adoption and reception of #CULive have been tremendously positive. Joseph believes that the champions’ work – together with attention-grabbing marketing, an ambitious training program, and an online support community – has made all the difference:

– The Champions are the first movers and we made sure that we trained and introduced them to #CULive before the rollout. Consequently, we had many experts ready to assist users on launch day. We introduced the new intranet successively and made sure that we had Champions, wearing t-shirts saying “I’m a Champion”, at every location where people had their first encounter with the new intranet.

– We had 350 Champions to start with and today, a year later, we still have 277 active Champions at 75 locations in 47 countries and they are still doing a great job.”

New governance model keeps users happy and #CULive healthy

One of MAN ES’ hard-learned lessons from managing their previous intranet is that having a solid governance model will make users more satisfied and the intranet healthier. The former solution didn’t support content ownership very well and lacked much of the functionality necessary for keeping content structured, tidy, and updated. With Omnia’s rich built-in functionality for maintaining a healthy intranet, Joseph’s team could easily create a robust governance model ensuring a sustainable solution.

The model includes, for instance, user roles and content ownership, clean-up and life-cycle processes, a continuous adoption program and processes for monitoring user trends and feedback, etc. According to Joseph, having a detailed governance model in place before implementing a new intranet is crucial to the success, adoption, and longevity of the solution.

– The new governance model goes hand-in-hand with all the measures we have taken to drive adoption. A key factor in keeping users happy with the solution is to make sure it’s always updated and contains correct information that is easy for people to find, Joseph concludes and adds:

– Based on the new governance concept, we now have a model in place that will ensure that #CULive, and the digital workplace based on Microsoft 365, will be providing business value for many years to come.

Impact exceeding expectations

By introducing a new Omnia-based Microsoft 365 integrated intranet, MAN Energy Solutions (ES) have taken a giant step in digitalizing their workplace. #CULive fully supports flexible and mobile working and boosts communication, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing. It has also helped to strengthen employee engagement and organizational cohesion across the globe.

– The impact of the new intranet has not only exceeded the expectations, but it has contributed to improvements within the company that we didn’t even consider when we started the project. The initiative has taken longer time and needed more resources than what was originally planned, but the result is fantastic.

– I would say that working in a user-centric way, driving adoption with Champions, and the new governance model have been key success factors for us. #CULive has truly pushed our company to move “from dinosaur to digital”, Joseph Purse concludes.