Complex, international activities make easy digital collaboration a key priority for multinationals. INEOS, a petrochemical company active in oil & gas and the automotive sector, consists of global as well as regional business units in North America, Europe and Asia. The company recently took the first step towards a full digital workplace – with collaboration enabled by Office 365 and delaware’s ShareBox solution.
As a federation of business units, the INEOS group operates in a unique way. “Each unit is truly independent,” asserts Fabrizio Mio, head of IT at INEOS business unit O&P North. “In spite of the fact that each business makes its own strategic and IT decisions, we realized that collaboration could be vastly improved by introducing new digital tools.”
To kick off INEOS’ journey towards the digital workplace, Fabrizio and his team came up with several key features. “The information on the INEOS network, for example, had to be available to everyone,” he continues. “Secondly, the email system should also be shared group-wide, which meant overcoming some specific IT barriers.”
In 2015, the INEOS O&P North IT team reassessed the existing Lotus Notes email system, choosing to move completely to Office 365. “But this choice was only the first step in a series of decisions moving towards full exploitation of the Office 365 suite, so we identified a whole range of opportunities for future implementation.”
Fabrizio’s team met with delaware to identify the best approach for INEOS. Fabrizio: “We have a long collaboration with delaware that began in the early 2000s. delaware has a deep understanding of our business as well as the unique requirements of our customers.”
Serge Desaranno, manager and digital workplace strategy consultant at delaware, gave Fabrizio’s team a presentation focusing on the features and benefits of the digital workplace, as well as the combined advantages offered by Office 365 and ShareBox.
“It turned out to be a great fit with our vision of digital collaboration,” Fabrizio states. “Even more, Serge’s presentation offered a powerful framework for the digital workplace that we could use to generate buy-in from both users and the management team.”
Office 365 was introduced to the INEOS group in 2016, with ShareBox introduced in October 2018 following a 5-month implementation phase. While specific functionalities of the Office 365 suite are available globally at INEOS, ShareBox currently hosts around 800 collaborative workspaces and will eventually address a target group of 20,000 users.
“delaware developed ShareBox in-house as the ideal overarching collaboration framework for Office 365,” explains Serge. “ShareBox offers key capabilities beyond what is offered by the standard available software, such as automated governance functionalities and user self-service. For example, users have the power to request collaboration spaces, and the system automatically initiates the approval process and prompts users to archive inactive spaces.”
“Through these functionalities, the IT department has more time to focus on value-added activities,” Serge continues. “Users gain access to their collaboration spaces immediately, the business is empowered and responsible for the creation approval, and data archives can be maintained in an effective and transparent way.”
However, the technical implementation is only the very beginning of the evolution towards the digital workplace.
“It’s not just because we’ve taken the first step that our users are completely at home with the solution,” Fabrizio asserts. “User support is absolutely critical for us to gain access to the full value of the tool. To gain more insights into user maturity levels and perceptions of the solution, I personally run training sessions and speak to users face to face.”
“For example, I recently explained how the cockpit works to a specific user, focusing on how it boosts efficiency. Every functionality a user needs is on one, personalized screen – tasks, approvals, apps, etc. Can you imagine just how fundamentally empowering this new way of working is? Users are appreciative, but we need to repeat these exercises as part of a structured change management effort.”
After a few short months, Fabrizio and his team are already seeing tangible benefits within their business unit. “Although we haven’t done a survey yet, we’re noticing a lot fewer tickets and requests coming to the IT team,” he comments. “Users have a lot of power, they are less dependent on IT, and the higher maturity level after training is really apparent.”
Even more, the governance capabilities of ShareBox offer unique advantages for both the IT environment and its users. Fabrizio: “The environment is kept up to date in a streamlined, automatic way. The mechanisms and tools that ShareBox offers have made our users a lot more disciplined when they create and maintain collaboration spaces.”
Moving forward, the INEOS O&P North IT team is already planning on unlocking targeted Office 365 capabilities, as well as upgrading to ShareBox 2.0. “The digital workplace is a strategic pillar of our system architecture, and we anticipate the roll-out being a 2-year project,” concludes Fabrizio.
Serge: “It’s important to understand that this isn’t an IT project – it’s an organizational project. Everybody in the company needs to be aware that Microsoft technologies and ShareBox are only pieces of a big puzzle that is complemented by governance, training, change management and communication. If you really want to achieve collaborative success, you have to focus on every single one of these aspects.”
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