How John Cockerill is building a more collaborative Digital Workplace

Aug 26, 2021
  • people
  • discrete manufacturing
  • engineering & projects
  • Microsoft

In order to continue innovating and writing new chapters in its rich and successful history, John Cockerill needs to combine all its strengths. To do this, it has committed to building a Digital Workplace, i.e. a more modern, efficient and collaborative working environment, without compromising on security. The choice was made to use Office365 and Teams in particular as the new hub for teamwork.

The need to offer employees more flexibility to interact in teams that are increasingly dispersed geographically was already on the cards. It has, however, been significantly accelerated by the pandemic, during which employees were able to stay connected, both literally and figuratively.

Three key principles to ensure buy-in

Simply making new technology available does not in itself improve the way people communicate and collaborate. A typical risk of this kind of deployment is that it might give the impression that the organisation is merely multiplying the tools for the sharing and storing of information. It is also a question of offering users more flexibility, while at the same time ensuring a certain structure in team interactions. Finally, it is also essential that users really take ownership of their new working environment and understand its benefits.

To take collaboration to the next level, John Cockerill, in tandem with delaware, have applied three key principles in the deployment of this Digital Workplace:

1. Involve the various business areas

Right from the outset, the project team made sure that all the units of the company and a wide variety of disciplines were involved in the co-deployment of the platform. Concretely, ‘IT business partners’ were at the heart of the project team, acting as an interface between IT and the business. A network of around 100 ambassadors was also set up to promote the correct usage of the 0365 tools and to inspire their colleagues. In addition, a number of key users fed back into impact analyses in order, for example, to optimise the structuring of channels in Teams according to their specific business features.

“One of the lessons we’ve learned with this project is that an inclusive approach, involving a wide variety of disciplines, is the first step toward maximising the adoption of the platform,” says Benoit Delvaux, Office365 product owner.

2. Automate governance

A collaborative platform like Teams can quickly create chaos if it is deployed without any safeguards. A balance must therefore be found between increased autonomy for users and a certain amount of control over the creation and management of collaborative spaces. “Governance rules, no matter how well written and clear, are not enough. It is a question of automating them and really integrating them into the platform,” adds Benoit Delvaux. This is what John Cockerill was able to achieve using the Workspaces application by delaware, integrated with Teams. “This application makes it possible to prevent chaos, by guiding users through the process of creating a Teams space and ensuring compliance with certain security and data privacy rules. Workspaces also allows us to pre-configure a collaborative space based on specific features of the business area,” continues Vincent Sterken, project manager at delaware.

3. Take care of change management

A Digital Workplace can only be successful if it is adopted by the users fully and enthusiastically. Change management was at the heart of this project, with no less than 80 activities in a year, all focused on user adoption: content (video) to raise awareness of the expected benefits and of the reasons for the deployment, management coaching and ongoing support for the ambassadors in their efforts to promote the use of the tools, a help portal to direct users towards training and webinars, and even ‘Coffee corner’ sessions on Teams to answer users’ specific questions.

“Adoption is a journey. We mustn’t think that communication alone is enough to convince people. It is a process of ongoing improvement that continues after deployment,” observes Benoit Delvaux, pointing in particular to the setting up of a community of practice and a governance committee, bringing together IT and business, to develop the platform and promote good practices.

200 years of innovation

Driven since 1817 by its founder’s entrepreneurial spirit and thirst for innovation, the John Cockerill Group develops large-scale technological solutions to meet the needs of our time: preserving natural resources, contributing to greener mobility, producing sustainably, fighting against insecurity and facilitating access to renewable energy. Its offering to businesses, governments and communities consists of services and associated equipment for various sectors, from energy to defence, industry, the environment, transport and infrastructure.

Two videos to help you find out more

In this interview with Gérard Purnode, CIO of John Cockerill, you can find out why change management is a key success factor in any digital transformation project.

This case study “How John Cockerill built a new hub for teamwork”, taken from the Digital Workplace Conference (27 May in Brussels), goes into more detail on the lessons learned.

Vincent Sterken and Benoit Delvaux in a video conference

Would you like to advance the digital maturity of your employees through an engaging Digital Workplace? Contact Vincent Sterken for more information.

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