The employers’ association Gesamtmetall unites over 24.000 companies from the metal and electrical industry. The association’s core competency is the promotion of communication and collaboration – amongst coworkers, members and member associations. The selection and implementation of a highly performant and adaptive platform for association work is as essential to Gesamtmetall, as it is to any other association. In 2015, Gesamtmetall began replacing some of their legacy systems with a IBM Digital Workplace Hub based on IBM Connections and XCC. This IBM Digital Workplace Hub comprises collaboration, communication and the possibility to integrate various applications. Any features can be used for the association’s internal tasks as well as for company-wide matters. With their dense cross-linking between relevant groups, associations often are years ahead of companies. For any company striving to be a “Connected Company” associations can set an ideal example.
IBM Connections in its function as an Enterprise Social Business platform is exceptionally well-suited to be used for collaboration. However, the project team led by Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen, Head of information and communication technology at Gesamtmetall, quickly identified two critical factors that would complicate the platform’s successful implementation in the association: “In IBM Connections, our employees and member associations missed the familiar, clearly organized structure of their previous solutions Quickr and IBM Notes. Therefore, in order to reach everyone in our network, we had to update information not only in the new intranet, but also in our Notes databases,” recalls Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen.
“XCC significantly lowers the Social Intranet’s entry barriers for our association’s members and employees. In addition, the XCC-based news hub makes research for our employees much easier.”Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen, Head of information- and communication technology, employers’ association Gesamtmetall e.V.
Structuring Content in IBM Connections
To reintroduce the structure missed by employees and members into the new Social Intranet, Gesamtmetall decided by the end of 2015 to start using XCC – Web Content & Custom Apps Extension for IBM Connections. This extension empowers users to create comprehensible dashboards in IBM Connections in just a few simple steps. With the expenditure of only a few mouse clicks, internal content such as data, wikis, blogs as well as external sources such as Facebookstreams can be integrated in these dashboards. Especially the highly intuitive, graphic interface appeals to Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen: “Nowadays, I almost can’t imagine using IBM Connections without XCC anymore.”
Gesamtmetall uses XCC to implement the new landing pages completely autonomously. “TIMETOACT provided us with support during the installation and offered one hour of software training. The basic features of XCC really are incredibly intuitional: Subsequent to the training, I directly set up an introductory page for our association’s community,” Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen recollects. One by one, the association creates numerous overview pages, allowing the respective, relevant information to be seen at a glance. “At the moment, we are maintaining a lot of information on two platforms: In our Notes databases and in IBM Connections. XCC considerably lowers the entry barriers to the Social Intranet for our employees and association members – from this point on, we will gradually begin to limit the ministration of our content to this platform. For us this means a reduced maintenance effort. For everyone else researching information will be simplified.” In order to establish IBM Connections as a comprehensive source of information a number of web-enabled Domino databases have already been included into the Social Intranet. Currently integrated functions include a group calendar as well as a manual for the association’s members. Especially the newshub the IT manager himself integrated, impresses him greatly. On this XCC-based dashboard, all of the association members’ social media streams are displayed.
“This reduces the workload for employees extremely, as they no longer have to track several social media channels individually. Thanks to XCC, IBM Connections turns from an uncut diamond into a platform with the potential to become a single, superior solution for a variety of requirements.”Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen, Head of information- and communication technology, employers’ association Gesamtmetall e.V.
The next project on Werner Meyer zu Ermgassen’s agenda are flyout pages. Using this feature prominent pages like the homepage can be attached to the navigation and thereby made accessible from any desired page – without making the user leave the current site. This further simplifies the use of IBM Connections for employees and members.
About the Gesamtmetall e. V. employers’ association
Numerous employers’ associations from the metal and electrical industry are united in the Gesamtmetall e. V. employers’ association. Gesamtmetall and its 22 member associations forward the interests of approximately 6.500 companies and more than 2.1 million employees.
Gesamtmetall introduced the Social Intranet platform IBM Connections as an innovative solution for association-wide communication. The platform is available to employees and members of the association for gathering information and mutual exchange of experience. The introduction did not achieve the desired level of success: Some users still preferred alternative sources of information. Content often needed to be updated at several points to reach all users. What was needed, was a well-structured user interface in IBM Connections with better content targeting.
By adding XCC – Web content & Custom Apps to their platform, Gesamtmetall gained the ability to create individual introductory pages in IBM Connections. XCC doesn‘t only allow centralizing internal platform content such as files, wikis or blogs on one page, it additionally provides features to embed and display external content. Through this, information such as social media streams or web-enabled Domino databases can be integrated into the resulting “IBM Digital Workplace Hub”.
XCC transforms IBM Connections into a IBM Digital Workplace Hub that makes relevant content and information about association work available to the association’s members and employees. Several XCC-based introductory pages provide users with content that is specifically adapted to the respective topic. By structuring and targeting the arrangement of information, XCC significantly lowers initial constrains in using the IBM Digital Workplace Hub. Moreover, XCC considerably reduces the workload for editorial staff.