Ernsting’s family has a history of providing affordable, high-quality fashion for families. This people centered approach on business also manifests in their appreciation for teamwork of employees, departments and locations. The powerful combination of IBM Connections and XCC – Web Content & Custom Apps Extension meets those forward-looking requirements: Their resulting ideal IBM Digital Workplace Hub combines the market-leading Enterprise Social Software with customized applications and functional features for Content Management.

For the agile company Ernsting’s family, the Intranet has a particularly high priority in simplifying collaboration for all employees across departments and locations. To meet the consequently high standards for their Intranet, it was necessary to create a versatile platform with features to enable and foster internal communication and collaboration alike.

The Failure of Traditional Web CMS

Ernsting’s family previous Intranet was based on the Web Content Management System (Web CMS) Typo3. Typo3, like any Web CMS, is in fact suitable for the creation and publishing of content. The scarce functions for commenting and rating content however did not fulfill the requirements for an up-to-date collaboration platform. The Intranet only enabled unidirectional communication from Internal Communications to the employee base. By implementing the market-leading Enterprise Social Software IBM Connections, Ernsting’s family wanted to include the crucial aspect of collaboration into their company’s Intranet. In order not to confuse the employees with content redundancies and inconsistencies, the company migrated all existing content from Typo3 to IBM Connections. All content was collected in communities before the previous intranet was deactivated. In the following, the bundled information was structured within the technical boundaries. However, what the employees needed for orientation was the possibility to differentiate or highlight the company-wide relevant news, content and functions that were previously found separately in an intranet.

“With the help of XCC, we were able to create a clear user-friendly and visually appealing platform in IBM Connections for company-wide issues.”

– Maike Schrieverhoff, Responsible for Internal Communications at Ernsting‘s family

Creating a Digital Workplace Hub with IBM Connections and XCC

At a conference Mr. Thorsten Rehmann, responsible for IT-Administration and licenses at Ernsting’s family, learned about TIMETOACT’s Intranet solution based on IBM Connections and XCC – Web Content & Custom Apps. This offered the company exactly what they were looking for: A Digital Workplace Hub, capable of integrating functions for internal communication, collaboration and customized applications.

Maike Schrieverhoff, responsible for Internal Communication at Ernsting’s family, explains what led to their decision for XCC: “We wanted to offer better service to our employees by incorporating relevant and up-to-date content, such as the company’s turnover, into our platform and display company-wide essential news clearly visible on the Connections start page.” The perfect match of the collaborative IBM Connections platform and the Web Content Management capabilities of XCC – Web Content & Custom Apps Extension offered an excellent foundation for this purpose.

Racing towards a Company-wide IBM Digital Workplace Hub

Over the course of only three weeks, Ernsting’s family and TIMETOACT developed a concept as well as a layout and navigation for the new Intranet based on IBM Connections and XCC. An ideal information architecture now enhances the collaborative environment of IBM Connections. In addition to the standard activity stream, a variety of widgets have been implemented to display relevant information to the employees. This includes content from external sources such as company sales, as well as employees’ birthdays directly updated in IBM Connections. The individual navigation directly leads users to helpful links and additionally integrates the original IBM Connections community as navigation item.

The usability of the company’s Intranet has improved significantly through combining IBM Connections with XCC. Maike Schrieverhoff is more than content with the final outcome: “With XCC, we were able to create a user-friendly, organized and visually appealing exchange platform within IBM Connections for company-wide issues.” Posted content is more visible and attracts more attention. Relevant content such as corporate sales or a calendar with on-time integration are now available. Employees can actively contribute their knowledge and collaborate to transform their Intranet into a true hub for information.

In the future, various XCC landing pages will be implemented for the onboarding of new employees, in order to further reduce the entry threshold to the Intranet.

Ernstings family Logo

Customer profile:

Ernsting’s family GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Coesfeld-Lette, is a German textile company specialized in affordable, high-quality family fashion and accessories. Founded in 1968, the company has grown to around 12,000 employees and over 1,800 branches. Their Intranet is essential to establish a company-wide network between personnel, departments and branches.

Ernstings family Hauptquartier

Initial situation:

The previous intranet of Ernsting’s family was based on the Web CMS Typo3. Without functions for commenting and with a one-sided communication flow, Typo3 was not suited as a modern collaboration platform. To solidify the collaboration factor in their intranet, Ernsting’s family introduced IBM’s market-leading Enterprise Social Software IBM Connections. They migrated all content into a community and structured it within technical possibilities. However, IBM Connections didn’t enable promoting essential content on a central page and offered few functions to integrate typical intranet functionalities. Ernsting’s family sought a solution that integrated communication, collaboration and custom widgets into a versatile platform.

Our solution:

In just three weeks, a small team of Ernsting’s family and TIMETOACT developed a viable concept for the new intranet based on IBM Connections and XCC – Web Content & Custom Apps Extension. XCC is a lightweight Web CMS that seamlessly integrates into the collaborative environment of IBM Connections. It complements the platform with content management functions and offers a multitude of customizable applications for the integration of external and internal content. Using XCC, the team at Ernsting’s family and TIMETOACT remodeled the UI of IBM Connections from scratch to create an individually customized Digital Workplace Hub.

Value for the customer:

The new Digital Workplace Hub nurtures enterprise-wide collaboration and the integration of external and internal content via functional widgets. In addition, a neatly structured navigation enables employees to search quickly and efficiently for relevant content. As a result, usability and the information value of the intranet have greatly improved the acceptance rate. Employees can now actively share their knowledge to make their intranet a hub for information.

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