IBM Digital Workplace Hub with IBM Connections and XCC

brings Ernsting’s family closer together

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 Digital Workplace Hub combines the market-leading Enterprise Social Software with customized applications and functional features for Content Management.

Initial situation
Our solution
Value for the customer

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 SchrieverhoffResponsible for Internal CommunicationErnsting'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 Communicati-on  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 com-pany-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 Universal Intranet

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 signifi-cantly 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 implemen-ted for the onboarding of new employees, in order to further reduce the entry threshold to the Intranet.

Used technologies:

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About Ernsting’s family:

Ernsting’s family GmbH & Co. KG, headquartered in Coesfeld-Lette, is a German textile company speciali-zed 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, depart-ments and branches.

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Philipp van den Boom
TIMETOACT Software & Consulting GmbHContact