White Stratus deployed a Google Sites-based intranet for Dutch retail giant Royal Ahold. The intranet was deployed in under 8 weeks and cost less than the annual maintenance fee of the HP system it replaced. The new Intranet also improved the user experience and dramatically increased the level of active engagement with the platform. White Stratus created the platform WITH Google sites integrated with Google Docs
Business Description: Ahold is an international retailing group based in the Netherlands, with strong local consumer brands in Europe and the United States. They have over 3000 stores and 218,000 employees throughout Europe and the US.
The Challenge: Ahold needed to find a simple, effective mechanism for sharing the company strategy, policy and operational information with over 50,000 of their knowlege workers and leaders throughout the world; and increase the number of people creating, sharing and consuming corporate information. Their existing intranet and content management platforms were inflexible, poorly used, centrally controlled and expensive to maintain.
The Solution: Ahold engaged White Stratus to conceive and deploy a corporate intranet based upon Google Sites and integrating with Google Docs. From inception to full deployment the project was completed in less than 12 weeks. Requirements were completed in 2 weeks and the platform fully developed in 6 weeks. Change management activities, including “inspiration sessions” for 150+ users, took a further 2 weeks and the platform was fully tested and deployed in the final 2 weeks of the program. Full go-live happened over a single weekend.
In addition to traditional content, the new solution gave users access to RSS feeds, shared calendars, blogs and wide variety of other collaboration tools. User interaction with the site dramatically increased. The number of authors actively creating content rose ten fold and overall engagement with the site rose by more than 50%.
Through working with White Stratus, Ahold were able to quickly replace an expensive, limited content management solution (CMS) with a more capable Google-based platform. In addition to improve capabilities, Ahold made significant cost savings as total cost of the deployment was less than the annual maintenance budget of the original CMS platform.
Benefits: Organizational communication was greatly increased. For a firm focused on retail the ability to disseminate consumer trends and distribution channel issues throughout the firm quickly is paramount. Not only does the new Google-based intranet support traditional top-down management, it also creates an environment where all members of the firm can share specific knowledge in a social medium. This greatly increases the knowledge base to include staff that is on the front line of consumer interaction and the level of buy-in for policies and processes as all are free to comment on communications.
“Google Apps helped improve communication and collaboration across international locations with tools like automatic translation.”– Christine Atkins, SVP, Ahold
Kerry Underhill, SVP Corporate Comms,