The intranet business case of De Friesland Health Insurer

The core business of financial service provider De Friesland Health Insurance is serving customers. In order to provide optimal services, De Friesland is firmly committed to its new course: Strategy2020. The focus here is on creating an active (internal) community, with the starting point: the more active the community, the better the service.

Various departments are paying attention to the new strategy: HR focuses on talent management and Corporate Communication on accessible information, facilitating dialogue and sharing knowledge. The project team consisting of Frank Rooze, Dolon Knol and Jenny Rodenhuis explain how their new social intranet Frits contributes in all these areas.

Part 1: How does the social intranet reinforce business strategy?

In this first part (1), we discuss how the intranet reinforces the business strategy, what requirements and wishes the various departments have and what the added value of Embrace is compared to Office365. In the second part (2), we will discuss how De Friesland implemented the new social intranet in a Microsoft-driven organization in four weeks, what they have learned from this and what plans there are to achieve the organizational goals for 2020.

Strategy 2020

“In 2016, De Friesland introduced a new strategy until 2020, involving customers more actively. Because employees are also expected to have an active attitude, a social intranet was a logical part of the strategy. If you want the intranet to be a success, it is important to link it to organizational goals. During that strategy development, it was clear that we wanted to focus on an active De Friesland community:

Board of Directors Session

“Embrace change consultant Frank Smit spoke to the management together with HR, IT and Corporate Communication. In that conversation, the specific aspects of the strategy in which the new intranet can contribute were discussed:

  1. Working closely with partners such as municipalities or healthcare partners: the platform offers the possibility to externals to add and easy to work together;
  2. Believing in the talents of our employees: with the Knowledge Connector feature, you can provide insight into knowledge and expertise in the organization. For example, you can focus on talent management;
  3. Transforming employees into self-organizing information workers: the intranet facilitates self-organization;
  4. In dialogue with each other to achieve valuable results: the intranet facilitates dialogue and communication;
  5. Anticipate technological developments in a timely manner: Embrace uses the latest techniques and the product is continuously being developed.

During the conversation, a crucial question was also asked: who will be the product owner? This question is important for everyone who is going to implement a social intranet. The product owner is an important link when it comes to making essential decisions, such as focusing on security or ease of use? For us, our CEO quickly took on the role of product owner. That day, the management also made choices in terms of transparency, safety, target group and project planning. The role of the board of directors is crucial to the success of the platform.” In part two, we delve deeper into how the director has taken on this role in practice.

Department-specific wishes for the new intranet

“HR and Corporate Communication were looking for a solution to department-specific issues that met IT requirements. Because it is much better to use an integrated solution than all kinds of different systems, we have bundled the wishes and requirements. Because these departments have joined, support for the social intranet is also greater.”

HR: focus on talent management

Discovering and deploying talent

“Our organization consists of approximately 600 employees. To gain insight into what we have in terms of knowledge and expertise, HR was looking for a talent management solution. For example, who knows about the laws and regulations in healthcare? Experience with legislative changes? Or is there someone who is good at analyzing statistics? In other words, what are the hard and soft skills of an employee? And how can we use these skills for the organization? The employee can then use his or her talents to help the organization move forward, and this may also involve a different perspective in the organization. For the organization, this means cost savings because the knowledge or experience does not have to be hired. So it's a win-win situation.”

Knowledge connector

Linking feature to business processes

“Together with Evolve, a consultancy firm that focuses on the adoption issue, we looked at how we can incorporate the Knowledge Connector into the processes. For example, during appraisal interviews and/or 360-degree feedback. Because we focus on adoption rather than technology, it's important that features are integrated into business processes.”

Corporate Communication: focus on usability

SharePoint is not considered to be user-friendly

“Corporate Communication had been setting up a social intranet for 5 years. De Friesland is a Microsoft-driven organization, which is why the choice for a Microsoft product was quickly made. However, SharePoint as a social intranet did not get off the ground because it is not user-friendly: it takes a lot of effort for the user to perform information or actions, it is not intuitive enough, managing content is difficult and does not offer the desired flexibility. All these factors meant that the intranet was not used by employees.”

User-friendliness number one

Because of this experience, Corporate Communication required never to launch a social intranet based on SharePoint again. This time, they wanted an intranet that would really be used by end users. De Friesland has set up a selection process in which three suppliers were invited to a demo. This quickly made it clear that Embrace was the most mature, user-friendly and intuitive package and best suited what they were looking for.

IT: focus on simplifying the IT landscape

An important technical requirement was the software acceptance criteria

What is the added value of Embrace compared to Office365?

“When testing the requirements, the question quickly came up how Embrace could be linked to Office365. We consider Embrace as an umbrella solution where the vast majority of end users can do their work. Because the coherence of functionalities is more logical and easier, Embrace fulfills more end user needs than the separate modules in Office365. The two main arguments for IT to use Embrace were therefore:

  1. Embrace's user-friendliness is greater;
  2. The connection with Office365. For example, there is an active link with Skype for Business, Exchange, and in a first next update via Embrace, you can also collaborate online in Office Online.”

How did De Friesland implement the new social intranet in the Microsoft-driven organization in four weeks? What did they learn from that? And what plans are there to achieve the organizational goals for 2020? You can read that in part 2 of the case.

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