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Viva Connections was a really good find – a starting point that puts us in a good place for future projects, plugged into a really strong, easy-to-use infrastructure.

David Thackray Group Head of IT and Telecommunications

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CompanyNet - A Core Group Company

The challenge

Hythe Group was looking to modernise its capabilities around internal communications and processes. Communication was inconsistent, sharing of information and news was ad-hoc, and it was hard to know where to find company controlled documents. In parallel, they wanted to start improving how the company obtained feedback on satisfaction and performance from its employees.

Hythe Group required a new employee communications platform – one which would improve how information was shared across the business, and would act as a central hub where employees could find the resources they needed to do their jobs.

They initially considered finding a developer to create an intranet, before quickly concluding this would mean reinventing the wheel. Some research revealed that packaged intranet solution would be a better option.



The solution

Hythe Group advised the CompanyNet team they were committed to Microsoft 365, with all staff licensed for the platform, but knew they could be making better use of this investment. They had started using Microsoft Teams over other video conferencing platforms, and had a desire to move towards better-organised, cloud-based storage with OneDrive and SharePoint Online, rather than traditional network shares. 

Given the size and nature of their business, CompanyNet suggested Hythe Group consider Microsoft Viva Connections as the solution. A new employee communications platform built on top of Microsoft Teams and SharePoint online, the CompanyNet team strongly believed Viva Connections would tick all the boxes for the team at Hythe Group.

David Thackray, Group Head of IT and Telecommunications at Hythe Group, commented, “what drew us to CompanyNet was their introduction of Viva Connections to the mix. We’d narrowed solutions considered down to SharePoint-based intranets, that had a UI layer over SharePoint to make it easier to configure.

CompanyNet provided a smart solution – they had fully committed to Viva Connections and the Microsoft roadmap – recommending we simply use native Microsoft tools to build what we needed.”

Whilst cost optimisation was of course a consideration, it was most important that Hythe Group implement the right solution. Given the option of delivering a comparable experience using just the existing capabilities of Viva Connections, it became the favoured solution. “As we went through the process, it became increasingly attractive that we didn’t have to spend any extra money on new licensing,” says David. “The only project costs were the professional services costs to build on the platforms we already had.”

Once appointed, the team at CompanyNet worked closely with their counterparts at Hythe Group to deliver a new Viva Connections site that would meet their requirements. This included delivering the completed platform in a few short months, in order to meet an ambitious target launch date.

“This project has underlined the fact that there are a lot of benefits in building your user experience around Microsoft 365 components. From an integration and consistency point of view, we appreciate the way Microsoft Teams is pulling everything together into a single user experience.”

David Thackray Group Head of IT and Telecommunications at Hythe Group

The results

Viva Connections not only provided a comprehensive platform that met Hythe Group’s requirements, but it had the added advantage of being closely integrated with Microsoft Teams and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem. 

Hythe Group employees can now access their new Viva Connections platform through a dedicated tab on Microsoft Teams, as well as in the Microsoft Teams mobile app, or even through a standard or mobile web browser. Better still, the platform is designed using a mobile-first philosophy, and provides excellent accessibility and user experience out of the box. 

“Most of our people are not office based,” explains David, “so it was a top priority that the platform be accessible from wherever they work and on whatever device they require. Viva Connections  ticked that box.”

The site is now well on its way to becoming the go-to place to find information, documents and to engage with employees across the business. 

Hannah Postma, Hythe Group Content Marketing Manager, said, “We wanted the site to be as useful as possible from day one, with interactive functions like the ability to comment and like posts, just like you do on Instagram or Facebook. We still have a long way to go, but so far, we have been updating the news regularly and we are starting to gain traction in sharing company-wide information quickly, and easily.

“We share cool news about new marine technology, a photo of the day, team updates, and information on what’s going on across the business. We also have idea and suggestion boards to help encourage the team to get involved in content and innovation.”
David added, “This project has underlined the fact that there are a lot of benefits in building your user experience around Microsoft 365 components. From an integration and consistency point of view, we appreciate the way Microsoft Teams is pulling everything together into a single user experience.

“Viva Connections was a really good find – a starting point that puts us in a good place for future projects, plugged into a really strong, easy-to-use infrastructure.

“It was a simple approach with no overlays or additional costs beyond the project itself. Knowing Microsoft’s roadmap, particularly around the plans to bring Learning Management and other systems into Viva, it meets both our immediate and longer-term objectives.”


 

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