Talk to people at Creditsafe, from CEO Cato Syversen down, and you quickly realise the central importance of culture. Culture, as management guru Peter Drucker famously said, eats Strategy for Breakfast. That’s not to diminish the importance of strategy, but to say that a strong culture provides a more resilient path to success. Creditsafe, founded in Oslo and now headquartered in Cardiff, has embraced the importance of culture and communications as it has grown to 23 offices in 13 countries.
Cato Syversen says they’ve been “trying to get internal communications right for twenty years.” Creditsafe’s journey has taken them through mass emails to weekly PDFs and ‘lifestyle-esque’ newsletters. Apart from being really time intensive, these static documents could not be translated, and the company had no idea who was reading them, if anyone.
With a dispersed, results-driven workforce operating in many languages, the challenge of including everyone in a productive and attractive exchange of ideas, news and victories is a significant one. How could the new working-from-anywhere environment recreate the buzz and vitality of the company’s physical sales floors?
“Bringing it all together” was the mantra for the technology and marketing team members who drove the search for a robust communications platform – a search given high priority and a short deadline with offices shuttered and staff working remotely.
“The pandemic was the Firestarter that accelerated our journey,” according to Syversen. And accelerated it indeed was, with LiveTiles chosen towards the end of 2020 and immediately deployed.
The initial rollout is called Creditsafe Newsdesk, a 24/7 feed of news, information – including some offbeat, fun and quirky content. “We wanted Newsdesk to be great for business and great for fun,” said David O’Reilly, head of group marketing, “And that includes livestreaming Cato’s DJ nights!” A CEO with a stuffed raven on his desk cannot take himself too seriously and Syversen is keen to make Newsdesk the go-to place for his 1000-plus staff, a hub for celebrating and expanding on the cultural backbone of Creditsafe.
David O’Reilly’s marketing team at head office is handling the initial feeding and populating of the Newsdesk, working closely with the technology team. This group addresses the lifecycle of new articles from various offices, manages workflows and runs the editorial calendar. During the next phase of the project, they hope to expand that team with ‘correspondents’ in other offices and departments to ensure that more voices are heard.
O’Reilly said, “Since we went live in January 2021 we’ve been delighted at how easy it is to get going on managing the content, publishing it and running analytics on it so we can see what’s popular. As we expand the ‘virtual’ publishing team, we can still maintain content control through regions and regulations such as GDPR.”
One of the essential requirements for Creditsafe’s platform was machine translation. Employees had to be able to read the news, access information and create content in their own language and immediately respond to it.
Syversen added, “Immediate translation is not just a technology feature. It’s a signal to each employee that – even if they’re sitting at the kitchen table – they’re a vital part of the worldwide organisation and they should be included in the information flow. It’s been remarkable to see how, for example, a French-originated story gets commented on by an employee in our Tokyo office.”
Even a diverse, dispersed, global company such as Creditsafe has to remain nimble, focused on client satisfaction and responsive to competitive pressures. An informed, educated, and connected workforce is a critical asset in this environment. When looking for a communications platform that would scale and be attractive to this workforce, Creditsafe’s evaluation team wanted to leverage the company’s investment in Microsoft 365.
They chose LiveTiles Intranet Enterprise, which seamlessly integrated with the company’s Microsoft Azure infrastructure, and allows employees worldwide to engage through Office 365 and a dedicated mobile app. The month-long project was achieved despite the COVID-19 restrictions, which meant no meetings, no travel and no open offices.
CEO Cato Syversen declares that the LiveTiles deployment was the most successful in technology projects’ experience. Neither company’s implementation teams had offices to work from, and Syversen has set a typically aggressive timeline for going live. Yet Creditsafe’s team rolled out the first offering, the Newsdesk, in January 2021, and is trialling the next phase, to include sales training and onboarding materials, HR policy documents and manualsand further product marketing support, for go-live by the summer.
Mike Salmon, the Chief Information & Security Officer at Creditsafe Group, is passionate about the impact of digital transformation on a global player like Creditsafe. “We started planning for the impact of COVID-19 in February 2020, when our Tokyo office flagged that the outbreak in China was significant. It accelerated our digital transformation plans, as Cato immediately tasked my team with building the capacity for the whole company to work without offices.
“I realized that communication was a core component of this, so we looked for a platform that would not only integrate with all of our existing services (the last thing we needed was another full-stack technology project!) but would also take communications to the next level. LiveTiles was a great choice for us.”
“This has been a very satisfactory project, from initially awarding the contract to rolling out LiveTiles across our entire workforce. Our two companies turned out to be similar in culture and motivation, which was key in the remote environment. From the point of go-live we had analytics – through LiveTiles and with Google Analytics – that showed take-up and engagement for Newsdesk to be sky-high. We want to build on that enthusiasm to do everything from cutting down on internal emails to producing sector and function-specific newsletters while keeping our people better informed than ever before. And, of course, there’ll always be a place for Cato’s DJ nights!”