Wessex Water has over 2.8 million customers across the southwest of England and a turnover in 2021 of over £500m. Its workforce of 2,500 is spread across the localities it serves, in offices and in the field.
One of Wessex Water’s core values is Clear communication to and between staff, resulting in a well-informed workforce. The organization has always had an intranet, but it was a platform that existed mainly to distribute policies and manuals. With a drive for a more diverse workplace, and a younger, digital-native cohort in areas such as call centres and apprentice programmes, the intranet, known as Source, had to evolve its style, relevance and inclusivity.
Until 2016 the intranet was running on a Content Management System (CMS) that was viewed as inflexible and complicated to manage and consume. Consulting company Clearbox, after an extensive review, recommended a LiveTiles-driven solution.
Survey showed need for enhanced intranet features
In 2016 Tom Chippendale, the Digital Channels Manager at Wessex Water, engaged Clearbox Consulting, an independent consultancy, to advise on the organization’s intranet and wider digital workplace strategy. Clearbox, together with the in-house digital production team at Wessex Water, conducted a broad survey at all levels of the organisation to find out what was valuable in the existing service, and what would be useful additional features.
The results of the research showed that the CMS-based intranet was a static resource that did not offer a strong search functionality, making it difficult to surface information. Nor did it improve collaboration or knowledge sharing and crucially, it wasn’t designed to drive mobile usage, essential for frontline employees.
While there was clearly an urgent need to improve and personalise the content to make it relevant and compelling, the technology decision was whether to leverage Microsoft’s SharePoint and have an ‘Intranet in a Box’ around it or deploy a separate standalone product. Out of this work, Tom and Clearbox decided on a solution that was tightly integrated with SharePoint and would track Microsoft’s roadmap for Office365. After a competitive search of such offerings, the team decided on LiveTiles Intranet.