Beiersdorf´s simply better way to work

"Internal Facebook" or "Beiersdorf Twitter". These are the words our employees often use for our global collaboration platform *blueplanet. Of course, not always positively motivated or totally supportive. I guess when implementing emails 30 years ago, not every user was celebrating noisily. Change always means efforts and transition – at least, in the beginning. But now, the number of followers is growing constantly. And we also take it as a compliment: being compared to Facebook means being compared to one of the pioneers in social media and the usability kings. The only thing we add to this expression is that our blue is much older than Facebook's.

But what exactly is *blueplanet? Already in 2013, Beiersdorf launched this internal global social collaboration platform. Now three years later, the tool strategy was sharpened, the software was upgraded from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 and a big engagement campaign was conducted to show that *blueplanet is simply the better way to work. Instead of sending an email attachment to 30 participants and asking for feedback/input and getting 30 single files back, we do it the contemporary way. Upload the file, share it with colleagues, see results – People can work on the same document simultaneously. How often are you searching for the final version? v1, v2, v3 ... who knows which one to use? Work in one version with others and get information on who changed what, when and even jump back to older versions. Simple.

Blueplanet Asterisk

I will give you another example: Tracking activities of our competitors is one mayor challenge and crucial for our business. In addition to external services, we thought of using our global workforce to stay updated on global activities of our competitors. Who could get information faster and easier on activities than our local colleagues? Easy, fast and usable it needed to be. This led us to our first internal corporate app: The “Competition Watch”. And guess what, it is connected to *blueplanet. You can log into a Webapp using your Beiersdorf Credentials, take a picture of a promotion or the like and add some relevant keywords and a description. Submit. Done. The picture will be posted automatically on the *blueplanet site. Our people can follow the site and read or even discuss these activities. And we try to help them monitoring relevant competitor information in their categories.

Emphasizing how *blueplanet can support everyone at Beiersdorf in fulfilling their job needs everyday, is the main task. “What's in for me?” instead of “yet another IT tool”. Apropos IT. Back in 2013, it was the IT department rolling out *blueplanet. The focus was to merge all different Sharepoint sites to one global accessible platform – from an IT perspective – and to solve business requirements like international exchange, transparencies & sharing.

Over the years, the acceptance is increasing, but by shifting the ownership from IT to business at end of last year, global engagement and awareness should be taken to the next level. Since the upgrade, the Corporate Communications department is taking care of *blueplanet. Sharing, posting & liking will help us unleash the potential of our collective knowledge and supporting our overall business strategies. As a global organisation, *blueplanet brings us closer together to share and learn from each other in one virtual place, making it easy to connect with colleagues. And not to forget the mayor challenge any big company is facing these days: Digitalization. Posting, sharing and liking is the modern way of communication and a key driver of digital transformation. If I want to understand our consumers´ needs, I need to communicate and interact with them like they do with our brands. And to learn how to do this, *blueplanet can support our employees. If I know how *blueplanet works, I also know how Facebook or Twitter works. Changing work patterns by shifting from email to social collaboration, will need time and efforts. However, we have to adapt to build a common digital mindset at Beiersdorf.

Now it's time to set up the strategy of internal collaboration & communication for the next years: What will the digital workplace look like in three to five years? How to jump into the employees' perspective and provide a “seamless workplace”? Will desktop be dead in 2020 and mobiles continue their triumph? Interesting questions. Please share & follow – we will keep you posted.

Julian Kupfer

Julian is one of our digital "CAREtakers" for creating a new digital working behavior within Beiersdorf. Always keen on following the latest digital trends and technologies. Seven years ago, he started as a working student and after his job entry in International Marketing, he is now Corporate Communications Manager and Project Lead for *blueplanet.