Basler Versicherungen LogoThe insurance and service provider Baloise is building the workplace of the future. 1stQuad was allowed to accompany the Baloise Group during the first decisive steps on the way to the digital future within the scope of the “New Intranet” consultation. Based on Microsoft technologies with a focus on Office 365, an integrated digital workplace platform is to be created, which, among other things, will replace existing solutions based on Lotus Notes and Magnolia.

Basler Versicherung AG

As part of the Baloise Group, Basler Versicherungen and Baloise Bank SoBa jointly operate as a focused financial services provider, a combination of insurance and bank. The Baloise has around 3,700 employees.

“New Intranet” Consulting

The majority of the Baloise Group’s 7300 employees work on computers. In view of the rapid market development and new customer and employee needs, these jobs are subject to significant change: The Baloise Group would like to consistently adapt the workplace to today’s possibilities. The aim is to create integrated and networked solutions that also provide the best possible support for new working methods.

Step 1: Vision and strategy

According to the vision of Baloise CEO Gert de Winter, the integrated workplace should significantly improve cooperation not only within the company but also in the exchange with customers and partners. 1stQuad supported Baloise in formulating the mission and strategy as well as concrete objectives from this vision.

First of all, the three “must-win battles” were identified: Generating relevance for the respective target groups, promoting cultural change, and enabling integrated working methods. In this way, the foundation of a common understanding was laid, a status report with prioritization of key requirements was drawn up, and an overview of all existing requirements was produced. At the same time, the important topic “culture and change” was discussed: How can the desired change be supported by appropriate measures?

Step 2: Building blocks and rough concept

On the basis of the strategy work and the identified needs, five central elements of the new workplace, the so-called building blocks, were identified, in line with proven good practices:

  • News and employee communication
  • Content and information architecture
  • Collaboration
  • Search
  • the Home Screen

For each building block, 1stQuad developed together with Baloise a rough concept, relevant user stories as well as a rough visualization of the targeted surface in the form of wireframes. With this, the new intranet could be shown conceptually and the project team members could get a good idea of the future user experience.

Step 3: Technical feasibility

A technical feasibility study quickly made it clear that not all requirements were covered by the standard possibilities of Office 365. A review of the building blocks in relation to the requirements showed where coverage with Office 365 onboard equipment was sufficient and where there were functional gaps.

Step 4: Evaluation

Advanced intranet solutions and frameworks fill the gap between the standard possibilities of Office 365 and today’s requirements in the enterprise environment. The market offers a wide variety of such products, some of which are very fast-moving: Some solutions appear and disappear within a year. A careful evaluation was necessary. Various sources were consulted, in particular the “Clearbox Report”, which compares 26 intranet solutions in detail.

The aim of the evaluation was to select a product that strategically fits Baloise’s new Microsoft orientation and best covers the functionality identified in the rough concept. To avoid a lock-in effect, the selected product should also be easily removable from Office 365. A flexible interface for building new business functions and applications was also essential.

The intranet solution Wizdom from the manufacturer Webtop emerged as the winner from the detailed evaluation. Wizdom impressed the jury with its wide range of functions that fit Baloise’s requirements, as well as its lively partner landscape and attractive licensing model.

Looking ahead – Next Steps

The Baloise Group’s Digital Workplace is now about to be implemented. A first release is to be produced in the next six months, enabling stakeholders to gather initial experience in a targeted manner. The challenges are great with the changes that are emerging in individual project streams. One of the most significant hurdles will be the cultural change that the digital transformation at Baloise will inevitably bring with it.

I could literally feel the motivation and the will to change for the digitalization of Baloise. By choosing and developing the strategy, procedures, and tools for the new employee intranet as part of the Digital Workplace Programme, we were able to help set an important milestone.

Thomas Maeder, Digital Workplace Consultant
1stQuad Solutions AG