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Where can I find …? Who knows …? Too much information … not relevant to me! If you hear this from your colleagues then it’s about time to act. The timing could not have been any better, because our business strategy Route 2015 is built on the principles of speed, consistency and consumer focus as well as a way of working that is open, honest, fact-based, non-political, collaborative and efficient.

While all this is common knowledge among our employees, feedback from our Global Engagement Survey showed that this was not yet permeating our digital landscape. In addition, the social media revolution was an influencing catalyst for companies to become more networked and personalized. In order for the adidas Group to stay an employer of choice, the new generation of employees demands the same ease of connecting and communicating with intuitive technologies that they leverage in their personal lives.

Bringing the vision to life

Joint workshop Internal Communication and IT.

Joint workshop Internal Communication and IT.

To meet these challenges, we sat down together with our in-house IT partners at the end of 2012 and jointly came up with a vision that we were keen to bring to life: “Leveraging our collective intelligence to push the adidas Group beyond borders”. Having that vision clearly helped us to avoid succumbing to the social media hype. What seems like a quick win is doomed to fail in the long term: simply mimicking external social channel features within the enterprise does not help employees to do their job better. We had been down that route with an intranet based on wikis and blogs and later on with a pilot for a “face-bookish” start page. In particular the wiki got a “time-out” card from our colleagues: too unstructured and too raw in design, whereas the “face-bookish” start page was just too crowded.

Setting priorities

The layout of the new a-LIVE platform.

The layout of the new a-LIVE platform.

So, we went back to the drawing board, conducted workshops and interviews with our colleagues to get deep user insight. When listening to them, it became clear that being informed, getting connected and getting the job done across departments, countries or hierarchies was top of mind. To truly empower them, we overcame organizational silos by breaking free from a conventional navigation and instead focused on what employees really need to perform best – on a personalized start page:

Be Informed

  • News Center – one single place for all official corporate news
  • Corporate Info Center – the go-to place for all strategic look-up type info
  • Public Workspaces – to enable departments to inform their users and offer their services
  • Powerful Search – to make everything easily findable and accessible

Get Connected

  • Micro-blogging – to easily update and inform colleagues, start discussions and find answers
  • Follow and Get Followed – the Twitter principle
  • Communities – connect and exchange around cross-functional topics or interests
  • People Search – find the experts that you need

Get the Job Done

  • Tasks – centralized system workflows in one place
  • Apps – a single place to access all web-based business apps
  • Request Forms – one central place to access all request forms
  • Workspaces – to facilitate collaboration and sharing within teams and projects

The benefits of a-LIVE

All in for a-LIVE!

All in for a-LIVE!

As a consequence, our new intranet and collaboration platform a-LIVE is not just another intranet re-launch, but a completely re-thought, re-engineered and re-designed digital home for all global employees. a-LIVE facilitates bringing to life the adidas Group’s business operating model (speed, consistency and consumer focus) and the way of working together (open, honest, fact-based, non-political, collaborative and efficient).

It connects the formerly disjointed and complex worlds of information, collaboration, internal social media and business applications in a progressive and clean design that is fun to use – both in the office and on the go with a dedicated mobile app. Its agile architecture based on SharePoint 2013 makes it an ever-evolving and future-proof enabler on the way to becoming a networked and responsive organization.

And what is even more important: despite the quite radical change in concept, the feedback from many colleagues has been very positive and we managed to turn them into a-LOVERS.