Eneco Puts Energy Into Employee Collaboration

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2014-10-14 Email Print this article Print
Collaboration and Communication

A European energy company revamps communication and collaboration so that 3,500-plus employees can share project plans, contracts and many types of documents.

Communication and collaboration are at the center of today's digital enterprise, but connecting people to the right data and information at the right time is a constant challenge. At Netherlands-based Eneco Group, the challenges are formidable: The company produces, purchases, trades and supplies daily energy services to 2.1 million businesses and households, and more than 3,500 employees must share project plans, contracts, technical documents and more.

"The ability to collaborate closely and effectively is critical," says Nezah Samur, a business analyst at Eneco. "In the past, we lacked the systems and technology to share information, and we had a culture that was not used to being open. As a result, we were unable to make data and documents available to everyone in the organization."

In fact, the firm, was mired heavily in a file-sharing environment that lacked adequate metadata and versioning. "People used file names that were meaningful to them but difficult to track," she explains. "Oftentimes, they couldn't find the documents they needed."

That was the situation until 2012. "We decided that we required an environment where people could work in a social business setting with active and archived documents," Samur recalls.

In addition, Eneco had several key requirements, including the ability to use metadata encompassing a project and environment, the specific process, and the product type across internal and external documents. After opting to use harmon.ie to complement Microsoft SharePoint, a team began examining document usage and further defining taxonomies and metadata.

The harmon.ie solution, which went live later that year, introduced a number of improvements. Currently, Eneco employees can access SharePoint directly from their email window. The ability to drag and drop documents between email and SharePoint has made it considerably easier to use SharePoint, Samur notes.

"There was no need to change the way they work or learn how to use any new software," she adds. "Handling and sharing files is completely intuitive." In addition, the solution made specifying metadata an easy and automatic task that occurs during the document check-in process.

Over the last couple of years, Eneco has expanded the scope of the project, and the firm is now in the process of extending collaboration to mobile devices, including tablets and smartphones that span operating systems. "This will make it easier for people to work effectively—both in the office and away from the office," Samur says.

In addition, the platform connects and integrates with Lync, Yammer and OneDrive for Business. This provides Eneco employees with access to the full suite of Microsoft collaboration and communication tools within a single window. "We now have very effective workflows in place," she explains.

Samur believes that the move to a more robust communication and collaboration platform will continue to pay dividends. Not only are employees able to work faster and more efficiently by accessing their apps and tools from a single screen, but there are fewer problems and greater access to key files and data.

"Workers have become more productive across all versions of SharePoint," she reports. What's more, when Eneco undergoes a SharePoint version upgrade, the employee user experience remains exactly the same.

"We now have a far richer collaborative environment that taps into enterprise content management, record management, knowledge management and social tools," Samur concludes. "We have the tools required to run our business well, and we've introduced an entirely different way to think and work."


Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.


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