Collaboration is vital for political parties to coordinate their activities. Høyre—Norway’s leading conservative party—aimed to harness digital tools to help its people work together more effectively.
Working with IBM Silver Business Partner Item Consulting, Høyre deployed a security-rich social business network based on IBM® Connections™—offering its employees enterprise-class collaboration tools.
Enablesall parts of the organization to collaborate on a security-rich platform
Deliversa single source of truth for internal party memos
Improvesvisibility and governance of party procedures
Business challenge story
Targeting closer collaboration
Election night is a nerve-wracking experience for political parties. In the months and weeks before the final votes are cast, the work of party employees, members and supporters takes center stage—but managing an effective political organization demands effective collaboration all year round.
Collaboration is a key goal for Høyre, Norway’s largest liberal-conservative party. Like many political organizations, Høyre previously relied on email and phone to coordinate its operations—but recognized an opportunity to improve its approach.
Thomas Berg Olsen, Organizational Director at Høyre, explains: “We are a large organization, divided up into four distinct bodies: our headquarters, regional offices, local offices and, crucially, our elected members of parliament. Around 120 employees are responsible for managing the day-to-day business of the party, but our overall stakeholder base is far broader. We have 4,000 elected representatives across national, regional and local councils, 30,000 party members and 10,000 young members.”
He continues: “In the past, we relied on a number of separate systems to help people in different parts of the business to communicate. In our parliament group, our people used an email system provided by the government, while we provided a separate email system and shared drive for teams in our headquarters and regional offices. If people at our head office needed to share files with the parliament group, they would often attach them to emails, or upload them to third-party cloud storage services.
“We knew that our previous approach could expose us to potential security risks if information was shared on insecure channels. In addition, as people often sent multiple copies of the same files via email, it was difficult to maintain version control for important documents such as internal party memos. To solve the challenge, we wanted to offer the entire organization a single, centralized platform for effective collaboration."
Shaping a social business network
Høyre worked together with IBM Silver Business Partner Item Consulting to shape a social business network based on IBM Connections, with IBM Sametime® for instant messaging. The new platform delivers enterprise-class collaboration tools such as forums, communities, wikis and more—laying the foundation for a centralized working environment.
“One of the features of IBM Connections that impressed us most was the ability to assign tasks with due-dates,” recalls Berg Olsen. “Every four years, we start up 400 nomination processes across the country to decide which of our 8,000 candidates will stand for local and regional positions. These nominations are run by volunteers, and it previously took our employees a large amount of time to ensure that the processes were progressing according to our stringent rules and deadlines. With IBM Connections, we realized that we could solve that problem at a stroke by assigning action items to volunteers and tracking their progress.”
Working together with an expert team from Item Consulting, Høyre began by training its executive team, department leaders, and parliament group.
“We knew that inspiring our people to embrace the new platform would depend on filling it with useful content—so getting our leaders up and running on the solution quickly was a top priority,” continues Berg Olsen. “We also delivered a series of super-user training sessions focusing on areas such as collaborative document editing, file sharing and content publishing. By training small groups of IBM Connections champions in our parliament group, headquarters and regional offices—who then went out and trained their peers—we soon succeeded in bringing all 120 of our employees up to speed with the solution.”
Today, Høyre has made its shared drives read-only—encouraging employees to make IBM Connections their go-to destination for saving and sharing files.
“In the past, our people would have to dig through layers of subfolders or long chains of emails to find documents—and when they found what they were looking for, it was difficult to verify that it was the latest version of the file in question,” says Berg Olsen. “Our employees now upload and edit single versions of files in IBM Connections. Better still, they can tag their files with metadata—making them easier to find in the future.”
Bringing the party together
With a social business network at the center of its party operations, Høyre is building the collaboration capabilities it needs to improve its operational effectiveness.
“Without a doubt, having a single platform is making it far easier for our employees working in different parts of the organization to stay informed and coordinate their work, particularly between the parliament group and our headquarters,” comments Berg Olsen. “In 2017, we won the seats we needed to hold our position in government—and our party leader remains the Prime Minister. Now that the campaigning has drawn to a close, we aim to train our 45 members of parliament and 400 local representatives to use the platform—bringing all the different parts of our organization even closer together.”
Based on the early success of the IBM collaboration solutions, Høyre is already working with Item Consulting to expand and enhance the platform.
“We are currently using the web version of IBM Sametime, and are in the process of installing the desktop client for all our employees,” says Berg Olsen. “By using information on employee roles and teams from our membership database, we will be able to automatically assign each user to IBM Sametime groups with their peers. We predict that instant messaging will make a significant difference to the way our people work, helping get answers to quick questions without having to write out an email.
“In the long term, we want to open up IBM Connections to our members across the country—offering them all the information and contacts they need to participate in the life of the party. Success in politics depends on engagement, and with our IBM collaboration platform, we’ll be in a strong position to keep our members informed.”
He concludes: “Thanks to our work with Item Consulting, we have the collaboration tools to become a more effective political party—and we are keen to develop our IBM Connections solution to serve all our stakeholders across the country.”
Founded in 1884, Høyre is a liberal-conservative political party in Norway. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, as of 2017 Høyre employs 120 people, has approximately 4,000 elected members in local and regional government and 45 elected members of parliament.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Collaboration Solutions, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/collaboration
Founded in 1999, Item Consulting is a leading provider of digital services for public and private companies across Norway. An IBM Silver Business Partner, Item Consulting specializes in social, cloud and mobile solutions. To learn more about Item Consulting, visit: item.no