To drive decentralized global operations, effective collaboration is crucial for Sika. How could it enable its 18,000 employees to work as one across organizational and geographical boundaries?
Sika uses a security-rich social business network based on IBM Connections Cloud to empower personnel from all parts of its organization to work together in digital communities.
Enablesemployees to exchange ideas effectively with peers in different geographies
Surfacesrelevant company news on employee homepages, improving communication
Deliverscost-savings by decommissioning on-premises servers and moving to the cloud
Business challenge story
Staying nimble as the business grows
How can organizations stay nimble as they grow? Sika, a leading player in the global chemicals industry, sees that a decentralized organizational structure is crucial for fast, effective decision-making.
Edwin Meier, Head of Group IT Solutions at Sika, comments: “Over the last 10 years, our business has been expanding steadily, and today we have around 18,000 employees working in more than 100 countries around the world. One of the key factors for our successful growth is the decentralized nature of our organization, which helps our regional units to react quickly to opportunities in their local markets.”
Based on the success of its decentralized model, Sika’s CEO aimed to equip regional businesses with even greater autonomy. With teams set to become distributed across different geographies and time zones, the challenge was to enable people to continue work together effectively. The company realized that it needed to augment its existing collaboration environment, which was based on IBM Notes® and Domino®.
Daniel Ramelet, Team Head eCollaboration at Sika, explains: “We knew that traditional communications methods such as phone calls and email would be insufficient to support an increasingly decentralized structure. To achieve our goals, we looked for an enterprise-class digital collaboration platform.”
Effective collaboration, faster decisions
Sika selected IBM collaboration solutions to deliver a business social network. As a first step, the company used IBM Connections to enable employees to engage with their peers via digital communities, wikis, instant messages and more.
“After a thorough evaluation process, we decided that IBM Connections was the most mature and feature-rich of all the solutions we considered,” recalls Meier. “Because we were already using IBM Notes and Domino for email and calendaring, we were confident that IBM Connections would be easier to deploy than a platform from another vendor. Better still, the IBM solution was the most cost-effective, which proved decisive in gaining executive support for the project.”
After a successful small-scale on-premises pilot of IBM Connections (named SikaConnect internally), Sika deployed the solution for its 18,000 employees. To enable its corporate communications team to publish news, best practices and business processes to employees across the business, the company also selected IBM WebSphere® Portal to create a corporate intranet site called SikaWorld. The intranet is linked to SikaConnect, which offers employees a fast, simple and structured way to find the digital communities that are most relevant to their roles.
Ramelet comments: “SikaConnect has proven to be an extremely effective collaboration solution. Within a matter of months of going live, thousands of our users were actively using the platform to publish updates in blog posts, exchange ideas in digital communities and collaboratively edit documents with their colleagues.
“At the same time we deployed IBM Connections on-premises, we also took the opportunity to migrate our IBM Notes platform for email, calendaring and instant messaging into the cloud, which enabled us to decommission around 50 physical IBM Domino servers and substantially reduce our operational costs. Looking ahead, we were keen to adopt the cloud model for our collaboration platform.”
With its IT hosting contract due to expire, Sika seized the opportunity to migrate its on-premises instance of IBM Connections to IBM Connections Cloud. As well as ensuring that the company was always using the latest version of IBM Connections, embracing the cloud model promised to deliver additional capabilities such as robust disaster recovery.
“SikaConnect has become an integral part of the way that we work, and it gives us great peace of mind to know that we can rapidly recover data in the event of a disaster.” adds Meier.
To help drive its migration project, Sika engaged a team from Vamosa Technologies and stakeholders from IBM.
“For data governance and compliance reasons, our board requires that any data we store in the cloud must stay within Europe—and IBM enabled us to meet that requirement in a straightforward way,” says Ramelet. “We must also ensure that we can meet regulatory requirements around data privacy, such as the General Data Protection Regulation [GDPR]. IBM offers us the tools we need to remove or anonymize our data if we need to, which will certainly improve our ability to comply with these kinds of demands.”
With the end of its IT hosting contract fast approaching, Sika needed to work quickly to migrate its data to IBM Connections Cloud before a strict deadline.
“Working with IBM and Vamosa Technologies was a positive experience overall, and we felt that the two organizations worked well together,” says Meier. “Vamosa Technologies provided the migration tools we needed to facilitate our move to the cloud, and IBM helped us escalate and remediate technical issues quickly to keep the work on track. As a result, we successfully migrated our data ahead of the deadline.”
Supporting global growth
With collaboration in the cloud, Sika is helping its decentralized organization to work effectively as one without compromising on decision-making agility. Employees across the company have now created more than 2,500 communities, 14,000 wiki pages and 15,000 blog posts—helping them share ideas effectively and drive continued growth.
“Moving to IBM Connections Cloud immediately gave our employees to access to a number of features that they had been interested in for some time, including community overviews that provide high-level summaries of active discussions,” explains Ramelet. “IBM solutions are supporting Sika’s decentralized strategy by enabling greater autonomy for our regional businesses without sacrificing central governance and control. Better still, the collaboration capabilities are helping us generate excitement and boost motivation for teams working across the company.”
Based on its success with IBM collaboration solutions, Sika is preparing to enhance its IBM Connections Cloud platform with IBM Connections Engagement Center.
“IBM Connections Engagement Center will enable us to deliver an even more personalized experience to our employees online and on their mobile devices,” says Meier. “The solution will also underpin our IT strategy to facilitate information exchange and knowledge management across all Sika entities.
“For example, we plan to integrate locally relevant account news from our corporate communications team, as well as updates from each employee’s local company Facebook page. We are also confident that IBM Connections Engagement Center will enable us to replicate the functionalities of our SikaWorld intranet site, which may eventually enable us to combine SikaWorld and SikaConnect into a single employee portal.”
Ramelet concludes: “Our ability to respond quickly to business opportunities around the world is a key enabler of our growth—and with digital collaboration in IBM Connections Cloud, we’re supporting the nimble operations that keep us competitive.”
Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Sika is a specialty chemicals company with a leading position in the development and production of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting in the building sector and the motor vehicle industry. With over 200 factories and subsidiaries in more than 100 countries around the world, Sika’s 18,000 employees generated annual sales of CHF 6.248 billion in 2017.
Take the next step
To learn more about IBM Connections Cloud, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/marketplace/enterprise-social-collaboration
A division of T-Systems, Vamosa Technologies specializes in content migration to cloud, on-premises and hybrid cloud systems. With two decades of customer migrations, Vamosa Technologies has experience with a comprehensive range of leading enterprise content management systems. To learn more about services from Vamosa Technologies, please visit: vamosa.com