Business challenge

As its business expanded internationally, Swinkels Family Brewers wanted to give teams in the Netherlands and beyond a better way to access and interact with organizational content and applications.


Working with IBM Business Partner Acuity, Swinkels Family Brewers developed a new corporate intranet that gives employees easy access to the resources they need to work effectively.



productivity with quick and easy access to key information


localized content to help keep the global workforce connected and up-to-date


and informed employees act as effective ambassadors for the company’s brands

Business challenge story

Improving cross-company communication

Swinkels Family Brewers has been making beer for 300 years—and what started as a small local brewery has grown into a booming global business. The company owns six breweries in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ethiopia, and sells dozens of brands in more than 130 countries.

Today, Swinkels Family Brewers employs around 1,500 people all over the world, and as the company continues to grow internationally, equipping these teams with the information and tools they need to work productively is crucial to sustaining a successful business.

Els Wachter, Internal Communications Officer at Swinkels Family Brewers, elaborates: “We are a sustainable family brewer with firm roots in local soil. As we grew our international presence, we wanted to spread the culture from our Netherlands business to our global locations, and engage with all our employees in a clear, consistent way.”

Swinkels Family Brewers used an intranet to provide employees in the Netherlands with company news and information. However, as all the content was in Dutch, international teams had to rely on email and phone to share information. What’s more, the existing intranet had reached end of support, was difficult to navigate, and did not support two-way communication—limiting its usefulness.

“We wanted to introduce a new global intranet that was user-friendly and available to people across our business,” says Wachter. “Our aim was to create a consistent experience for all Swinkels Family Brewers employees, while supporting multiple languages and relevant, localized content.” 

Thanks to IBM Connections Engagement Center, our new intranet is easier to navigate and use—and in the long term, we want it to become the hub for company communication.

Els Wachter, Internal Communications Officer, Swinkels Family Brewers

Transformation story

Tapping a new intranet platform

Swinkels Family Brewers teamed up with IBM Gold Business Partner Acuity to help find the right solution for the company’s needs. Acuity recommended using IBM Connections Engagement Center to build a new global intranet.

Wachter recalls: “IBM Connections Engagement Center makes it quick and cost-effective to deploy a new intranet—two key priorities for us. Working with Acuity was a good experience; they helped us to outline exactly what we wanted from the new intranet, what features we needed to enable this and what steps we needed to take to get there. Acuity’s expertise and know-how were real assets to our project.”

Working with Acuity, Swinkels Family Brewers set out a multi-stage approach to its implementation. In phase one, the company replaced its existing intranet with a new platform for teams in the Netherlands, built on Connections Engagement Center.

“We were very satisfied with how quickly we were able to deploy Connections Engagement Center,” says Wachter. “It took less than five months to design the new intranet and bring it into production.”

Swinkels Family Brewers is currently working to build on this foundation. In phases two and three of the project, the company will roll out a global intranet to all its locations and enhance the platform.

Wachter comments: “We have big plans for Connections Engagement Center. Employees around the world will be able to access a central hub for company news and resources. We’ll be able to customize content to each user’s location and display it in their local language. For instance, if an employee is based in Belgium, they won’t see an announcement about an event at our Lieshout headquarters in the Netherlands. We also want to build a more social intranet, where people can react to news items, comment on documents and take part in surveys.

“Finally, we want to make it possible for all employees to access the intranet from their personal mobile phones and tablets, so that they can find the information they need and stay up-to-date on what’s going on at the company whenever and wherever they are. We think this will be a particularly useful feature for our drivers and brewery workers, who don’t typically have access to a computer.”

Results story

Lifting productivity and engagement

Today, Swinkels Family Brewers is making it easier than ever for employees to find the information and resources they need to work effectively. And with Connections Engagement Center providing an intuitive, user-friendly experience, the company has seen a marked uptick in the number of people publishing content to its intranet platform.

“Thanks to IBM Connections Engagement Center, our new intranet is easier to navigate and use—and in the long term, we want it to become the hub for company communication,” states Wachter. “Whereas in the past, people relied more on email for communication, we are now seeing more news items being published and more information being shared via the intranet. People can quickly find the content they need, saving them time and helping them work more productively.”

As Swinkels Family Brewers continues to enhance Connections Engagement Center and extends the platform to its international locations, it expects to shape a more empowered and connected global workforce.

Wachter confirms: “We’re making company content more relevant and local—and empowering employees to engage with it no matter where they are. This will help our people to feel more connected to the company and more involved in the day-to-day life of the business. And when employees are proud of their company and its products, they will go the extra mile in their work and act as ambassadors for our brands. This will give Swinkels Family Brewers an edge on the competition and help our business to keep growing strong around the world.”

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About Swinkels Family Brewers

Swinkels Family Brewers (formerly Bavaria) is a family-owned business that is active in the beer, soft drink and malt sector. Swinkels produces 26 brands of beer and operates six breweries in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ethiopia.

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