Siegel+Gale is a global strategic branding firm committed to building world-class brands through elegantly simple, unexpectedly fresh strategies, stories and experiences. It delivers comprehensive services in brand development, simplification, research and digital media. Since the company was founded in 1969, Siegel+Gale's mantra has been "Simple is Smart." In every engagement, the firm uses extensive research and holistic, audience-centered strategies to deliver brand experiences that stimulate the senses, engage the emotions and help clients realize their full potential. Siegel+Gale is a fast growing, midmarket company with 200+ employees in offices around the world. It has offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Riyadh, Dubai, Shanghai and Beijing. Siegel+Gale is part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.
Siegel+Gale required a solution to enable its 250 employees to come together in order to share insight and expertise. As the firm expanded, it became increasingly important for management and employees in all offices to keep abreast of what was driving business and have greater insight into projects in not just the United States, but also for those based in other parts of the world.
The firm's rapid expansion was causing onboarding challenges. There were many new employees and it was important to get them up to speed as soon as possible, but finding all the templates, best practices, and updates they required in a centralized location was virtually impossible.
It was also difficult for existing employees to learn about the skills and knowledge that the new hires brought to the firm. Great client work was generally shared amongst the offices or account teams, announcements were usually made over email, and documents were stored in shared drives. Siegel+Gale knew it was building a fantastic worldwide team, but that team needed to be linked more efficiently and have better awareness of the skills and assets that were available.
Siegel+Gale works at a very fast project pace, and it was becoming essential that with the completion of each project, all the associated assets were collected and made available to the entire organization. Teams would form and disband after every completed project, and it was sometimes difficult to capture lessons learned for future client engagements. The wealth of information generated from these projects was of great importance to everyone and the shared work would be of great benefit to existing and future projects.
Finally, as Siegel+Gale operates as part of a shared services system within a larger organization, it pulls from a common pool of corporate IT resources. As such, they were looking for an intranet solution that would require minimal IT support and maintenance. Teams needed to be up and running quickly and remain largely self-sufficient.
Initially, Siegel+Gale looked at several vendors that supported their need for an internal collaboration environment, including Microsoft SharePoint, Jive Software, Moxie Software, and Igloo. After contacting several vendors, it became clear that many of the larger players were not designed for the challenges of the mid-market. SharePoint, in particular, had a greater reliance on the IT central services organization for assigning roles and permissions than was desired. Because it was very important for Siegel+Gale to maintain as much autonomy as possible from the central services group, this was a major factor in their decision. After careful review, the evaluation team shortlisted Moxie Software and Igloo for the project.
In December 2011, Siegel+Gale created test sites for Moxie Software and Igloo Software. The evaluation included 14 pilot users from around the world, and Siegel+Gale ended up choosing Igloo based on its ease of use for the end users and administrators, the flexibility of assigning permissions and roles within the system, and, most importantly, ease of configuration.
By January 2012, Siegel+Gale made their decision, and the Igloo implementation was kicked off. The project proceeded very quickly and the Siegel+Gale intranet, Plus, was launched in March 2012.
By implementing Igloo, Siegel+Gale realized immediate benefits in the areas of internal collaboration, information sharing, and skills and resource awareness. They focused significantly on getting employees involved in the system and encouraging them to be more social and connected globally. The team has invested a lot of attention in ensuring employees are completing areas within Plus, starting with their profiles.
Since the implementation, there has been a lot of positive feedback. By nature, Siegel+Gale is a highly collaborative organization and coupled with their community engagement efforts, the adoption rate has been very high. They created a special team of champions prior to launch to post assets and build buzz around the intranet project. Within the first six months, 50% of users were in the system, and by the end of the year, 75% were using the system, and of those, 80% had completed their profiles.
Plus now offers an extensive volume of content, including videos, which provide plenty of insight for new employees not just about what the firm does, but where it is headed. It also helps clarify areas of expertise and functions within the greater organization. The level of knowledge sharing and reduction in duplication of effort has been significant.
Siegel+Gale has also customized the information architecture and user interface, so the intranet is built around the way they work, and looks and feels just like their brand. They also found that hosting lunch and learn-style sessions to educate members on how to use Plus provided just enough training. These sessions, combined with more traditional campaign activities, continued post-launch by the team of champions, and are used to highlight new capabilities and features while continuing to raise awareness.
"With Igloo Software, we have built up a greater awareness of the skill quotient within our firm that we never had before."
Siegel+Gale's success with Igloo Software is associated with its due diligence, its focus on ease of use, and commitment on engaging all of its employees around the world.
When Global Knowledge Manager Michael Dieterle joined Siegel+Gale, he brought with him extensive experience in building productive and successful intranet environments. Michael knew right away that it was important to focus on ease of use, and to identify and build up a team of experts who would champion the system. This was of special importance when dealing with a diverse and global workforce: multiple cultures, languages, and time zones.
The team created a library with high-value content, internal case studies, digital assets from previous work, and more. This content was critical to creating a lot of awareness and buzz pre- and post-launch.
In addition, Siegel+Gale wanted to implement a system that, while robust and secure, would allow as much autonomy from central IT as possible. It was important that the intranet was as straightforward for members to use as it was for administrators to manage. Flexibility in updating and managing user permissions was also key. With those goals in mind, Siegel+Gale was able to fully implement its intranet in under two months.
"Never underestimate the challenge for every individual to accept change. We focused on ease of use and building up a network of champions to carry on the word. It has made all the difference. Within the first year, 80 percent of the staff had completed their profiles, and three quarters of the organization is using the system."
Distributed teams require secure, reliable, and highly accessible virtual environments that enhance collaboration, improve communications, and provide a central repository for assets and project deliverables. By implementing a social intranet solution, organizations like Siegel+Gale are able to maintain highly collaborative and communicative teams, regardless of geography, with a single source of information and a connection point for sharing knowledge and expertise. The efficiency and productivity gains enabled by these tools can unlock tremendous business value and can help organizations, like Siegel+Gale, stay one step ahead of the competition.