With their acquisition of the Irish company Independent News & Media (INM) at the start of 2019, Belgian media group Mediahuis is now active in three countries. After the acquisition, Mediahuis immediately decided to install an overarching intranet and implement the team communication software Microsoft Teams to improve the group dynamic and internal collaboration. Because the new system needed to be user-friendly above all, Mediahuis enlisted the help of a specialist: Xylos.
The Mediahuis Group encompasses many brands. In our country, they publish newspapers such as De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad, Gazet van Antwerpen, De Gentenaar and Het Belang van Limburg. For Dutch people, titles like De Limburger, NRC Handelsblad and De Telegraaf will ring a bell. At the start of 2019, the group ventured further abroad with the acquisition of the Irish media concern Independent News & Media (INM).
As a result, the group’s offices are split into several separate ‘islands’ - but thanks to some digital tweaking, they’re able to collaborate excellently. The company’s most important recent investment is the new group intranet, which has the same graphic design for all brands.
Mediahuis has always been at the forefront of the digital workplace and firmly believes that a good intranet is crucial to keep all employees informed. “Mediahuis Belgium already used an intranet solution by Valo, which we were satisfied with. It simplified internal communication and our colleagues thought the technology was intuitive to use. They could fill out information themselves when needed. That’s why we decided to implement a new, modernised version of this system for all companies in our group”, says Robin Pauwels, ICT Infrastructure Manager at Mediahuis.
“We consciously chose to use the same framework and layout for the entire group. Every entity can publish its own local content on it to make sure the intranet is relevant for everyone”, adds Tekin Yilmaz, Project Manager at Mediahuis. “Only the Who’s Who section and the General Group News section are the same for everyone. Thanks to the user-friendly software, the Communication department can now post all content themselves instead of needing the IT department to help out.”
By switching to a new intranet, the company wanted to empower employees to collaborate more efficiently. One of Mediahuis’ goals is to reduce the amount of e-mails that are sent back and forth between colleagues. “We want our employees to make a habit of checking the intranet before they ask a question - maybe it’s been answered there already. This way, we no longer have to answer the same questions endlessly, and not being bombarded with e-mails saves us a lot of time”, says Tekin.
For Mediahuis, the new intranet has to be as user-friendly as possible to encourage employees to use it. It works as a homepage, and thanks to the integration with Outlook, it even displays meetings that can be started with one click.
The employees at Mediahuis Limburg and at the company’s headquarters in Antwerp will be the first to use the new intranet. Apart from carrying out the technical installation, Xylos also organised several hands-on webinars. “Xylos has been our partner for IT infrastructure projects for years. We consider them our trusted advisor. Even though we have a lot of in-house knowledge, an outside perspective can be very enlightening. They’re also the ultimate Valo reference in Belgium; they have a lot of experience implementing intranet solutions and hardly needed any instructions”, Pauwels comments.
Mediahuis is simultaneously switching to Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s team communication software, to stimulate internal collaboration even more. Xylos mainly took care of the installation governance and integrated the tool with Valo’s technology seamlessly.
“We want our employees to make a habit of checking the intranet before they ask a question - maybe it’s been answered there already.”