Driving Digital Transformation for a leading UK retail wholesale distributor


Starting the digital journey towards increased operational efficiency through a scalable HR intranet and internal communications portal

Business Need

Digital Transformation Solutions UK

The client is one of the leading UK wholesale distributors, with a multi-billion-pound turnover, a network of regional depots across the UK, and a fleet of thousands of vehicles which serve the majority of all UK retail outlets. The client was embarking on a journey of digital transformation for their HR system, under which they were seeking to leverage new technologies to optimise processes and drive efficiencies within the business. One of the first areas identified under this initiative was to build and migrate to a more robust and scalable intranet platform to manage its HR processes and internal communications, in line with the CEO’s vision for the business.

‘Colleagues’ at the client’s various locations across the UK had been using a rudimentary system, based on Microsoft Silverlight and COBOL, which they were increasingly finding difficult to navigate and use, besides lacking some of the capabilities they were looking for. This had led them to stop using this system and use paper-based processes instead.

This manual approach made relatively simple tasks very time-consuming and very labour intensive. It also meant these tasks lacked cohesion as they would be forgotten about when certain staff left and new ones joined. The client’s senior management decided that a new and rapidly developed HR management solution was required to tackle these issues, streamline HR processes, and improve workforce engagement.

The company’s aim was to use technologies to automate processes, provide remote mobile access to colleagues, and to improve engagement across the whole business, including remote depots and warehouses. Under one strand of the client’s ‘People and Communities’ initiative, the new intranet was not intended to be just a corporate communications tool, but also an interactive colleague community portal which would share information about CSR activities and fun events, and even provide colleagues with an area to buy and sell their possessions.

Ignitho's Solution

The client realised early on that they did not have the in-house capabilities to effectively manage this as an end-to-end programme of work, right from initially engaging with the business and defining appropriate business and technology outcomes, to structuring and delivering a technical solution in a cost-effective manner aligned with these outcomes, to eventually working with key stakeholders to implement the solution and deliver a solid return on investment. Ignitho was able to bring together an effective solution rapidly, which would include suitably skilled professionals at the right place at the right time, who could work as “One Team” with the client across diverse global locations.

Ignitho’s programme management consultants and business analysts worked domestically side-by-side with the client in the UK, whilst leveraging Ignitho’s technology team in India to technically develop the intranet solution, using a Distributed Agile approach. Ignitho delivered the desired outcomes for the client at a competitive price, using its Frugal Technology Innovation methodology.

An open-source CMS platform was chosen to mitigate the risk of huge ongoing licence fees, while still providing Single Sign-On (SSO) functionality by integration with the client’s Active Directory and payroll systems. It was rapidly developed to drive the wholesale distributor’s active colleague database. The platform was further developed to be fully responsive and accessible by all colleagues from a variety of devices, helping to drive adoption and engagement.

The entire programme was iterative, conversational, and agile with ideas and developments being refined based on feedback from the client team. Regular workshops were held between Ignitho and the client to establish requirements, create an effective strategy that would bring about business change through technology, and ensure seamless and systematic adoption of the new intranet. Ignitho also facilitated user workshops and marketing communication to promote the new system throughout the organisation and ensure wide-spread adoption.

Benefits Delivered

The intranet solution built and now being maintained and further enhanced by Ignitho is helping to support a cultural shift amongst numerous colleagues across the client’s organisation and scattered UK locations. The revamped portal rapidly established credibility and brand affinity, leading to increased user satisfaction, elimination of inefficient paper-based processes, and streamlined working relationships within disparate technological systems which were now integrated to a common platform. The strategy to provide remote mobile access to colleagues improved employee engagement across the whole business, including remote depots and warehouses.

Ignitho’s Scalable Solutions approach allowed the client to transform and automate its hitherto manual ways of working and transition to this new online platform without impacting business as usual.

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