Sanlam Sky Solutions personalises the new way of work by enhancing their digital collaborative workspace

Upgrade existing software Custom develop web parts Project Scoping Project Management Implementation Stabilisation

Increased collaboration, knowledge sharing and user adoption.


Executive Summary
Sanlam Sky Solutions used Microsoft SharePoint 2010 as their intranet portal, referred to as SkyView, as a digital, collaborative workspace, where all staff have a share of voice. Given the familiarity of their existing intranet, Sanlam Sky Solutions chose to upgrade to the latest version of SharePoint 2013 to enhance the usability, utilise the improved collaboration features, refresh the interface to complement their new corporate identity, and include custom web parts developed by Britehouse Digital to create an improved personal user-experience.​

Client Overview
Sanlam Sky Solutions, a retail cluster division of Sanlam Personal Finance, provides a wide range of affordable financial solutions to the South African entry-level market. Sky has 5 regional Broker offices, 62 agency distribution sales branches, 9 satellite offices that combined, service 750 permanent office-bound staff members, approximately 350 independent Brokers and close to 3 300 advisers.​

Business Challenge
With the extensive footprint of distribution and client care offices, Sanlam Sky Solutions found team members were often isolated, which led to a loss of team bonds that resulted in knowledge gaps among team members. These concerns are taken seriously and​ addressed, utilising technology, specifically SharePoint.

To capitalise on collective knowledge and adapt to the e-Work environment, the business, through its staff, established a common approach for knowledge sharing across Sanlam Sky Solutions that successfully creates a connected, engaged and, empowered workplace.
Due to the Groups existing SharePoint platform, Sanlam Sky chose to upgrade to the latest version, SharePoint 2013 but include the following functionalities:

  •  Enhanced search engine experience,
  •  create community sites to increase collaboration, information sharing and communication that are applicable to specific Groups within SkyView,
  • new design interface across all pages that reflect Sky’s rejuvenated corporate identity look and feel.
“Document management exposure really started to take hold in Sanlam Sky Solutions. We've seen a vast improvement on the uptake and understanding on what SharePoint can offer.”

Gary Ashby,
Innovation Consultant Sanlam Sky Solutions

Collaborative Digital Workspace
It’s imperative that all staff within Sanlam Sky Solutions feel part of a connected workforce.
This is achieved by constantly receiving communication updates, alerts and creating a community amongst internal teams within the business.
Jabulile Smith, Communications Manager at Sanlam Sky Solutions says “SkyView drives a digital collaborative workspace, a space in which people talk about their work, reference, store, share and use information. In doing so, also creating and implementing a governance structure”.​

Sanlam Sky Solutions adopted a pro-active approach in content sharing and created a community of content coordinators. This is a vibrant group of staff that play an active role in updating the departmental group sites that meet and discuss their intranet and share ideas.
Elmi Gous, Communications Consultant at Sanlam Sky Solutions says “Some of our teams like to play soccer socially and for the corporate games, the Wealthsmiths™ Soccer League in particular, a community was created for colleagues to share their fixtures, results, comments and photos.”

The Team sites enable Sanlam Sky to obtain intelligent information about their staff, their likes, preferences and their choices.

Gous elaborates “Staff initiatives are driven on this platform and generates a lot more excitement than before. Colleagues feel involved and can share their opinions; they enjoy having a voice. We use hash tags for staff campaigns and encourage everyone to share experiences and photos on their newsfeed. It allows them to get involved and really feel part of initiatives.”

Custom Developed Solution
Sanlam's brand refresh in 2014, prompted the update of SkyView to reflect the new corporate identity. In line with this, it was decided to further develop a modern interface that not only complemented the new look and feel, but also supported the focus on collaboration. Britehouse SharePoint User Experience and Design Specialist developed a bespoke interface that complemented the Sanlam Sky Solutions rejuvenated look and feel.​

Knowledge sharing and collaboration was imperative to the success of the project. To further enhance the user experience and increase functionality, a selection of web parts were developed by Britehouse, specifically for SkyView.

Team Sites were created to accommodate the specific needs of their various teams. To further personalise the user experience, each staff member is able to create a personalised MySite. They can choose to follow colleagues and receive updates on their news feeds, which appears on their home page. They can also follow hash tags that are linked to various campaigns - creating a fun, interactive and informative news feed, similar to a social media application. “We know that these things take some time, especially for people who aren’t accustomed to social media, but we’re seeing more activity than before”, says Gous.

Sanlam SkyView is all employees home page, their screen when they log in and because it is the Group’s intranet, all staff see and experience:

  •  An enhanced search experience where documents surface in real time,
  • rotating banners,
  •  important announcements,
  •  classifieds and tip of the day,
  •  a calendar that displays upcoming events and important dates to remember,
  •  ‘Know your Colleague’ displays interesting facts about staff,
  •  responsive design that enables staff to move seamlessly between devices,
  •  quick poll functionality to obtain relevant information and gain valuable insights.
The new SharePoint 2013 and custom developed web parts encourage increased online collaboration through the newsfeed and communities. Sanlam SkyView Solutions intranet is no longer just a place to find information instead, it is a portal where staff actively share their views, see what other colleagues and departments are up to and ask questions. Says Gous, “It’s interactive, so you can ‘talk’ to staff across the business, in different offices all over South Africa”.

Sanlam SkyView’s SharePoint 2013 is agile, improves communication across Sanlam Sky Solutions, increases internal productivity and the go to platform that creates camaraderie across all regional offices.

About Sanlam Sky
Sanlam Sky Solutions is a retail division of Sanlam Personal Finance, which forms part of the Sanlam Group with over 4 600 staff members countrywide. It provides a wide range of simple and affordable financial solutions to the South African entry-level market. These products include funeral cover, retirement annuities, savings for education, life cover and personal accident plans.​

About Microsoft SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is a collaborative intranet workspace that enables business enhanced functionality. Accessed via a web browser on any device, this platform enables efficient do​​cument sharing, shared workspaces within a company, across continents.​

About Britehouse Digital
With a legacy that is strongly rooted in the custom development space, specialists in the extensive Microsoft pre-packaged suite of products and delivering robust integration and business intelligence solutions, Britehouse Digital is a sought after technology partner. Our experienced Practitioners, Consultants and Developers are able to deliver industry leading products, services and solutions that meet stringent industry standards to African and multinational organisations.​
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