Creating a Digital Collaborative Workspace

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

Custom web parts developed by Britehouse Digital for Microsoft SharePoint 2013

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 is 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 its 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 Elmi Gous. 


Would you like to increase knowledge sharing and enhance collaboration within your organisation?  Contact Britehouse Digital Marketing +2711 575 8217.