WoW! ITCORNER – Marcin Kręcioch from Edisonda

Check out how Edisonda has created a new global intranet platform for 130,000 employees in 30 countries across more than 130 different offices, mines, and steel mills.

Marcin Kręcioch – ITCORNER Member, Managing Partner at Edisonda:

Edisonda has come a long way in 14 years, from an agency world to designing major digital products. I truly feel proud that we manage to reach the level of internationally recognized digital consulting companies, while operating in Poland. One example of such success is the design of an intranet system for Glencore – a global mining company employing 130,000 people in 30 countries. What impresses me is that the team took on this challenge while simultaneously consulting with the business and end users in very diverse environments requiring compromise and change management.


Business-oriented design, digital workplace, e-commerce, self-service, innovation in corporate environments, and UX and CX research.


Transforming the portal for employees at one of the world’s largest companies in the natural resources industry

Marcin Kręcioch, Managing Partner at Edisonda:

„Well, this is going to be interesting!”

This thought crossed our minds when Glencore, a global leader in natural resources, approached us and asked us to be their research partner in redefining the digital workplace experience for their employees in 2020.

Glencore wanted to create a new global intranet platform to replace its previous one, which the employees did not perceive as a helpful tool. They complained about poor search capabilities, lack of updates from the business, and difficulty in navigating the unintuitive information architecture. It was also a separate intranet from more than 100 local intranets, which increased the cost and complexity of managing this landscape because employees did not have a “single source of knowledge.”



Today, two years later, a new intranet called “The Core” is available to more than 45,000 employees, and local intranets are now being integrated in offices in Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, and South Africa. Designed with a user-oriented approach, it addresses more problems than just searching for documents. It is an information platform that efficiently distributes information across the whole company, to all employees. It’s a new way of communication where Glencore specialists share knowledge no matter where they are.

It also lifts the burden of content management out of the hands of IT professionals, allowing content editors to work efficiently.

Tailoring the solution to the users’ needs

At EDISONDA, we have already investigated and designed many intranets. However, the scale of this project required us to adjust our approach. First, we needed to understand the current intranet situation at Glencore. We quickly learned that there was no consistent approach to managing intranet content. Offices, mines and smelters approached the situation in different ways, depending on the country and employee role. This meant that we had to examine and analyze the needs of employees around the world.

Working on a project during the pandemic

As our researchers were packing their suitcases to head to Switzerland, Peru and the Congo, disturbing news began to emerge. It was something about some particular virus. Even the word “pandemic” was used.

This unexpected turn of events disrupted our initial plans. On the other hand, as we were heading toward lockdown and offices began to close, it highlighted how important the digital workplace experience was for global companies.

It was impossible to travel, so we started looking for ways to conduct our research remotely. We decided to begin with a survey to determine how internal communication at Glencore was managed. The survey was accompanied by remote interviews with employees to deepen our understanding.

In the end, our survey on internal communication at Glencore was completed by more than 7,000 employees in 10 countries. It was distributed in offices but also in smelters and mines that had minimal internet access, where we relied on our Glencore partners to manually collect the responses.

In addition, more than 100 interviews were conducted with people all over the world, in different time zones. This was a significant effort not only on our part but also on entire Glencore. We are proud that the company treated this study with due diligence, as it continues to pay off tremendously.

The complexity of the project

The internal communications survey and interviews revealed how Glencore employees communicate and why they would use an intranet. The situation varied greatly from location to location. In some locations, employees were not even aware of the existence of the global intranet. However, among these differences, there were common needs that could be addressed through the intranet.

We learned that quick and efficient communication is critical because of the field in which Glencore operates. For example, when new safety procedures are introduced, every employee needs to be informed and able to become familiar with them. This need for prompt communication in emergency situations became even more critical because of covid, both for the front-line and the office employees.

Another important need was an improved flow of knowledge. Glencore employees from different parts of the world did not have the opportunity to exchange experiences and ideas because there was no platform in place. Both office and front-line employees wanted to be able to talk with other professionals about solving their daily problems.

Digital Workplace – plans and decisions

The project team assembled a steering group to make key decisions about the Digital Workplace initiative. This included such issues as the scope of targeted employees, the content to be managed by group functions and by local offices, and asset locations.

Most importantly, the group was also instrumental in reviewing various platforms that were considered for the new global intranet.

Initial research allowed us to create four user personas for the Glencore intranet:

  1. Knowledge employees
  2. Specialists
  3. Front-line employees with partial access to the network
  4. Front-line employees without network access

We identified the pain points and needs of these users and began the process of determining the intranet platform type that would support Glencore’s goals.

Together with the Glencore Digital Workplace project team, we decided on a SharePoint Online-based intranet platform, but one that wouldn’t act merely as a set of document libraries. The chosen platform offers an excellent approach to managing documents and other structured content for an intranet, and also includes the ability to post news and updates and share content within communities that employees can join if they are interested in consulting with other professionals from around the world, who work in the same field.

To make sure the chosen solution would be a good fit, we conducted user test sessions to see how future users would navigate the new intranet.

The Core – the new intranet

The new intranet, named “The Core,” was launched in May 2021 for Glencore’s headquarters in Switzerland. It brought together both the local and global intranets. The Core thus became a single place for all the documents (policies, standards, guidelines), group applications, local and global news, and practice communities.

and that’s not all! Meaning, a further cooperation with Glencore

During the early phase of the research, we became close to Glencore’s Digital Workplace Experience team and they invited us for further cooperation.


We started working in two different streams – usability research and change management.

In usability research, we continue our efforts to make The Core even more user-friendly:

  • After six months, we launched a satisfaction survey that would serve as a “temperature test” of how the intranet is performing.
  • We conducted another round of usability tests combined with in-depth interviews to understand how the new intranet meets users’ needs and how we can improve their experience.
  • Based on the feedback from the usability tests, we decided to conduct tree-testing. This was a great way to evaluate the information architecture on The Core. As a result, currently we are in the process of perfecting the navigation, which is becoming easier and more useful for employees.

When it comes to Change Management, we knew from the beginning that the introduction of a new intranet would require employees to get used to a new way of communicating. Therefore, together with Glencore, we created an adoption framework so that the employees could get used to the new features. This framework is extensive and is constantly evolving as new locations are regularly added in The Core. We want the employees to see the benefits coming from changing their habits, as we believe this is the only way to truly embrace the change.

As can be seen, an intranet is never “completed.” But together with Glencore, we have already succeeded in making work easier for thousands of employees around the world. We are proud of this accomplishment and also proud of our client, who used a user-centered approach to create something unique.

Article source: Edisonda.pl