Intranet Case Study: Chr. Hansen A/S

Veröffentlicht am März 18, 2010 by Stephan Schillerwein

The Company
Chr. Hansen A/S is a global bioscience company that provides products to the food and health industries. They are headquartered in Denmark and employ about 2’200 people in 31 countries. Every day, half a billion people consume products that contain some of Chr. Hansen’s natural ingredients.
Best Intranet 2010 in Denmark
Chr. Hansen’s intranet won the “IntranetPrisen 2010”, awarded by IntraTeam at the IntraTeam Event 2010 on March 3+4 in Copenhagen.

Some highlights at a glance:

  • The intranet – called C-Net – is aligned to the mantra of the CEO about “taking out complexity”
  • Every employee can put a story of the homepage
  • Satisfaction with intranet search is on a good level
  • The intranet feeds content into the appealing screen saver that every employee has on his/her desktop

Chr Hansen Screensaver
The Business Environment of C-Net
The intranet is owned by Corporate Communications. Together with a number of other headquarter functions (HR, CSR, …)  they form what is called “Stakeholder Relations” inside the company.
There was a major reorganisation following the acquisition of the company by a capital fund. This also impacted the intranet team as development competence was outsourced. This created a number of problems and led to a failed project in 2006. After that, the decision was made, that a new intranet was needed, including a complete overhaul of strategy, technology, organization and content.
Results had to be delivered in a straightforward amount of time. The intranet team opted for an agile process that was adapted from Scrum to get up to speed fast and to minimize the risks that come with large projects.
The Intranet today

Chr Hansen Homepage

Linking the intranet to business objectives: Lars Frederiksen, President & CEO of Chr. Hansen keeps repeating the statement that the company has to “take out complexity” of everything it does, for both their customers and themselves as an organization.
The intranet strategy has identified a number of fields where C-Net can directly contribute to this, e.g. by reducing the amount of emails, by moving paper based tasks to the intranet or helping create a more transparent organization.
Another manifestation of this approach is that not the full spectrum of identified requirements was implemented with the first launch of the new intranet as the organization and people weren’t ready for all of them. Setting them aside for later incremental roll-outs helped people find their way around the new intranet more easily and thus made their life simpler.
Based on the success they had with this, the intranet team has now launched an internal campaign to make C-Net business critical. The campaign addresses everyone in the organization that is involved in processes or tasks that could be optimized by being transferred to the intranet (e.g. existing paper forms, workflows, document management tasks, etc.).
Good and bad experiences with User-generated Content: Every employee can put a story on the homepage of the intranet. If you think that this is the perfect recipe to wreak havoc and upheaval, here’ what Christian Skjaran’s, Intranet Manager at Chr. Hansen, experiences are: “There have been absolutely no abuses or cases of inappropriate content since the relaunch of our intranet in February 2009. If you’re thinking of opening up your own intranet, I can only encourage you to give it a try!”
Another option for employees to contribute didn’t work out as well: when people could upload their own profile pictures in the employee directory there were quite a number of images of comic figures and pictures in which people’s faces were not discernable. This was not of much help in communicating with people you had never met personally before and thus the process was centralized. This shift was supported by people being offered to have their picture being taking in some of the main locations of the company.
In countries with strict privacy regulations each employee was asked individually whether it would be okay for them to have their picture in the directory. Only a few people objected.


Getting the right mix of Editors on Board: The main portion of the content is managed by 130 editors from across the organization. Great care was taken not to just get “anyone” appointed as editors, but to really getting the right people to contribute. 5 editor personas were created for that purpose (a persona is a fictional character created to represent the different user types within a targeted group): researcher, production worker, sales person, office worker and manager. After that, editors were consciously chosen within the range of the personas to represent the company and its content requirements as best as possible. Currently the majority of the editors are still from the „office workers“ persona group, but this is to level out in the future.
I especially like the way they went about to educate editors. Often this is done by just teaching people the tools. At Chr. Hansen great emphasis was put on highlighting existing problems (creating awareness first) and then showing new ways of working that help optimize the situation (offering solutions).

Chr Hansen Editor Training

Groundwork for Intranet Search: “Before the new intranet we had a really crappy search engine in place. Now people are quite satisfied with search results, even though we use nothing more fancy than the standard search engine built into SharePoint 2007”, says Christian Skjaeran. This might come as a surprise to those familiar with that search engine, as it hasn’t got a reputation of being world-class. Beside the low expectation people had based on their experience with the old intranet, there is a number of things that were done in order to improve search quality by improving content quality:
•    Reducing the quantity of information
•    Having a librarian to go once over every piece of content that remained and tag it
•    Use of “Best Bets” based on zero-hits search words
•    Having a “Masterdata Team” in the organization that decides on global terminology use
Incited by the noteworthy outcomes of this project, they are looking into having a dedicated Search Manager role as soon as resources allow.

5 Kommentare

  1. Great case study! Using SharePoint 2007 search very similar to the way we are – Best Bets are key! Also enjoyed the screen shots, especially the profile. We are in the process of making the case to ‚turn on‘ the open ended fields (about me, skill sets, responsibilities, etc.). The screen shot from this case study will be helpful in showing a company who’s already implemented them.
    Thanks for sharing the Chr. Hansen A/S story!

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…
    This post was mentioned on Twitter by IntranetMatters: New blog post: Intranet Case Study: Chr. Hansen A/S

  3. Thanks for sharing the case study – I am interested in your use of personas for editors. We are starting to research the importance of developing personas for our intranet users and am interested to see how this worked for you (or any other readers).

  4. Even though personas are used for websites more often than for intranets, I think that the amount of positive experience with personas for intranets is quite substantial. Positioning the personas with your stakeholders can sometimes be a bit tricky in the beginning, but apart from that, it’s a concept that you’ll benefit your project in every step. Of course only if done right.
    Here’s a link to a good starter into the topic: „Using Persona Advocates to develop user-centric intranets and portals“ by Howard McQueen:

  5. I like the fact that you use personas prior to creating the content. Well, personas really help in writing a content that will target your audience’s needs. I have read an article at which shows how to create persona the right way.

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