K-Citymarket renewed its intranet to facilitate information flow

There are 81 K-Citymarkets in Finland, employing a total of approximately 6800 people. The most important internal communication tool for K-Citymarket’s personnel is the intranet, as it also functions as an ERP system in everyday life. The intranet is in active use on a daily basis, which is why it is particularly important that common and store-specific up-to-date information can be easily found in intranet news and other content. The old intranet no longer worked as needed, so in spring 2023 it became necessary to completely renew the intranet with the help of Sulava.

In spring 2023, Sulava started modernising K-Citymarket’s intranet into a new entity. The old classic SharePoint intranet no longer met the needs of use, and its maintenance began to be heavy. The aim was to upgrade the new intranet into a modern user-oriented solution that utilises modern technology. Intranet was aimed to be a clear, efficient, and user-friendly solution resembling K-Citymarket’s appearance, enabling store-specific communication. In addition, there was a desire to further increase mobile use.

“The best solution was to build the intranet from scratch as a completely new, modern entity to bring the user experience to a completely new level. We wanted to start developing the intranet from scratch, because we felt that it was pointless to transfer old data and that the cleaning work would have to be done at some point,” says Elina Miettinen, IT Manager, End User Services at K-Group.

Iterative development work in K-Citymarket’s own environment

The project started with a planning meeting, where a project plan was drawn up and roles and responsibilities agreed between the project team. In the first phase of the project, a project team consisting of Sulava’s consultants, K-Citymarket’s administration and representatives of the IT-department defined the needs for the new site entity.

The intranet was designed with a K-Citymarket-like visual identity, templates and landing page structure. In order to make intranet users’ time more efficient, the structure and navigation of the site had to be easy to use and logical. The development work took place iteratively directly in the customer’s environment so that the customer could see all the changes live.

Completely new intranet content

Sulava organised a total of six design workshops with the project team. They reviewed the current state and contents and defined needs for the future. The workshops defined the role of the intranet in relation to other tools, such as store-specific Teams, document management and user rights, and discussed the needs of intranet news and information structure.

Previous content was not transferred from the old intranet to the new one, but all content was reproduced from scratch by 300 content producers. For this reason, it was important to reach a state where the environment would be ready for content production as quickly and agilely as possible during the implementation phase.

“It should be noted that the entire project was successfully carried out remotely via Teams and partly during the summer holidays,” says Janne Lanu, Development Manager at K-Citymarket, praising the agile project.

Custom features to facilitate everyday life

Custom features were added to the intranet to improve the user experience. To keep the news feed up-to-date, rules can be created for articles to facilitate content management. Expiring articles disappear from the intranet automatically and the news flow remains up-to-date and outdated information does not accumulate on the intranet. In addition, the person in charge of the page is automatically reminded of the need to update content pages.

“The rules were created in the background to make the work of content creators easier, so that no person is burdened with watching the content,” Miettinen says.

Managing the news feed becomes effortless with a tailored read/unread feature, particularly beneficial for store employees who share workstations. The function allows the user to personally see which news he has already read and which has not.

Symbols and icons define different degrees of announcements so that the user can filter the news feed for different topics. AI overwrites outdated files and ensures that price lists and selection listings, for example, are always up-to-date on a store-by-store basis.

The intranet’s information retrieval and filtering functions were carefully designed to ensure users can effortlessly locate the required information.

“When the intranet strongly guides the operations and activities of the store, it’s important that users can directly filter, for example, urgent or task-related news feeds from the intranet homepage,” Lanu says.

Training’s vital role in implementing an intranet

The new user interface and structure require stores and content creators to learn new things. Sulava organised training for administrators and content producers to go through the most important features and possibilities of the new intranet.

In addition, Kesko held its own internal training for its personnel jointly and targeted at individual teams, focusing in more detail on the performance of certain functions. Kesko’s team customises the materials for internal training in the “Kesko language” to facilitate the work of end users.

When it comes to major change initiatives, Kesko relies on its in-house network of change agents, which includes 65 experts from diverse sectors across the organization. In addition to their own work, change agents guide and train colleagues in the introduction and use of new tools and operating methods. In this project, a larger network of change agents was not utilized, but the trainings were organized by the project team and the feedback was satisfied with that solution.

Modernization project completed on schedule and under budget

The modernization project was completed on schedule and the new intranet was launched in August 2023. The project’s expenses were lower than initially budgeted. After the implementation work was completed, the cooperation will continue with maintenance. Sulava’s consultant supports content creators and, if necessary, guides main users and content producers.

A feedback form has been created on the front page of the intranet, which users can use to send feedback on the new intranet. For example, the smooth mobile use has been praised.

“The project moved forward to its conclusion swiftly and smoothly, thanks to the skillful guidance of Sulava consultants. Business understanding has also played an important role in ensuring that cooperation has been so smooth,” Miettinen praises.

Author: Merja Turpeinen
Published in October 2023

Quick facts
  • K-Citymarket is part of the K-Group, which is the second largest grocery retailer in Finland
  • K-Citymarket employs approximately 6,800 people, and the main internal communication tool for the non-food staff is the intranet.
  • The old classic SharePoint intranet no longer met the needs of K-Citymarket, and its maintenance became tricky. Therefore, a new solution was developed with Sulava assistance.
  • The new intranet aimed to be modern and user-centric, leveraging modern technology and also serving as an operational management system.
  • All content for the new intranet was produced from scratch with the help of 300 content producers, and the intranet user experience was enhanced through customized features.
  • Sulava provided training for key users and content producers, covering the key features and possibilities of the new intranet.
  • Modernization project completed under budget and after the implementation, the collaboration has continued with maintenance!