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What are the key requirements for advancing agile and secure work in companies? Above all, transparent communication within teams and high demands for data protection and security. Hybrid collaboration poses numerous challenges for many companies with these requirements. To successfully implement new decentralised processes, it requires a shift in mindset regarding work practices as well as the suitable tools. EnBW has created a new, agile and digital corporate culture. The special thing about it is that the impetus came from the individual teams and was facilitated by the visual collaboration tool Conceptboard.
Remote work without silo thinking with a collaboration platform
Working across cities and state borders is one thing, while collaborating between different teams and departments is another. What has been already a challenge before the pandemic was further amplified during the transition to remote work: EnBW employees worked in isolation from each other and only exchanged information within specific areas.
Especially in hybrid teams, knowledge silos can quickly form, leading to information gaps. Communication takes place across numerous channels, information gets lost, and digital visualisation of ideas is often inadequate.
Knowledge: What is visual collaboration?
Visual collaboration provides a way to efficiently connect teams at home and in the office, creating a shared space for work. It utilises visual representations such as drawings or mind maps to present and share complex relationships or ideas in an accessible manner.
Visual collaboration can take place in both virtual and physical environments, for example, through the use of smart boards, enhancing understanding and collaboration among participants. Whether virtual or on-site, the advantage of a digital board lies in its unrestricted availability, anytime and across borders. Contents can be accessed and edited from anywhere, even at a later time. Additionally, the editing history is chronologically visible, enabling transparent traceability of work steps. This allows team members who were not involved in the entire process to quickly grasp the progress of a brainstorming session or project planning.
Conducting workshops with Conceptboard as if they were on-site
Creating a virtual space for collaboration was also the goal of EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG. At the beginning of the pandemic, it quickly became clear that employees with a lot of customer contact or those involved in product development needed a suitable tool to conduct workshops as if they were on-site or to collaborate on creative topics such as design thinking or the development of a customer journey. A certain range of features, data security, pre-defined templates for important use cases, access for external individuals, moderation capabilities, and chapter logic were particularly important to them. Therefore, Conceptboard was quickly chosen.
The GDPR compliant tool enables fast, intuitive, and location-independent collaboration on shared projects. Thanks to its enterprise-ready approach, the tool could be introduced at EnBW without detours, and now, instead of the originally planned 50 licences, it is used by over 7,000 active users per month with around 17,000 monthly accesses by all employees.
“Progress and successes are directly visible to everyone when working with Conceptboard. As a result, new, more transparent processes were quickly embraced. The visual aspect plays a significant role. Employees have the results of their work in front of them at the end of each day. This promotes motivation to use a new tool,” – Handan Kartal, Lead Product Owner Digital Workplace & Smart Collaboration at EnBW
Transparency as a compelling argument for all employees
For the successful implementation of new tools and processes, employee-centered change management and thorough onboarding are always necessary. Merely introducing an application and providing training is not enough. Employees often initially react sceptically to new transparent tools, quickly feeling controlled and micromanaged. Therefore, one question should be clearly answered from the beginning: What is the advantage for the individual work routines of the workforce? The efficient use of Conceptboard facilitates daily tasks, improves collaboration, and saves time. Ideas and brainstorming sessions are stored in a secure location and can be easily and uncomplicatedly shared across hierarchies.
Internal transparency should not compete with data protection, but rather benefit from it. Like many other companies in the energy and utilities sector, EnBW has strict requirements regarding data protection and therefore was searching for a tool that is GDPR-compliant and places great emphasis on data security. Conceptboard can meet the high demands of EnBW through its own ISO 27001 certification, as well as the certifications of its hosting partners, its headquarters in Germany, and hosting in German data centres. All data in the Conceptboard app is additionally encrypted with established multifactor authentication (MFA) AES 256-bit because not all MFAs provide equal protection against phishing attacks.
Creating a new digital corporate culture with Conceptboard
EnBW has succeeded in utilising the positive aspects of transparent visual collaboration. Moreover, the new processes have brought about a change in the digital corporate culture. Conceptboard has become indispensable for employees: Teams can use various boards to conduct the entire planning and communication for a project. The shared overview, the history mode, which allows the chronological replay of a board’s progress, as well as the live cursor function, ensure that changes are easily traceable and each individual’s contribution is visible. The comment function, which allows questions and annotations to be made directly on individual elements, enhances clarity. At EnBW, teams create efficient workflows, quick alignment processes, and a visual platform for creative collaboration.
“Conceptboard has become the virtual space where we meet for collaboration. Thanks to the impulses from the individual teams, it has now become the central platform for creative collaboration and efficient teamwork in our company, and it is indispensable.” – Handan Kartal, Lead Product Ownerin Digital Workplace & Smart Collaboration bei EnBW