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Maxxam Analytics gets ahead of competitors with enhanced internal communications

logo - maxxam
  • Employees
    1,000-10,000 Employees
  • Vertical
    Pharmaceutical and Scientific Research
  • Locations
    North America

About

Maxxam Analytics is the Canadian market leader in analytical services and solutions to the energy, environmental, food and DNA industries and a member of the Bureau Veritas Group of companies – a world leader in testing, inspection and certification services. maxxam.ca/

Challenges

Maxxam wanted to enhance internal communications and collaboration between distributed teams of employees, giving clients fast access to the skills they need across the business. Additionally, the central communications team wanted to delegate content management to save time and focus on value-added activities. The company deployed Interact’s intranet technology, which provided 95% of its intranet wish-list out of the box, including sophisticated search tools, a full-featured People Directory and social tools for sharing ideas, experiences and best practices.

Key Benefits

  • A single point of access to critical corporate systems and documents
  • The ability to search for staff using skills keywords and resolve client queries faster
  • Secure, devolved content management and significant time savings for the central communications team
  • Streamlined delivery of internal and client-facing projects and programs
  • Tools for sharing ideas, knowledge and best practices – feeding into more efficient operations
  • The ability to communicate new business strategies or changes in real time

Interact gives Maxxam Analytics employees fast access to resources and skills across the business, fostering team collaboration and best practices, and enhancing services for clients.

In terms of functionality, Interact took care of 95% of our wish list out of the box, putting it ahead of its competitors and making it very fast and easy to deploy.
Corinna Bork, Director of Communications, Maxxam

Specialist knowledge and expertise is the greatest asset for companies in the scientific and analytics fields. However, many science companies have distributed teams of experts and a high percentage of lab-based roles, making it difficult for teams to work together effectively, share knowledge and best practices, and deliver the best solutions for clients.

These were key challenges for Maxxam, Canada’s market leading provider of analytical and scientific testing services to the energy, environmental, food and genetics industries. The company has more than 2,400 employees at 38 offices and labs across Canada, with many lab-based analysts and technologists, as well as field staff, spending several hours a day offline.

Collaboration challenges were not easily addressed at Maxxam by the company’s previous intranet, which was based on WordPress.

Corinna Bork, Director of Communications at Maxxam, says, “Wordpress was good for publishing content, but it didn’t provide the key collaboration features we needed. We wanted an intranet that could bring teams together based on better search functionality, a complete people and skills directory, shared workspaces for teams, and social tools such as discussion forums for knowledge sharing.”

As an additional requirement, Maxxam wanted to streamline the content management, publication and approvals processes. “In the past, every single document had to come through the communications team before it could be uploaded to WordPress,” says Bork. “We wanted to devolve this function, giving teams ownership of their own content and making them responsible for publishing and maintaining it.”

After evaluating several leading intranet platforms, Maxxam chose to deploy Interact’s intranet technology. “In terms of functionality, Interact took care of 95% of our wish list out of the box, putting it ahead of its competitors and making it very fast and easy to deploy,” says Bork. “With no need for expensive custom development, Interact helped us deploy our new intranet as cost-efficiently as possible.”

“Clients often ask if we have people with specific skills, from toxicity testing to ocean disposal. Now, the fact that the skills database is fully integrated with the People Directory means we can search for skills quickly across the organization, and meet clients’ needs more effectively at the first time of asking.”
Corinna Bork, Director of Communications, Maxxam Analytics

Fast access to skills and resources

Maxxam’s Interact intranet, which is called Catalyst, gives geographically dispersed employees a single point of access to all the resources they need. “Teams can get a wealth of content from our Interact homepage, including links to commonly used systems such as our laboratory management system, HR system, finance system and so on,” says Bork. “They can also access a library of useful documents, including HR forms and procedural documents, regulatory guidelines and more.”

The intranet also provides a comprehensive People Directory that lists the skills of each team member, as well as their contact details. “Clients often ask if we have people with specific skills, from toxicity testing to ultra-trace analysis to oil sands testing,” says Bork. “Now, people can document their individual skills by checking expertise boxes in the Interact People Directory,” she adds. “The fact that the skills database is fully integrated with the People Directory means we can search for skills quickly across the organization, and meet clients’ needs more effectively at the first time of asking.”

With Interact, it’s easy to set security permissions centrally, which means only the HR team can upload content to their area of the Intranet or update content for example. There are clear rules on who gets to update what, which approvals are needed and from whom.
Corinna Bork, Director of Communications, Maxxam Analytics

Enhanced team working

Team sites, discussion forums and blogs on the intranet are helping colleagues in different locations to share experiences and best practices across Maxxam. “If an employee in Montreal discovers a new, more efficient way of doing something, they can now talk about it on Catalyst,” says Bork. “Colleagues in Mississauga or Burnaby can find out what’s working best and consider changing their processes accordingly – it all feeds into improved efficiency and better services for customers.”

Remote teams are also using Interact’s social collaboration tools and team sites to streamline project and program delivery. “The Interact intranet is helping us improve our operations in in a number of ways,” says Bork. “On one team site, the national accounts team is sharing information pertinent to key clients to improve the speed and quality of service delivery. Other team sites are helping us deliver lean management projects, such as projects to enhance procurement and minimize waste.”

If a scientist in Montreal discovers a new, more efficient way of doing something, they can now talk about it on Catalyst. Colleagues in Regina or Burnaby can find out what’s working best and change their processes accordingly – it all feeds into improved efficiency and better services for customers.
Corinna Bork, Director of Communications, Maxxam Analytics

Secure, devolved content management

Interact has enabled Maxxam to devolve content management to content owners across the business. “With Interact, it’s easy to set security permissions centrally, which means only the HR team can upload content to their area of the Intranet or update content for example,” says Bork. “There are clear rules on who gets to update what, which approvals are needed and from whom.”

By enabling devolved content management, centralized security permissions have delivered significant time savings for the central communications team. “My team used to be a bottleneck for content being uploaded to the site, but that’s no longer the case with Interact,” says Bork. “We have freed up a significant amount of time, helping us focus on internal communications that add real value for staff.”

The delegation of content management across Maxxam also helps to ensure that content on Catalyst stays relevant and up to date. “With Interact, we have given teams ownership of their content and made them responsible for updating it, providing all the training they need to look after their area of the site themselves,” says Bork. “Each team has a vested interest in making their content as good as it can be, and they generally do a great job of looking after it.”

Support for real-time communications

The Interact intranet provides a platform for real-time communications across Maxxam. “Our CEO uses Blogging to share strategic information and to promote efficiency and client-service initiatives across the business,” says Bork. “We also have a VP who is a regular blogger, and the culture of blogging is gradually taking hold across the entire company”

Interact’s Analytics tools show that 25% of Maxxam staff were contributing to discussions and blogs on Catalyst just a year after the platform was implemented. “A quarter of all our people are now contributors, whether they are liking or sharing something on the intranet, or making or commenting on a post. This is really impressive considering how many staff are based in labs or work in the field and are not always online.”

The communications team can also disseminate important information across the business more quickly and effectively with Interact. “Sometimes there are changes that employees need to know about quickly and Interact helps with that,” says Bork. “We recently introduced a new expenses form, for example, and we were able to inform staff very quickly using the Catalyst homepage,” she adds. “Before, we would have just sent out an email and hoped for the best.”

A quarter of all our people are now contributors, whether they are liking or sharing something on the intranet, or making or commenting on a post. This is really impressive considering how many staff are based in labs and not always online.
Corinna Bork, Director of Communications, Maxxam Analytics

Continual improvement

Based on user feedback, the Maxxam communications team recently designed a new-look homepage for Catalyst, simplifying content to improve ease of use. “The homepage is now leaner and we’ve taken out some content that was less critical for people,” says Bork. “Teams still have all the tools and links they need to collaborate effectively, but the new, uncluttered format means they can get everything they need even faster.”

With Interact, Maxxam is building a new, more collaborative future one step at a time. “It’s early days, but Interact has already helped us achieve improvements in terms of collaboration and knowledge sharing,” says Bork. “With the number of active contributors on Catalyst increasing every day, we are looking forward to an even more collaborative, innovative, efficient future with Interact.”

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