Gartner Report: Atos "No Email" Initiative Provides Valuable Lessons on Driving Big Change Through Social Collaboration

Gartner has published a research note highlighting the key lessons from our Zero email™ program. Describing the program as “a big change effort” in the way 76,000+ employees interact throughout 47 countries, Gartner concludes that a cultural transformation of this kind and magnitude is very rare.

The novelty, scope and disruption of this initiative provoked a significant shift in employee interactions, moving out of email and into social collaboration. The unique experiences and achievements of Atos’ change program to improve employee engagement provide a wealth of valuable information on the practices, investments and results of social collaboration.

In the note, Gartner highlights the challenges IT and business leaders pursuing a large scale collaborative culture transformation face:

  1. Lead by Example
    Driving a big change effort requires unfailing leadership commitment. The leadership commitment required for success needs to be defined and documented. A social collaboration initiative should only be pursued if leadership understands and willingly embraces that responsibility. The larger the change the larger the commitment.

  2. Prepare and Empower
    Explicitly prepare managers and make them responsible for translating the high level social collaboration objectives into terms that resonate with individual employees. To prepare its workers and managers for this major transition Atos invested significantly in communications, recognition and training programs on social collaboration, including a training program dedicated to the 5000+ senior managers and 3500+ ambassadors worldwide.

  3. Plan and Track
    When moving to a culture of social collaboration, build and execute a clear plan on which forms of communication and collaboration to push. Invest in tracking the activity to direct program and management attention in case of lagging engagement.

    Atos purchased the blueKiwi social collaboration platform, which gives control over the technology environment and allowed - through a Process Modification Program – to eliminateauto-generated email from business processes. Over 200 processes were certified email free. The average number of internal emails per mailbox per week dropped from 100/mailbox/week in 2011 to under 40/mailbox/week by end of 2013, ora 60+% reduction. Over 74,000 employees joined the blueKiwi enterprise social network, working together in more than 7446 communities

  4. Recognize and Reward
    Collecting a portfolio of success stories isn’t optional and isn’t trivial. Use a strong portfolio of success stories as the core of a communications campaign to gain attention, reward key participants, educate on what success means, create a vision for how things could be and gain cultural momentum.

    Atos accumulated more than 100 success stories from the 1000s of bottom up collaboration efforts and identified a set of “lighthouse communities” that represent what success looks like to serve as examples for others.

The Atos Zero email™ program, launched in 2011, is a key pillar of the internal Wellbeing@work initiative. Its aim is to transform towards a social, collaborative enterprise where we share knowledge and find experts easily in order to respond to clients’ needs quickly and efficiently, delivering tangible business results. First and foremost this requires a cultural change, learning new behaviours and management styles.

The program was both ambitious and disruptive as it questioned established ways of working and tools, and introduced new technologies and behaviours. Selecting the right technology to support our company wide cultural change was important, in particular learning to use the right tools for the right job: our social business network blueKiwi for collaboration, Sharepoint for document management, Lync for communication, online meetings and chat and finally e-mail for external contacts and formal communications.

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Innovation Team
Global Innovation, Business Development and Strategy
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