VDW, headquartered in Munich, turned to Pokeshot///SMZ for social software consulting and technology support when it decided to implement a social intranet for its more than 250 staff members. Its new employee portal VDW Engage was launched in October 2013 leveraging the power of Jive Cloud.


VDW is the only manufacturer worldwide to specialize exclusively in products and services for endodontics (root canal treatment). This has helped VDW attain a leading position in the market, allowing the company to focus strongly on quality and innovation and thus maintain its competitive edge into the future

To ensure that it is well equipped to meet the challenges of tomorrow, VDW realized how crucial it was to develop and better exploit its internal processes, improvement opportunities and innovation potential. For VDW and its General Manager Dr. Matthias Kühner, the key objective was to find solutions that would help facilitate internal communications and collaboration among employees. These considerations prompted VDW to begin exploring the topic of social business about a year ago.

Once the initial requirements and use cases had been identified and defined, the search began for a suitable solution. Jive and IBM Connections made the short list. At the end of the evaluation process, VDW opted to go with Jive as a result of feedback from employees who participated in a pilot project with the various solutions. The decisive factors were the usability and practicality of Jive. It was also important for VDW to have a cloud solution that offered flexible expansion options. With SmarterPath, the social learning management tool developed by Pokeshot///SMZ, VDW found just such a solution. SmarterPath plays a major role in the new social intranet – it enables VDW to upgrade employee onboarding, carry out training programs and accelerate partner enablement. The social learning management system can be integrated directly in the Jive platform, which was one of the big pluses of choosing Jive.

After VDW decided to use Jive, VDW looked to Pokeshot///SMZ to help it implement the Jive-powered social intranet portal. VDW required that one provider be able to perform all support services – from implementation consulting to product delivery and set-up to technical assistance.

In order to quickly get employees working with the new tool and achieve the first results, it was important to take a pragmatic approach to implementation. Together, VDW and Pokeshot///SMZ developed a project framework that would enable Jive to be set up within six weeks.

During the implementation phase, special introductory sessions were held with key users and concept and execution workshops were carried out for the individual use cases. Pokeshot///SMZ also configured and customized Jive to fit VDW’s own specific requirements. A fast, trouble-free roll-out was made possible by taking advantage of Jive Cloud’s flexibility; however, individual settings and adjustments could still be implemented.

The backing and support of VDW’s management were vital to successfully making Jive the primary platform for employee collaboration and communications. The active participation of the management team at meeting and workshops enabled swift decision-making and fast action on key issues. What’s more, management’s close involvement throughout the roll-out process made clear the new social intranet’s importance within the company.

VDW also made certain that specific change management and communications measures accompanied the introduction of Jive, which were also a key factor to the roll-out’s success. The new social intranet was launched mid-October with a central kick-off event and a video message from the General Manager Dr. Matthias Kühner. Additional communications and roll out activities are being implemented to encourage and help employees take their first steps on the intranet portal. These activities will also prove valuable in transforming the Jive platform into a sustainable employee community.

VDW saw quick results in day-to-day operations because of an adoption and activation strategy that called for use cases supporting the different departments and their employees with everyday work to be executed at the very start. Usage statistics and feedback from employees and management show that the new intranet is achieving the desired objectives – streamlined processes and workflow, increased collaboration and flexible communications.

Pokeshot///SMZ’s consulting specialist Christoph Rauhut and product expert Nils Heuer have provided VDW support throughout the entire Jive roll-out process and with follow-up activities. Results achieved so far will be monitored against the VDW’s objectives and expectations in forthcoming review workshops. These sessions will also be used to identify new use cases and devise optimization strategies, with the goal of expanding the social intranet’s impact and effectiveness.

Pokeshot///SMZ’s team wishes VDW and all of its staff continued success and looks forward to providing further advice and assistance in the future.