4-page Case Study
Posted: 5/12/2010
Rate This Evidence:

Getronics Service Provider Responds to Clients Faster with Social Networking and Co-Authoring

KPN is a major telecommunications and information and communications technology (ICT) provider in the Netherlands. Consultants from its subsidiary, Getronics, are frequently away from their offices, developing solutions at client sites around Europe. To improve knowledge sharing for resolving customer issues and to improve employee satisfaction, KPN and Getronics needed a way for employees to build and maintain internal relationships even when working in different locations. Getronics deployed Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to take advantage of new social-networking and document co-authoring capabilities. With these new solutions in place, the company has reduced the time to co-author consultancy reports and sales proposals by 15 to 20 percent, and employees can find knowledge experts 50 percent faster to resolve client issues more quickly.


KPN, one of the world’s first combined providers of telecommunications and IT services, is a Dutch telecommunications company that serves both business and consumer markets. It offers a range of business services—from voice, Internet, and data to fully managed information and communications technology (ICT) solutions. The KPN subsidiary, Getronics, designs, integrates, and manages ICT systems and applications for many global and local organizations. KPN has approximately 36,000 employees worldwide, including 13,000 employees of the fully owned subsidiary Getronics. With so many employees around the world, like many large companies, KPN and Getronics had difficulty connecting different teams and people in real time.

* Our clients rely on us to keep their ICT solutions up and running so that they have peace of mind. The capabilities in Office 2010 give us the tools we need to make sure that happens. *

Coen Olde Olthof
Vice President Marketing, Alliances, Portfolio, and Strategy, Getronics

In 2006, Getronics successfully deployed an employee productivity infrastructure made up of Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. This communication and collaboration infrastructure enabled document sharing and employee communication across the enterprise, but the company wanted to take it a step further in two main areas.

First, Getronics has more than 1,500 consultants who spend most of their time at client sites around Europe. When clients have difficult requests or questions, consultants often struggle to locate experts within the company to help them find answers because everyone is geographically dispersed. Kevin Reeuwijk, Principal Technical Consultant at Getronics Consulting, says, “Our consultants were having trouble connecting to their peers. They had no trouble building strong bonds with clients, but they were not building deep relationships with other Getronics consultants in the company. This had a negative impact on employee satisfaction as well.”

To meet this challenge, Getronics sought to improve internal knowledge sharing and collaboration to ensure that its consultants work better together to reduce the time it takes to respond to client requests. Getronics also wanted an internal networking solution that would integrate social-networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, as well as in-house My Sites (a feature of SharePoint Server), so consultants could quickly learn more about each other’s skill sets and build relationships. “Over 80 percent of Getronics employees use LinkedIn for professional networking both inside and outside of the company,” states Andries den Haan, Senior Technical Consultant at Getronics Consulting.

Second, the Sales division at Getronics spends significant time responding to client requests for information (RFI) and bid documents. The basic RFI response takes a team of three to six employees an average of two weeks to develop. The typical response document includes independent sections focused on different technologies and services, so team members can divide the work and only work on their respective sections. “RFI response managers must coordinate this effort and consolidate the sections from each team member, an effort that often forces them to work into the late hours of the night,” says Harald den Houter, Principal Technical Consultant at Getronics.

After consolidation of the initial draft, the RFI response manager sends e-mail messages, with the RFI response attached, to the team for final review. Team members send their comments back to the manager, who again consolidates all the changes. During this process, comments are sometimes lost or minor formatting errors creep into the final draft. den Houter says, “I can think of two cases where we lost the bid because of minor mistakes that we didn’t catch because of the difficulty of consolidating all the inputs from the team.” Getronics needed a solution that would streamline the review cycle and help ensure that input from the team would not be lost in the process.

As part of a continuing commitment to provide technology that makes it easier for employees to work together, and to improve employee productivity, KPN and its subsidiary Getronics embarked on an organization-wide initiative called a “New Way of Working.” For KPN and Getronics, the New Way of Working initiative enables employees to choose for themselves where, when, and how they work and cooperate. As part of this initiative, KPN and Getronics, decided to participate in early adopter programs for Microsoft Office 2010. In November 2009, employees from KPN and Getronics began upgrading from Microsoft Office 2007 to take advantage of the improved communications and collaboration capabilities of Office 2010, combined with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. By May 2010, KPN and Getronics deployed Office 2010 to approximately 650 employees. Plans are in place to deploy Office 2010 to the rest of the 36,000 users.

Figure 1. Outlook Social Connector: Information from LinkedIn is shown in the People Pane.
Figure 1. Outlook Social Connector: Information from LinkedIn is shown
in the People Pane of Outlook 2010.
Social Networking

To solve the problems that its consultants had with building a network, Getronics has now provided a vehicle for professional social interaction that employees can use to leverage their collective knowledge and stay in touch with each other. As part of this solution, Getronics is deploying the Microsoft Outlook 2010 messaging and collaboration client to take advantage of the Outlook Social Connector feature that automatically appears below the reading pane in Outlook 2010. With the predefined connectors, Getronics has connected Outlook 2010 to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint My Sites, and the Active Directory service. Through one centralized view in Outlook 2010, consultants can access up-to-date information, including everything from e-mail threads to status updates from colleagues in their networks.

“Now, consultants can stay up-to-date with their professional connections—all from within Outlook 2010,” adds den Haan. “By staying in touch through professional networks like LinkedIn, our consultants will feel more connected to the home office and this will help increase employee satisfaction. As consultants start to share information like what they are currently working on, or a question they are hearing from customers, their colleagues will be able to respond, just as if they were chatting in the break room in the home office. With Outlook 2010, we can provide the professional social networking that is critical for our employee growth and satisfaction.”

Also in Outlook 2010, when viewing a message with multiple recipients, employees can see a photo for each person at the top of the People Pane (Figure 1). By clicking a photo, consultants can quickly view more information about a coworker, such as communication history or status updates. In addition, employees can click a contact’s name to display a quick view of related Outlook content, such as recent e-mail conversations, meetings, and shared documents.

With SharePoint Server 2010, Getronics is implementing a Wiki solution where consultants across the company will be able to search for best practices from experts on a particular subject and add information and lessons learned from other projects. Knowledge experts can now edit SharePoint team sites and see a live preview of the changes made to the team site with a wiki-like experience. Editing the content on a page is as simple as clicking the edit tab and typing on the page. It also is easier to insert images, SharePoint lists, and Web parts into the team site.

Co-Authoring for Request for Information Responses
Using co-authoring in Microsoft Word 2010, enabled by SharePoint Server 2010, Getronics can transform how its Sales and Marketing division responds to RFIs. Several sales personnel can now work simultaneously on an RFI response document assembled in Word 2010, eliminating the need for someone to consolidate all the different versions.

With Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2, RFI response team members can also view presence information within the Word 2010 document to see who else is editing a document. By using the presence indicators, they can communicate instantly with available team members from within Word 2010 documents.

* I don’t have to be at the office or be connected to the Internet to edit documents anymore. I can make my changes offline from wherever I am, and the changes are synchronized next time I connect. *

Kevin Reeuwijk
Principal Technical Consultant, Getronics Consulting

Also, with Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010, an Office application that enables users to take SharePoint Server 2010 documents and lists offline and seamlessly synchronize them back to a SharePoint site, employees can access and edit RFI responses offline, no matter where they are. RFI response team members can check out the content and lock the document for editing with a click on the Ribbon, which helps avoid editing conflicts with others who might be working on the same document. SharePoint Workspace provides document-locking capability with just a click on the Ribbon. Reeuwijk explains, “I don’t have to be at the office or be connected to the Internet to edit documents anymore. I can make my changes offline from wherever I am, and the changes are synchronized next time I connect.” With offline access to SharePoint documents, RFI managers can reduce the time it takes to consolidate the document, which will reduce errors that arise due to version control issues.

With Office 2010, Getronics employees will stay connected to their colleagues and quickly find the answers to the customer requests even when they are away from the office. Also, responses to client RFIs will be assembled more quickly and there will be less chance of errors in the final document.

“As part of the ongoing development of our global IT infrastructure, Getronics invests in the innovative SharePoint platform to facilitate collaboration, social ‘person to person’ communication, and search functionality throughout the enterprise.” explains Paul Slot, CIO of KPN Getronics. “Together with the unique features of the full Office 2010 suites, such as co-authoring and social media capabilities, we see big benefits by enabling our workforce to generate more and better business results.”

With the upgrade to Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, the KPN subsidiary, Getronics, expects to improve its consultants’ ability to work together to better serve clients as a dispersed workforce. Early adopters are already experiencing improved productivity and increased responsiveness to client requests.

Resolves Client Problems Faster
Consultants are benefiting by using the embedded social-networking capabilities through the Outlook Social Connector. “Getronics consultants are able to improve the time it takes to find a knowledge expert to assist with a client issue by 50 percent,” says Reeuwijk. Previously, consultants would have to call or send an e-mail message to everyone on their contact list just to find the right resource. “We expect the time savings to increase as employees use the Outlook Social Connector as a networking tool. Employees can build a network of experts quickly, and then connect with them at the click of the mouse,” den Haan says.

* We expect to save two or three days—or 15 to 20 percent—on average in the RFI response development process. *

Harald den Houter
Principal Technical Consultant, Getronics

Getronics uses Office 2010 to resolve client problems faster as it continues to deploy consultants to new clients and existing clients around the world. “Our clients rely on us to keep their ICT solutions up and running so that they have peace of mind. The capabilities in Office 2010 give us the tools we need to make sure that happens,” explains Coen Olde Olthof, Vice President, Marketing, Alliances, Portfolio, and Strategy at Getronics.

Improves Responsiveness to Client Requests for Information
Co-authoring will reduce the time it takes RFI response managers to consolidate and gather team members’ input on response documents. “With the collaborative nature of co-authoring, the teams will be able to interact earlier in the process to provide better responses to the RFIs,” says den Houter.

Getronics anticipates that employees will save several days in the sales cycle by using the co-authoring capabilities in Office 2010. “We expect to save two or three days—or 15 to 20 percent—on average in the RFI response development process. And just as importantly, we can reduce minor mistakes because we no longer have to copy comments and changes from multiple documents,” says den Houter. This reduction in the sales cycle will help Getronics be more responsive to client RFIs. Getronics will be able to complete more proposals in a shorter period and will support revenue growth.

Improves Employee Satisfaction
Through the new social-networking features in Office 2010, Getronics expects to increase overall employee satisfaction by building better relationships between coworkers. With access to more professional and social information about each employee, interaction among peers will increase, no matter where they are physically located.

With the upgrade to Office 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010, KPN and its subsidiary, Getronics, expects to support their New Way of Working initiative by building upon its collaborative enterprise and helping employees to work together to better respond to client needs.

Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 gives your people powerful, timesaving tools to do their best work from more places. With new capabilities and insightful updates to Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook, Office 2010 offers the complete package—with familiar, intuitive tools. Now you can express ideas, solve problems, connect with people, and create amazing results—in the office, at home, or on the go.

For more information about Microsoft Office, go to:

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

For more information about KPN and Getronics products and services visit the Web site at:
www.kpn.com or www.getronics.com
Solution Overview

Organization Size: 13000 employees

Organization Profile

Netherlands-based KPN is a telecommunications and ICT service provider. Its subsidiary, Getronics, designs, integrates, and manages ICT systems and applications for many global and local organizations.

Business Situation

KPN and Getronics wanted to improve professional networking among its employees, reduce the time it takes to develop proposals, and improve the proposal development process.


KPN and Getronics deployed Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 to improve professional networking opportunities and to enhance sales performance and employee productivity.

  • Resolves client problems faster
  • Improves client responsiveness
  • Improves employee satisfaction

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Suites
  • Microsoft Word 2010
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
  • Microsoft Sharepoint Workspace 2010
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010

Vertical Industries