With 30 per cent more staff expected to join the company in the next few years, speciality chemicals firm Johnson Matthey needed to update its collaboration tools to help employees share knowledge effectively. A customised, user-friendly Microsoft
SharePoint solution called myJM has been rapidly adopted by staff, with 70,000 colleague connections made within six months. The company is delighted that myJM has already increased the ability to innovate.
Johnson Matthey is an international chemicals company established in London around 200 years ago. Its products are sold in more than 30 countries and, in spite of the current economic climate, the firm has experienced significant growth. Currently, four
global divisions deal with different products for the manufacturing sector and Johnson Matthey is now expanding its operations into China, Eastern Europe, and South America.
Technology plays a major part in the company’s strategy to deliver long-term growth to its shareholders. Paul Axworthy, IT Director, Johnson Matthey, says: “One of our goals for myJM is to help boost earnings per share so that our investment can demonstrate
a tangible financial return.” One of the steps to achieving growth is shortening the time it takes staff to conduct successful research and development. Until recently, this has often been a slow process because individuals are closely focused on their specialist
subject matters, and information was locked into specific systems or tied up with one individual. Although scientists need to protect information, Johnson Matthey wanted to establish a good balance between security and the requirement for better collaboration.
With the prospect of up to 30 per cent more staff joining the company in the next few years, Johnson Matthey was keen to remove potential barriers to innovation. “Today’s graduate scientists are used to sharing and discovering information using Internet-based
technologies. They want to work for organisations that use these technologies, so to attract the best new graduates it’s important we can meet their expectations,” says Axworthy. With increased collaboration, the company can more rapidly develop new products
and solutions for customers.
Johnson Matthey enlisted Content and Code, a Microsoft Gold Partner in Collaboration and Content, to deliver a new intranet based on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. Axworthy says: “Microsoft SharePoint was an easy choice for us. It had the features we
wanted, such as enterprise search, and gave us the flexibility to tailor functionality to our needs.”
Named myJM, the solution is customised to reflect the unique Johnson Matthey brand and research environment. It delivers rich collaboration features, such as instant messaging, blogging tools, and enterprise search. Pages are laid out in a panel display
with one-click access, and staff can customise their myJM pages to suit their needs. For example, users can display the links that are most useful and relevant to them on their first page, and put less important links on a separate screen.
From myJM, employees can view news feeds and announcements, conduct searches, and publish their own blogs. They can share documents and research insights, and look for specialist colleagues at the firm’s offices around the world. Integration with Active
Directory provides role-based security, giving scientists the confidence that data is shared only with appropriate people within the organisation. When staff need to ask questions about myJM, they can click on the Dr Jim superhero icon, which provides support
and answers questions.
Around 1,800 research and development staff now use myJM. The aim is to deploy the solution to 10,500 users by the end of 2013. In the meantime, Content and Code and Johnson Matthey are providing extensive user training and working on the transition of administrative
responsibility to the company’s IT team. Future customisation will include providing a way for trusted partners and customers to collaborate with the company through the myJM portal.
With myJM, Johnson Matthey has achieved its goals of providing both established scientists and new graduates with secure, flexible tools for collaboration. The dynamic solution is being rapidly adopted, with the result that collaboration and research productivity
have improved significantly in the six months since deployment.
• User adoption is high. Since November 2012, more than 70,000 colleague connections have been made on myJM. Even in the early months, take-up of the site was strong, with hundreds of team and project sites being used daily.
• Collaboration is improved. Axworthy says: “The biggest benefit is that we’re creating a more interconnected and collaborative community within Johnson Matthey.” For example, a Principal Information Scientist’s blog included
the query about whether anybody in the company had experience of reel-to-reel coating. A Senior Principal Scientist who read the blog was quick to post a comment pointing him in the direction of the team behind the E+ Ethylene Scavenger project. This demonstrates
the way in which staff are making better use of internal resources to speed up development.
• Working environment is enhanced. The sharing of information and ideas is also creating a more dynamic workplace. For example, a Process Technology Manager wrote a blog about flexible working that was picked up by a manager
looking at a similar initiative for the company’s analytical team.
• Problem solving is boosted by cross-company collaboration. New graduates and starters can build relationships with experienced scientists more quickly, reducing the time it takes to develop professional skills and expertise.
“A great example of this is when a Research Scientist blogged about glass types. The information provided a Senior Research Chemist with a useful solution for fixing glass to glass using glue. And when a Senior Scientist was looking for a chromatography pilot
plant supplier, he turned to myJM and got invaluable suggestions from specialists in another team. These things make problem solving faster,” says Axworthy.
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