Wärtsilä transforms employee success for 18,000 people with Contentful
Geographic barriers strained team collaboration and project visibility
Non-technical team members were hesitant about using a content platform
Large volumes of content created organization and maintenance concerns
Team members can share projects and updates in their preferred formats
An intuitive user interface make content creation easy for all users
A headless CMS make storing, structuring and reusing content simple
“Using Contentful has really shown our content creators, business owners and other stakeholders, how quickly we can create and publish content. The simple act of being able to create content and have it live in just a few moments makes a difference.”
“We've been able to develop content models and user interfaces that work for many purposes. This has been crucial. Now we don't have to spend our time developing new content models and solutions. We can focus our efforts effectively on projects that are more value-giving.”
“We've been innovating since 1834. That's really at the heart of everything that we do; that's what we live and breathe.”
Founded in 1834, Finnish marine and energy company, Wärtsilä, has been operating for longer than some countries have existed. The company has shaped the energy market in many ways, evolving to meet changing industries and customer demands. Today, Wärtsilä's mission is to enable sustainable societies with smart technology — they're working towards a zero-emissions society. A huge part of their success is their willingness to embrace innovation. "We've been innovating since 1834. That's really at the heart of everything that we do; that's what we live and breathe," said Ansku Rönnqvist, Platform Lead at Wärtsilä. So, when it came time to reposition their content strategy, it made sense for them to embrace a complete digital transformation. The goal was to adopt new ways of working, new technologies, improve departmental collaboration and make open innovation a mindset.
Driving collaboration and visibility with a storytelling app
Two years into their transformation, Wärtsilä looked to Contentful to further develop their new product, the WeLeap app. Created by a startup within the larger company, WeLeap is a platform that speeds up cultural transformation through gamification and storytelling. At its heart, WeLeap enables people from all corners of the company to share what they do. They might be testing a new renewable fuel, building an intriguing sales pitch or doing something else altogether. The platform allows all 18,000 Wärtsilä employees to create and consume content. In other words, with WeLeap, everyone becomes a content creator. Employees can get familiar with new tools, discover intuitive ways of working and embrace innovating at their own pace, from anywhere at any time.
The volume of content employees could produce within the app was instrumental to its success — it also created a major challenge for Wärtsilä to solve. So much content demanded structure and organization. With Wärtsilä empowering everyone in the company to create content, they needed a way to manage and collate app content effectively.
Content first, technology second
During the early stages of app development, Wärtsilä team members learned an important lesson — that content was WeLeap’s product. After digging deep into what they were trying to achieve, it became clear that the WeLeap platform wasn't the end goal, it was simply a platform to extract, collect and share the content that was imagined, typed and published by each team member. Wärtsilä came to accept that content would be the priority and the technology solution in question would need to fit it, not the other way around.
Contentful provided Wärtsilä’s the functionality they needed while allowing employee content to remain the center of attention. During integration, the Wärtsilä team found that Contentful fit with their existing systems and tools. Soon, according to NPS and user star ratings, Wärtsilians preferred Contentful over their old content systems because of its consistent experience.
The CMS’s content models gave app developers the flexibility to shape each piece of content based on the storyline business owners or the creator wanted to convey. Both creatives and developers could mix-and-match content pieces to curate editorials or more expansive learning paths. Contentful transformed WeLeap from a content warehouse to a scalable storytelling platform.
No matter how cool the tool, it only matters if people use it
Wärtsilä created WeLeap to empower content creation. “We're talking about content that is aiming to transform, to change behaviors, to ignite the spark of knowing more and more about what we do here at Wärtsilä,” says Esteban Solis, the app’s lead UX designer. For the platform to succeed, everyone from engineers to HR personnel needed to feel comfortable using it. It was integral that the creation and publishing processes were collaborative, user-centric and inviting.
To achieve this, the team at Wärtsilä researched how content is consumed. Contentful helped Wärtsilä's content creators discover how quick and easy it is to create and publish content. The team saw improvements in workflow and team collaboration — their throughput doubled once they had adapted to Contentful. This realization was a surprise at first — Wärtsiliäns weren't used to content going live so quickly. They could create all types of content, including videos, podcasts, infographics and pitch decks, without jumping between platforms. They could tell the story they wanted to tell without limitations common with other technology. Wärtsilä creators also enjoyed that their content was reusable. Creators could pick and choose existing content and manipulate it into something new. Wärtsilä found that Contentful helped streamline collaborative processes while still allowing creators to work at their own pace.
Since integrating Contentful, WeLeap users have created over 50,000 micro-lessons. With a team of 18,000 people, that's more than two completions per person. Considering a good chunk of Wärtsilians don't use a computer on the job, this is an impressive number.
With such considerable amounts of content comes issues of consistency. For WeLeap, this problem never arose as Contentful’s framework and structure maintain coherency and harmony across the app. Wärtsilä can keep track of tools and service documentation in one repository, meaning there's no contradictory or conflicting information floating around — something tool developers deeply appreciate.
Repurposing content for a brand new app
Once WeLeap was up and running, the immediate question was: what's next? Contentful's scalability meant the app could expand and grow. WeLeap developers turned their attention towards Wärtsilä HR services. The team went on to create MyHR, a one-stopshop for all HR processes including onboarding and learning opportunities. Developers were able to populate their new environment with the same content created for WeLeap. Following its launch, MyHR attracted 2,000 daily users.