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By Samantha Fecteau • July 1, 2019

LafargeHolcim: Nurturing Worldwide Collaboration with G Suite

Leading global building materials and solutions company LafargeHolcim has been powering worldwide collaboration with G Suite since 2013. Formed out of the 2015 merger of Lafarge and Holcim, LafargeHolcim employs around 80,000 people in over 80 countries, serving masons, builders, architects and engineers all over the world.

With the goal of unifying all existing communication and collaboration platforms across the company, Holcim successfully delivered Gmail and Google Drive to 45,000 employees across 60 countries in 2013 with the help of Google premier partner Revevol.

Holcim made the decision to move away from Lotus Notes towards a cloud based collaboration solution. It was with the aim to drive innovation and nurture the group-wide “Holcim glue” that the group decided to go Google. In short, the goal was to build a true collaborative environment, worldwide.

The challenge with such an ambitious project resided in transforming Holcim’s business without disrupting day to day activities. This is where Revevol’s methodology came into play, and was indispensable in ensuring a successful G Suite migration with the given project magnitude.

Why go Google?

As Paul Young, now Senior IT Manager in charge of Collaboration and Communications Applications at LafargeHolcim explains, “Holcim used this project as an early test of the power of collaboration. The Google tools gave us the possibility to work together in real time.”

Young explains that Holcim chose G Suite because they were looking for a change in collaboration style, to break away from traditional methods, easily share information, and break down silos. The decision came out of a desire to force a change in behaviours within the global organization and to strengthen collaboration through co-creation as well as knowledge and information sharing. “If we’re moving to the cloud, we need to make sure we have a 'killer app'. That’s what G Suite collaboration provided.”

Not to mention, G Suite offered Holcim an optimal cost value solution, which was a determinant factor. After carefully studying other solutions on the market, the group decided that G Suite provided the right set of tools to create a strong, collaborative environment.

Together, Faster: The biggest ever single Google Apps migration in Europe

While a number of Google partners were approached to support Holcim’s journey to Google and the Cloud, Revevol was highly recommended by Google at the time, and presented the most comprehensive change management program. “Their rich experience, technical expertise and practical migration methodologies were key,” explained Young, to the success of Holcim’s G Suite migration.

Starting with the headquarters in Zurich and continuing with North America, EMEA, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the project proved to be a model of cross-functional, cross-regional collaboration. To ensure that teams felt ready to move to this new environment, Revevol delivered more than 1,500 hours of training in ten languages across five continents.

Along the way, Holcim set the record for the biggest ever single Google Apps migration (with data) in Europe, when they moved over 5,700 employees from Lotus Notes to Gmail in one evening. Revevol migrated a total of 45,000 users worldwide from Lotus Notes to Google.

“Cloud computing and management of global solutions like Google was entirely new for us; Revevol made sure this transition was as easy as possible.”

Revevol helped prepare the entire project, both from a technical point of view and in terms of change management, the latter of which proved particularly invaluable. This consisted of three major parts:

  1. Technical migration of the platform
  2. Change management including user training across all different tools
  3. Post-deployment transformation: ensuring high adoption and proper use of the new tools to complete the company’s digital transformation

Revevol's project management teams were stationed at Holcim's office throughout the build phase with occasional presence in the different regions. The change management team prepared all content upstream of migration, including migration guides, user guides, and training guides. A custom change management program was designed and provided to each region individually, and Revevol worked with Holcim downstream to make sure the regional projects were properly implemented in order to ensure high adoption of the tools.

Zero to completed in just over a year

Revevol shortened the time of migration immensely with development of all training material and knowledge sharing around the migration. Thanks to Revevol, the group went from zero to completed in 15 months for the entirety of the Holcim migration project. “There’s no way we would have accomplished the migration without Revevol”, said Young.

Initially, over 90% of the company was resistant to the change. Revevol managed to convince regional teams of the need for G Suite, to the extent that leaders of Holcim became ambassadors of the project for the rest of the company: “We met a lot of initial resistance to the change management process, but in the end, it was the major success factor.”

“Since then,” Young explained, “the cloud has more than proven its efficiency.” The ease of administration, centralization of information, real time collaboration with tools like docs, sheets and slides, capacity to work from mobile devices and simply move faster and get things done, has become indispensable to the Swiss multinational.

Revevol Change Management: The perfect sparring partner

When Holcim later merged to become LafargeHolcim in 2015, a new record was set: Revevol played a central role in the single biggest Google to Google migration at the time, when roughly 45,000 users were migrated with Google domains feature technology. The cutover was successfully completed in the span of a single weekend.

The group simultaneously decided to implement a new intranet solution, built on a Google environment. The idea was to create a Google site for each country and group function. Revevol developed a shared landing page on App Engine, which was designed to display a customized news feed for each user profile. Company-wide news like product updates and event information were pushed and shared globally, while each country maintained its own intranet.

Throughout the process, Revevol’s Change Management team, Young explained, behaved as a sparring partner for LafargeHolcim, as well as their Communication agency, providing the following:

  • Briefing and support of the Communication agency for announcement videos, banners, and group-wide messages
  • Brainstorming and participation in the social media campaign, including scenario building and co-authoring of messages
  • Building and execution of a landing page and Intranet treasure hunt to help train users in a fun, interactive way
  • Reality check: Making the link between conceptual and technological reality to teach the most effective use cases for the Landing Page and Google Sites

Revevol, our “key providers” for any solution

Paying tribute to the achievements of LafargeHolcim, Google and Revevol, Young remarked, “One of the main reasons for the success of this project was the team cohesion across countries. Revevol’s passion and involvement were really what helped us reach such an ambitious goal.”

Years down the road, everybody at LafargeHolcim still remembers the Revevol team and their intervention pre and post-merger, and considers them an integral part of the project’s success. “Revevol remains one of my key providers if I’m in need of technical support or have a big project involving change management. If we ever want to move to another solution, have an integration, upgrade, or transformation to be done, we’d definitely consider Revevol straight away and include them in the selection process.”