Intranet 2.0 case study: Oce

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

(UTRECHT, NETHERLANDS) Océ has 21,500 employees worldwide in 90 countries with annual revenue of 2.6 billion Euros. Océ’s business is document printing, production printing, wide format printing systems and business services (in short, they’re in the printing business). Oce is a dominant, global multinational in the printing business, with a widely dispersed employee population.

Oce intranet blogs home page mar 2010

Oce intranet blogs home page mar 2010


OcГ© faced a severe decline in sales, starting in the USA from September 2008; the first layoffs hit in Q1 2008. OcГ© lost more than 500 million in revenue since the start of the recession / financial crisis. Subsequently, the intranet budget declined from 350,000 Euros to only 5,000.


How to reach everyone in all the countries (in light of the decline and the lack of budget)?


The intranet is primarily built on a shoestring budget and powered on the old Microsoft CMS product. Rather than build a new intranet, the Océ team of Jan van Veen, Manager Internal Communications, and Samuel Driessen, the intranet’s Information Architect, rolled-out social media tools, and an enhanced corporate news service on the existing home page.


  • Open source – no budget, use free / open-source software solutions

  • Improved news service – from 1-2 stories a day to 10 or more

  • Rumorbuster – common Q&As posted to the intranet

  • Wikis – one platform on for R&D; one focused on corporate information

  • Blogging – 30–40 blogs (very few personal blogs; most are shared/dept. blogs)

  • Idea Management – blog soliciting ideas for saving the company money

  • Microblogging – using Yammer; use growing dramatically

  • Social bookmarking – employees are learning to share bookmarks instead of circulating emails with links

  • Oce TV – spent the budget on a camera and editing software & started making short films

Money Making

A blog called Money Making solicits employee ideas and recommendations for cost savings / saving money at Oce. The blog has thus far generated 60+ ideas; one idea was implemented and saved around 400,000 Euros. Sadly though, Oce doesn’t continue to promote use or encourage ideas and the blog has since fallen into decline (no change management = no use).


“Wikis are here to stay,” says Driessen, Océ ’s Information Architect. “What we’re finding out is that wikis are great for process information (e.g. business processes and working methods; typical encyclopedic knowledge). Wikis are being used to collect information, refine processes, and re-engineer our work (processes).”

Lessons learned

  • Money is not the issue (all tools built on open source)

  • Organization is the issue!

  • You can start bottom-up

  • Consumerization of IT

  • Cross-functional approach (Communications & IM)

  • Where do I share and store my info?

  • Information Architecture

  • Did we teach people to be a knowledge worker?

  • Culture > Ask questions

  • Social Media Guidelines

  • Security

  • Social media lab

Also of note

Language: Does Océ have any language barriers in a global organization? “No we don’t,” says van Veen, who leads Internal Communications, mostly executed in US English (though some Spanish and Italian groups have their own communities).

Guidelines: policies for internal and external social media guidelines. In short they say, “Be smart,” says Driessen. “In other words, we trust you… until we can’t trust you anymore (then you’re out).” Our main goal, says van Veen: “Is not to police them (employees), but to protect them.”

Blogs: OcГ© blogs are product focused, and largely for silo-based communications (internal department communications).

Microblogging: Yammer is used principally for cross-departmental sharing: ideas, projects, feedback, etc.

Follow me on Twitter

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn


  1. Anonymous

    Hello Toby!
    The plus of free solutions is that they are free. But are you sure that they are more appropriate for big companies than commercial solutions? Don't you think that commercial solutions are more reliable?
    Why not to try to find commercial software with all necessary tools at a reasonable price?

  2. Anonymous

    Let me be perfectly clear: I don't endorse open-source software; similarly, I don't endorse commercial products either. What works well in one organization, will not work in another (necessarily). And open-source is only as good as the people implementing / managing it. Success is only one part technology, and two parts people and process. For most I would never recommend open-source… but I wouldn't recommend SharePoint for most either. However, there are 1000s of solutions to chose from…. know your needs, know your business needs, know your employee needs… then worry about the solution based on those criteria.

  3. Anonymous

    Yes, Toby, you're absolutely right. By the way, there are good alternatives to SharePoint.

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Toby,
    I'm a communication consultant and writer based in Australia, and I've been commissioned by the UK-based Ark Group to write a report on strategic internal communication, particularly focusing on technology. The report is done, but Ark have asked me to chase up more international case studies. This one is fantastic. I'm seeking permission to reproduce it in the report, fully credited to you of course. If you want more background, the report is an update of a publication originally released in 2008 – more details at You can find out more about me at
    I'd love it if we could use your piece – please let me know how that sits with you.
    Kind regards,
    Neryl East

  5. Anonymous

    Hi Neryl,
    I am the Manager Internal Communications at OcГ©. Should you want more background on this case, please contact me via

  6. haiyan

    If you are planning to deploy an Intranet, check out SharePoint implementeds product. It basically runs on SharePoint Foundation ( free version ) so you dont have any licensing costs but yet get all the power of sharepoint and can always upgrade later to a pid version.

    SPI provides a fully functional Intranet for as low as $5000. This is a great deal as they include the installation, configuration and training as part of their package. They have adderssed many gaps in sharepoint to truly create a great looking and a functional Intranet.

    You can get more details at