Russian steel producer Severstal has deployed Microsoft Teams to enable remote collaboration, while improving security and communication between employees.
After beginning the task of transforming its internal communication with the introduction of Yammer, Severstal decided in 2018 that it needed an integrated communication and collaboration hub to connect its distributed workforce.
“What sparked the change was overall external instability, namely the threat of our local messenger service shutting down, cybersecurity risks, and the lack of a robust, collaborative tool within the company,” said Sergey Dunaev, chief information officer at Severstal. “Only 1,000 of our more than 50,000 employees are in Moscow. We needed a way to connect everyone.”
The manufacturer decided to implement Microsoft Teams. An in-depth security study and dialogue with Microsoft led to the creation of a multi-level system of protection and control and to the decision to make Teams a corporate standard for communications. And with Covid-19 affecting workplaces worldwide, Severstal needed adoption to be fast. In just under three weeks, the firm had 7,400 people working remotely.
“With Teams, there are tremendous opportunities to organise new ways of working,” said Maria Lorman, head of the SAP project management office at Severstal. “Information is stored in a more structured way, and a culture of group chats has blossomed. Our teams are more independent and productive. By combining Yammer and Teams, we can see from the tags if a certain topic exists, so we know who to turn to for expertise.”
Severstal has also created an internal initiative – the Digital Steel programme – to train employees to work with digital tools. Microsoft helped improve the programme’s content using Severstal’s own technology stack, making it more intuitive for users. “People are connecting, writing comments, voting, posting polls, learning how to use tabs and chats,” said Dunaev. “My staff gain new digital skills every day.”
By June 2020, the firm had successfully implemented Teams on 14,000 workstations, reaching 19,000 by the end of the year. Severstal aims to expand the use of Teams throughout the company, incorporating self-service applications, communication chatbots and an automated knowledge base.