Exchange and networking for full-time and voluntary staff

Customer stories | Diocese of Würzburg

  • intranet
Bistum Würzburg

For the first time full-time and voluntary staff of the Diocese of Würzburg make use of a joint platform for information exchange and cooperation. On the social intranet it is not only possible to find required forms more quickly and easily. Staff of all age groups have an opportunity to start topic-oriented exchanges, to network with one another and, thus, to tackle tasks with one central tool.


The old situation

2,500 full-time employees and several thousand volunteers in scattered parishes require a protected platform for exchange, cooperation, and information. The “Employee Information System” – a static information and download platform without interaction – that has been in use for almost 15 years is to be replaced.

The solution

Fellow Digital's intranet (formerly called Viadesk) connects full-time and voluntary staff. Information and files can be found more easily via full-text search and can be downloaded at any time. Updating of the files is simplified. Additional social functions of the intranet provide all participants with a reliable platform for business exchanges.

The result

  • networking of full-time and voluntary staff of all parishes

  • access rights can be assigned flexibly and reliably

  • finding documents faster

  • secure exchange on a protected platform

  • overview of current topics and knowledge database

  • exchange groups for churches and parishes

Collaboration platform for full-time and voluntary staff

The range of age groups and fields of activity in the Diocese of Würzburg is, in comparison to other organizations, surely remarkable. The heterogeneous structure extends from the juvenile ministrants to the still active retired priest, from the full-time clerk to the honorary church administrator.

With a new collaboration platform, the bishopric is deliberately setting a sign: full-time and voluntary staff of any age can cooperate in one single system here. In this case, the intention is to strengthen voluntary work by information and integration and at the same time to also overcome the internal communication barriers. That is something quite special, particularly in the ecclesiastical context: the Diocese of Würzburg is one of the pioneers in this area. Social media have become indispensible for many target groups in the digital age, especially if you would like to reach the volunteers and support youth work. “The honorary office is the most important pillar that we have,“ says Michael Röder, Project Manager for the Intranet of the diocese “MIT – Mitarbeiterinformation und Teamarbeit“ (Employee Information and Teamwork).

Social Intranet – new territory for the bishopric

After the Diocese of Würzburg had worked with a static information and download platform for almost 15 years, the aim was clear: a modern all-in-one package for cooperation. The functional scope in this case was to comprise an equivalent to a number of common tools, including, among other things, social networks, chats, surveys, exchange platforms, and cloud services. Products that comprise these tools have already become established in the market and hence the decision was quickly taken not to have any customized programming done. Nevertheless, it was a special concern of the Diocese of Würzburg that the direct exchange between the intranet supplier and the bishopric is ensured and that there is a personal contact person for this.

The Fellow Intranet was one of the few software solutions to meet more than 80 % of the internal requirements and it was then tested extensively in a pilot project. The Fellow environment was assessed overwhelmingly positively by the test users. The particular user-friendliness hence became the decisive point for selecting the system. Only a few weeks after the decision in favor of Fellow Digitals, the bishopric’s platform “MIT – Mitarbeiterinformation und Teamarbeit“ (Employee Information and Teamwork) was ready for operation.

Getting away from the download platform

An important advantage of the new platform for the Diocese of Würzburg surely is the search function. As documents continue to be offered for download, the new social intranet initially remains still very form-based. The full-text search within the Fellow intranet, however, makes it possible for employees to find the desired documents considerably faster, as not only the title but also contents of the files can be searched through.

The groups within the bishopric platform “Mitarbeiterinformation und Teamarbeit“ (Employee Information and Teamwork), moreover, serve the purpose of the exchange of information. For example, via the social intranet important announcements and news all around the bishopric are made known in a closed framework. With that, the functional scope is, however, not yet exhausted. Gradually the full-time and voluntary employees are discovering the social functions and using the opportunities for responses to posts as well as further features for cooperation.

At the same time, different departments and project teams can, via new groups, create their own digital communication spaces and hence also present themselves internally in a new way. Smaller parishes of the overall bishopric also make use of the groups on the social intranet for networking; when doing so they apply to the administrators for the creation of a group of their own. By means of practical group templates, approved groups can be made available quickly. These can, depending on the topic and the demand, be opened to all social intranet members (public group) or, however, be made available for a certain user group only (private group).

The Project Manager for the Intranet of the Diocese, Michael Röder, sums it up:

For us, the Fellow intranet is the protected business platform that provides us, at a low threshold level, with modern opportunities for communication and collaboration.

Michael Röder, project manager

Annika Willers

Manager Internal Communication

Annika Willers

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