Maximizing Employee Value at Škoda Auto
4 Min Read

Maximizing Employee Value at Škoda Auto

The Škoda Employee Portal serves more than 40,000 people with the aim of providing maximum value to its customers.
Maximizing Employee Value at Škoda Auto.jpg

Škoda Auto, the Czech carmaker was founded in 1895, when it started making bicycles under the Laurin & Klement brand (named after its founders Václav Laurin and Václav Klement). Their first car was produced in 1905. In 1991, Škoda Auto became a part of the renowned Volkswagen Group. Since then, the car manufacturer from Mladá Boleslav has developed from a regional market leader into a dynamically growing global player that is active in more than 100 markets worldwide. Škoda celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2020, making it one of the oldest companies in the industry.

We had the opportunity to talk to Martin Šedivý, Product Portfolio Owner at Škoda Auto. He is mainly responsible for the Škoda Space Employee Portal, which is used by more than 40,000 people. In his role, Martin Šedivý acts like an entrepreneur within Škoda, bringing together different stakeholders, gathering information, defining needs, developing a vision, and finally implementing it – all to provide maximum value to customers.

Q: What projects has Škoda implemented with Liferay?

Martin: Škoda has implemented 2 projects with Liferay. First, the Škoda Space Employee Portal. Secondly, a platform for a more effective creation of public, non-profit Škoda websites.

The Škoda Space Employee Portal serves more than 40,000 people, from factory workers to office specialists in various fields to top managers. To fulfill its purpose, it needs to functionally merge dozens of integrations, hundreds of applications, and thousands of information pages, as well as corporate communications. We managed the project in an agile way – one of the first times at Škoda –, relying on local hardware solutions for security and integration reasons.

The public non-profit websites project emerged from a situation where the websites of Škoda Museum, Škoda Polyclinic, and Škoda Vocational School needed to move to new platforms due to a functional redesign. We thought ahead and instead of a simple migration of the three websites, we launched an initiative to build a platform that would allow new websites to be launched quickly (weeks instead of years) and following Škoda rules (security, authentication, CI/CD, etc.).

Q: Let's talk about the Škoda Space Employee Portal. Why did you initiate the project in the first place?

Martin: We initiated the new Škoda Space Employee Portal due to a combination of factors: The previous system was no longer suitable. It was too complicated and too costly to operate. We also had to deal with the increasing complexity of the digital employee environment and wanted to make it as easy as possible for every employee to access the Employee Portal from any device.

Q: What were your goals?

Martin: Our primary goal was to provide the greatest possible benefit to our employees and improve their user experience. The complex environment made this a challenge – we have 40,000 employees, more than 300 user groups with different needs, and over 700 applications and we run dozens of systems and integrations. 
That is why we wanted to build a portal where everything – such as relevant information as well as employee tasks and processes – is in one place and accessible to everyone, from factory workers to top management. It needed to be easily accessible, simple to use, and secure for all of them.

Q: Why did you ultimately choose Liferay?

Martin: We looked at many different solutions and did a lot of research and product comparisons. In the end, we chose Liferay because it was the best fit for our needs and requirements – it's a robust platform with lots of features that are ready to be used out of the box. At the same time, it offers the flexibility to connect with other existing systems – including our core systems – and to customize and change them according to our needs.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about the implementation process?

Martin: It was a really complex project. We opted for an agile scrum approach. We also gathered a large group of stakeholders from across the company to help us work out the requirements and test the system. We worked in constant iterations, with very quick feedback loops between us and key user groups to constantly confirm that we were moving in the right direction with the new portal.

Q: How did the Škoda employees react to the new portal?

Martin: That was also a bit of a challenge and required a certain amount of, shall we say, change management. A company is a closed market. In a traditional competitive market, if a product doesn't fit or you don't like it, you can simply switch to a competitor. In a closed market, this is not possible and therefore requires a specific approach. If you offer a complex solution, it delivers added value for most, but not for all users. This is of crucial importance. As a result, some users might not like the new solution because it does not meet all their specific needs, while others will accept it immediately. And that's something you have to get to grips with. That's why we've invested a lot in training our employees about the new portal so that they know how to work with it and recognize the benefits. We also didn't present a finished product but MVP (minimum viable product) and communicated that there is always room for further improvement. Our employees had the opportunity to provide feedback. This way, we were able to dispel many uncertainties.

Q: Looking back on the entire project, what would you recommend to other project managers to make their project implementation a success?

Martin: First of all, be open-minded and don't just look at the provision of features and functionalities. Focus on everything that offers added value for your end customers. Don't make the mistake of digitizing the "paper world", but create a new and better digital version of it. Technology in itself is great, but it needs to be set up in such a way that it brings maximum benefit to the people who use it. Secondly, don't be afraid to remove or redesign features that aren't proving useful. And finally, educate your users and allow them to provide feedback. This is important and will improve acceptance and engagement with your solution.

Q: Where are you today?

Martin: We are successful and serve more than 17,000 different employees every day and almost 40,000 a month. 72% of our employee content is now consumed directly via the Employee Portal. Our focus now is on creating high-quality content, implementing AI into our search, maximizing collaboration with other systems and platforms, and delivering it to our customers through the portal.

Q: What is the typical user experience for your solution?

Martin: It depends on the users. We have employees who might just want to check their payroll through the system. Others use it daily to get the latest news and access relevant information. And it also serves as a gateway to other systems. In total, we have over 300 different user groups, and we customize the portal and its content to meet their needs.

Q: What are the biggest challenges for the automotive industry in terms of digitalization?

Martin: I can't speak for the company, but in my area of expertise it's certainly about complexity, time to market, and not always following every trend. You have to know your customers' needs and offer solutions that maximize value, without forgetting that it's not possible to deliver everything and serve everyone.

Are you interested in learning more about how to build an intranet that provides maximum value to your employees? Learn more here or request a demo of Liferay DXP


Originally published
February 14, 2024
 last updated
March 6, 2024
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