Connecting licensees and employees around the world

Having worked with Lesniak Swann for several years, Michelin Lifestyle took the decision to build a global Extranet to improve communications amongst their internal audiences and share best practice across the organisation.

The Extranet has been built on a user-friendly WordPress framework, using modern methodologies based around the Trellis platform to bring it up to date, including version control, test driven development and package-based functionality modules. The core function of WordPress – blogging – has been retained for the news system, but all other content entry points have been built using structured data input forms, resulting in a dynamic product which can be used with little-to-no training.

To ensure that users can access all of the information and functions that they need, all users pass through a role-based permission system, which allows them to see pages and elements that are relevant to them. User profiles have been further extended to match Michelin’s requirements, while also allowing for many automation tasks to run behind the scenes. A weekly newsletter builds itself and sends articles to users with matching profiles, and a custom forum system keeps users up-to-date on threads or replies within their areas of interest. Users can post events to the site, and be informed of relevant upcoming events in their territory/territories.

Further integration with Google Docs and other sites under the Michelin umbrella push data into the site from a number of sources, collecting and disseminating content in one place. Mandatory reads are logged to show which users are up-to-date, with the opportunity to remind those that don’t pick up important communiques.

For licensees, the Extranet contains all brand guidelines, packaging and contractual information, ensuring a unified and consistent approach to Michelin communications and branding. Michelin employees and licensees can also create product PDFs from the Extranet, all with a consistent format and style.

To make sure that all staff and licensees can access the information they need when they’re on the road or working away from an office, the Extranet is built upon a fully device-responsive front-end framework, using modern methodologies to test, minify and combine assets before pushing to production.

The end result is a project which is fast, easy to use, and massively extendable through normal WordPress marketplace plugins or at developer level using Composer packages.

Calum Hassall, Global Digital Communications Manager for brand licensing at Michelin, commented: ‘’A core element of the new Michelin Lifestyle digital strategy was to modernise our communications approach in a business to business context. The global extranet creates an ‘exclusive club’ environment for Michelin employees and our network of Licensees to interact, share information and provide efficiencies in the way we work together. We’re confident this bespoke platform will help us realise this objective and become a part of our daily working life.’’

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