Marstons PLC is a large UK based brewery, pub and hotel operator, listed on the London Stock Exchange. As well as famous brands such as Marston’s Pedigree, the company owns many other household name beer brands, as well as a large portfolio of pubs and inns across the UK.

The Problem

The existing Marstons intranet had become dated, and no longer reflected the brand values of the business or provide staff with the features they most needed. The comparative difficulty in updating the intranet content meant the intranet was no longer providing the fresh, insightful content that the business wished to transmit to its many and widely distributed staff, nor was the information visually appealing to staff. Without engagement from staff, there was less reason to create content for the intranet, which in turn lead to less engagement as the perception was the intranet wasn’t sufficiently useful to merit revisiting the intranet and so on.

Additionally, the on-premises intranet - designed before the “mobile first” era -  was only accessible to staff when logged into the corporate network on a PC.

The Solution

Blacklight engaged with Marstons to find out the customer’s needs for a new intranet based on SharePoint online. By closely working with the customer, we were able to suggest ways to best take advantage of the beautiful mobile-friendly “out of the box” features of SharePoint and when to extend SharePoint with customisation to provide the additional functionality the customer needed. Blacklight was then engaged to build an intranet using the agreed functionality, which was delivered to a staging area for customer review before being delivered to the customer’s production SharePoint tenant.

Some of the highlights of the solution were:

  • Custom SharePoint Framework web parts to display stock price information
  • Custom SharePoint Framework web parts to display employee “for sale” bulletin board
  • Custom SharePoint Framework web parts to display a live feed of corporate social media postings for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Integration with an external WordPress site to automatically create new postings on the WordPress site when the news was published on the SharePoint intranet

The Benefits

The intranet was able to deliver a mobile-friendly modern site to a wider audience within Marstons featuring fresh useful content. Due to the ease of sourcing and creating content, the intranet could be kept up-to-date with useful and relevant information which in turn helped employee engagement with the intranet and maximises the return on investment in creating the content.  

By syndicating news stories from the intranet onto a public WordPress site for the licensed trade, the biggest possible audience for relevant company news could be without having to invest in additional Office 365 licenses for users who didn’t have access to the SharePoint intranet.

Blacklight Software

Making Digital Transformation Happen