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Make your intranet work harder for you. Contact us to see how we can help.
hello@clearbox.co.uk
+44 (0)1244 458746
 

About Us

Who we are

ClearBox Consulting Ltd. is a specialist independent consultancy that believes in making the workplace a better and more productive experience. We understand technology, but we approach it from the people side first.

Our goal is to help organisations collaborate and communicate more effectively. We specialise in intranets and the wider digital workplace, including internal social networks, enterprise mobile strategies, and real-time collaboration tools.

We’re based in the UK and Ireland (for EU customers) so we’re easy to work with no matter where you’re based.

We’re on the UK Government’s Digital Marketplace to make it easy for public sector clients to procure our services within the G-Cloud framework.

ClearBox is run by Sam Marshall, former Global Intranet Manager for Unilever, staff, and a network of skilled associates. We all have hands-on experience of the realities of introducing intranet change into organisations.

ClearBox on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Business, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, and SlideShare.

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What we do

We help clients with the non-technology elements of a digital workplace or intranet. This includes:

  • Formulating a strategy and business case
  • Defining requirements and identifying platform options
  • Assessing digital communication channels
  • Planning launch and adoption
  • Planning governance and resources
  • Conducting user research and intranet testing
  • Developing a digital communications strategy
  • Training for content editors and intranet managers.

We often help companies in the UK and across Europe pull these together into an overall plan that includes priorities, a roadmap, and a budget. We can then work with your team on vendor selection if required. We have a comprehensive understanding of SharePoint intranet products, and a good appreciation of SharePoint alternatives. As an independent consultancy, we are technologically agnostic and are not influenced by vendors in any way.

While we can help with user research and UX testing, we don’t do the technical implementation. Typically, once we’ve specified an intranet with the client, the implementation goes out to tender or is conducted in-house, and we carry on working with the client on content planning, change management, and user experience.

Take a closer look at our services, or contact us now to discuss what you really need.

Who we work with

We work with organisations that range from a few hundred employees to over 100,000, typically as partners to Communications, IT and HR functions.

Our assignments have included projects with AkzoNobel, AstraZeneca, Sony, Unilever, BUPA, Standard Life, Avis Budget Group, TUI Travel, Diageo, The RSPB, Rio Tinto, Johnson Controls, Ofgem and Oxford University Press.

Why choose ClearBox

Experience

We have first-hand experience of running intranets, so we know what it’s like to face practical realities rather than what the textbook says. We also see what really works in a whole range of organisations so we can bring an informed and independent perspective.

Vision

ClearBox is all about making working life more productive and more rewarding for the people who use intranets. We use our expertise in psychology and computer interface design to make your intranet simple to use.

Collaboration

Organisations increasingly work across multiple locations with a range of operations, partnerships, and affiliations, and yet seek to create a sense of being ‘one’ organisation. We have a track record in designing intranets that will be a key part of making this happen.

Knowledge

ClearBox is about the coming together of intranets, collaboration, and knowledge — a challenge in many organisations as it spans multiple functions. We’ve worked in a range of corporate functions, including Communications, IT, and Knowledge Management, so we can see things from each side and facilitate dialogue.

Strategy

Often intranets grow organically, and this can mean there’s a lack of clear purpose for both users and those that support it. We work with companies to ensure their intranets have clear strategic alignment and the right policies and processes in place to keep it effective without being bureaucratic.

Flexibility

Good consulting is about helping an organisation bring about sustainable change. Intranet changes usually reflect other changes going on in an organisation, and all the people and cultural aspects that go with that change. Our approach is designed to recognise and respond to this.

Vendor neutral, technology agnostic

We think it is essential that we act with our clients’ interests foremost, so ClearBox has a strict vendor-neutral policy. We do not enter into any agreements with vendors that would bias our recommendations to clients. We don’t take payments for referrals or to write reviews; we don’t sell any software or licenses.

We do develop good working relationships with market-leading vendors and new entrants alike; we’re proud of our in-depth knowledge, and we’re keen to keep up-to-date with developments in the intranet and digital workplace field.

Whatever we’re doing, our starting position is technology and vendor neutral: we don’t implement any specific tools or get fees for recommending any type of platform. We help our clients make choices with only their business needs in mind.

Why we’re called ‘ClearBox’

The name ‘ClearBox’ comes from being the opposite of ‘black box’. We want our methods to be transparent and replicable, so that our clients are able to keep moving forward at the end of a project.

We noticed that reports from other consultancies just seemed to gather dust. Although the recommendations might be valid, clients didn’t feel confident to implement them because the reasoning behind them was opaque.

When you work with ClearBox, we involve you in every step; we discuss the data with you and collaborate on formulating the outcome. We’re not about trying to create an ongoing dependency. True consulting means that the client feels ownership of the deliverable, informed, and in control.

Core team

Sam Marshall

Sam Marshall is the owner of ClearBox Consulting and has specialised in intranets and the digital workplace for over 19 years, working with companies such as Unilever, Vodafone, TUI Travel, Diageo, Sony and GSK.

His current activities focus on intranet and digital workplace strategy, and the business side of Office 365. He is the lead author of the annual ‘SharePoint Intranets in-a-box report’, the most comprehensive review of these add-on tools.

Sam is a regular keynote speaker at international conferences and has been named a ‘Contributor of the year’ for his CMSWire column four years in a row. In 2015 Sam was given the Intranet Now award for ‘remarkable contribution to the intranet community’. He has an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, an MA in Psychology and more bicycles than shoes. Email sam@clearbox.co.uk or tweet @SamMarshall

Wedge Black

Having managed intranets for global and regional companies, Wedge has hands-on experience of enterprise platforms and employee-focused digital communications.

Wedge focuses on user-research to help define needs and design user-centred, task-focused systems – for collaboration, task completion, and knowledge sharing. His early background in document management means he’s conversant in ISO 9000 standards, and appreciates the importance of information management.

He specialises in intranet navigation, content, and home pages that meet employee’s expectations.

Wedge is a prolific writer, and has also presented across northern Europe; he’s judged the Digital Impact Awards and is the creator of Intranet Now, the independent intranet and comms conference in the UK.

Andrew Marr

Andrew has worked with web technologies for over 20 years, initially as a business analyst and project manager before specialising in intranet strategy and management.

Before joining ClearBox as an employee, Andrew worked with organisations that include AkzoNobel, Barclays, Financial Times, Highways Agency, IKEA, Ofgem, Scottish Government and Shell as a freelance consultant. As a freelance benchmarking consultant, he conducted over 60 intranet and digital workplace evaluations to help clients measure and improve performance in strategy development and management.

Andrew was responsible for intranet strategy and development at Bupa and implemented a number of pioneering social and collaboration applications during his time there. At the Financial Times, he worked across multiple Agile Scrum teams based in the UK and Philippines on projects that included a major upgrade to the enterprise content management system behind FT.com and the printed newspaper.

Fiona Claymore

As Operations Manager, Fiona works behind the scenes ensuring the company runs smoothly. She is a qualified accountant and enjoys nothing more than creating a spreadsheet or a bar chart, but also turns her hand to a variety of other support functions.

Fiona is most widely known for project managing the production of the annual SharePoint intranets in-a-box report with help from the rest of the team.