When you log in to your employee platform, are you met with personalized content you’re always interested in? Do you see a growing number of resources that inspire you to stay informed, get involved, or share?

Aramco, the largest energy company in the world with over 70,000 employees across the globe, thought this is how its employee experience (EX) should work when it set out to transform its internal platform to put its employees first. Partnering with AKQA and using Sitecore technology, Aramco launched its Aramco LIFE mobile app and web experience in February 2021, achieving a 500% percent increase in downloads and setting itself up with the agility to establish an exclusive content experience that expands to the public.

Imad Abdul Samad, Aramco’s Head of Web Group, joined Hans von Haffner, General Manager at AKQA, during this year’s Sitecore Symposium to share the details behind the successful Aramco LIFE experience. Here is what they had to say about Aramco’s use case, solution, and next phase, plus AKQA’s three pillars of EX.

Putting employees first

Aramco’s journey began with a question: how do we digitize our internal publications and create an engaging employee experience? The company knew it wanted to create a solution to help keep its employees informed on what's happening within the company. Samad also explained they knew that the solution had to be first and foremost mobile, easy for employees to use, and flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of content types, including its longstanding content.

Just one of Aramco’s flagship internal publications, the Arabian Sun, dates back to the 1950s and has evolved over the years.

“We needed not just to digitize these publications, but we needed to do it in a way that respected their legacy and the individual brands that they had created or will become,” Samad said.

With the goal of unifying all its digital and digitalized content into one central platform, Aramco wanted to provide its EX in one application, so the users could see all the articles and news under a specific topic, regardless of the publication. Employees could comment, share, and like any piece of content. And based on the user’s daily interactions, personalization on the back end would determine what the person’s interests were and promote content that is best suited for them.

Aramco LIFE is born

Aramco decided to create a new branded channel to maintain and pay tribute to the legacy of its publications. It wanted to create an informational hub or marketplace focused on inspiring, motivating, and engaging employees by providing relevant and timely topic-based content. Aramco LIFE provides the latest news and insights to both employees and the general public all in one place. And it has become a new communication strategy for externalizing internal insights, as well as serving as a global marketplace.

With its new Aramco LIFE experience, the company is able to manage and maintain its content through one central content management system. It also has the ability to instantaneously publish to the app and the website in both English and Arabic.

Differentiating company employees from external or public, Aramco LIFE distinguishes users by their email logins. User type determines the functionality and what the user can see, with employees having more access to certain areas and restricting certain access to external users.

In terms of serving up personalized content for each audience type, the platform enables Aramco to tag content that's meant only for its employees. Every piece of content aligns to a tagging system for internal or external users.

This also provides Aramco with a way of gathering data insights and valuable information on what type of content and messaging resonates with the employees and external audience. Samad explained this is a critical feature for improving the awareness of the brand and its overall reputation.

The solution includes Sitecore Experience Platform™, Sitecore Experience Database™ (xDB), and Sitecore Managed Cloud.

“We're very proud of the product,” Samad said. “We've gotten a lot of positive feedback from all of the users, and all of this is just phase one.”

What’s in the next phase for Aramco LIFE?

Aramco already has a list of new features under development, expanding the Aramco LIFE experience to bridge its heritage with the ability to provide insightful context in a 21st Century reality with transparency. Samad explained that some of the phase two features are aimed at enabling the company to provide some exclusive content that you can only get through Aramco LIFE.


Phase two features:

  • Integrating Aramco’s two flagship radio stations
  • Video podcast capabilities
  • Live video streaming
  • Polls and surveys feature
  • A social media wall that populates all the latest social media posts across Aramco’s official social channels
  • A news feature, which is a live feed of what's being said about Aramco by third-party external publishers
  • A volunteering framework within the app, which would allow employees to see the volunteer opportunities or events that are coming up, sign up to volunteer directly through the app, and keep a record of their volunteer activities.
  • Making corporate offers and any company discounts or relationship partnerships accessible

“We’re very happy that this was done with AKQA and on the Sitecore platform. We're very proud and excited about the application, and we're also very excited to see what lies ahead in phase two and beyond,” Samad said.

AKQA’s three pillars of EX

Fantastic customer experiences that companies often put a lot of focus on won’t be successful if companies don’t consider those employees who are powering it, said Haffner. Sitecore Solution Partner AKQA provides organizations with a methodology for employee experience transformations rooted from three pillars:

  1. Values - When your employees believe in the values of the company they work for, they tend to deliver value in the output.
  2. Tools - There's a lot of focus on creating great tools, apps, and websites for the external audience, and not so much on creating tools for your internal audience. This is what should change. If you don't have the focus on the internal employees, you will have a hard time succeeding.
  3. Culture - Create a safe place for employees where they get energized and inspired. Not only is that a great way for employees to create more value but also to retain them.

Read more on how Sitecore fuels Middle East innovations in digital transformation and customer experience.

Monica Lara is Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn