Case study

Roche: Editorial planning for hundreds of employees worldwide

Pharmaceuticals and Digitalisation

One of the world's largest pharmaceutical corporations, F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, initially engaged YMC to program an editorial calendar for corporate communication within Switzerland. As the tool’s popularity grew, it was adopted by more employees and affiliates in branch offices worldwide, for the planning of online and offline communications.

Communication and Agility

Roche had turned to YMC, because it could not find a suitable software solution for its Swiss editorial planning team, especially when it came to compliance processes. The solution incrementally implemented by YMC was the beginning of a group-wide core infrastructure for multichannel communication for the pharma giant Roche.


YMC quickly recognised the innovative value of the editorial planning tool Roche was striving for, and supported the group in all phases of the solution, just like a startup incubator would do. Roche first trialled various ready-to-use solutions available on the market, extended and integrated them with the help of YMC, and finally contracted YMC to create an independent web application tailored to Roche's needs.


YMC has been a reliable partner for Roche in every phase of the project. YMC showed a high degree of agility by being open to different solutions, but always keeping the innovative goal in mind. YMC accompanied Roche’s corporate communications team as a mentor and creator on their way to finding their own solution. At the same time, the number of users in the corporation grew exponentially, which confirmed the path taken together.


At each stage of the innovation, the incrementally developed editorial calendar was testable and usable, so Roche could immediately decide which steps to take next. YMC initially implemented a calendar front-end tailored for Roche as an MVP, based on a third-party application that acted as back-end. Finally, the back-end was replaced by a tailor-made solution from YMC.

Multichannel Communications

Roche's team responsible for corporate communications in Switzerland, was looking for a tool to help plan multichannel communications for their target market. The team initially thought that the commercial SaaS offerings available on the market would suffice. The team had worked with Google spreadsheets, Percolate, Desk-Net, etc., which helped them understand the advantages and disadvantages of these solutions for content marketing planning. The Swiss communications team wanted to avoid the disadvantages by commissioning YMC to create a web calendar tailored to the team, based on a third-party solution available as a SaaS with API.

High Usability and Acceptance

YMC worked closely with the Roche team to achieve high usability of the editorial planning calendar. The team was very satisfied with the results. During development of the calendar, and also during its use, the team came up with new ideas for necessary functions which could not be implemented on the basis of the backend of the SaaS solution. After consulting with YMC, Roche decided to replace the third-party solution with a back-end solution created by YMC. This paved the way for optimal editorial online planning of corporate communications. The standalone solution became so good, that hundreds of employees and affiliates worldwide are now working with it. The YMC solution became a business-critical asset for Roche. That’s why the pharma giant decided to have it further developed by the in-house IT department in the future.

Agile Leadership

The evolution and success of the in-house editorial online planning tool at Roche was largely based on the experience of YMC. This includes not only the technological know-how for web applications, but also the understanding for internal and external communications processes in a business like Roche. This experience was strengthened by YMC's willingness and ability to accompany innovative processes. YMC’s competence was demonstrated by the project success: The editorial planning calendar is now regarded by the Roche Group as a central part of global infrastructure.

Startup Spirit

The purely technical requirements for the editorial calendar changed at every stage of the project and high usability became increasingly important the more functionality was developed specifically for Roche.

Eventually, YMC developed a standalone software product for Roche that has an immensely high acceptance rate. Such success can only be achieved by a very good understanding of the goals and expectations of the users. YMC acted just like a start-up that creates a product for a pilot customer. Only due to YMC's comprehensive expertise and experience, could it later become an in-house standard application that could be scaled worldwide and further developed in-house. By using proven open source components, YMC was able to implement Roche’s solution quickly, cost-efficiently and hands-on, enabling the corporation to focus on user benefits and business value.

Agile Programming

As can be seen in respect to the editorial solution for Roche, innovation often happens via incremental solutions. It then takes courage to take the next step towards achieving the optimal solution. This is only possible if new functionality can be developed, tested and evaluated quickly using an agile approach. Since Roche could always rely on YMC regarding an agile approach, the risk for the Swiss team was manageable and they could become a champion within the group, whose solution was adopted as a corporate standard.

Specific Functionality

The functionality of the editorial calendar is limited to the essentials and is clearly laid out, enabling very efficient planning of group-wide corporate communications: There is a month and year view, which shows the communication activities of the next days or weeks.

Activities can be filtered by communication channel or topic - all channels can be included in the planning, be it Twitter, print brochures or the LCD display in the entrance hall. Automatically generated statistics and reports can be used to analyse the achievement of KPIs. Individual activities can be assigned to events, stories and online channels. The high quality of the project, which resulted in a standalone product, took Roche by storm and became part of the core IT infrastructure.