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Sonangol Corporate Portal - An Engine for Change Management


Sonangol – Sociedade Nacional de Combustíveis de Angola – is responsible for the management of hydrocarbon resources in Angola. The company’s activities include management of onshore and offshore oil concessions, oil prospecting, research and production, fuel distribution, and shortly, the refining of hydrocarbons and their derivatives. Sonangol is the largest Angolan company. The oil industry accounts for nearly 52% of the country’s GDP.

Given its dimension and performance needs, the company has developed other oil related business activities through a number of subsidiaries in the areas of civil aviation, maritime transportation, logistics, and telecommunications.

The Sonangol group includes 34 subsidiary companies with over 10.000 employees.

Given the size, organizational dynamics, broad range of activities and different geographical locations of the Sonangol Group, its managers and workers face strong challenges regarding internal communication, organization, working methods and internal knowledge management.

Álvaro Santos, Information Technology Director of SonangolIn this context, one of the most relevant challenges facing Sonangol concerns the development of mechanisms and tools to support and dynamize the continuous modernization and change management process presently underway in view of the growing vitality of the Angolan economy.
In 2001, driven by the strong innovation dynamics of Sonangol’s managers, the company’s Information Technology Division – headed by Álvaro Santos - developed an initial version of a Corporate Portal, whose functionalities were essentially focused on aspects related to the availability of information.

Owing to the growing importance of the corporate portal for the company’s activity, and the need for its renovation, Sonangol’s Information Technology Division drafted a Development Plan for the Corporate Portal. The major goal was to transform the portal into a daily working tool for the company’s employees as well as a knowledge management support tool. Leadership Business Consulting assisted Sonangol in this process.

To this end, a prior benchmark study was conducted on the corporate portals of  major global oil companies, which included a detailed analysis of the corporate portals of six companies on four continents – Europe, America, Africa and Asia.  

The benchmark study made it possible to gauge a number of critical success factors associated with the portals under analysis, of which the most relevant are

  • availability of functionalities oriented towards the daily tasks of employees (employee-self-service - B2E);
  • personalization capacity provided to users;
  • full integration of all corporate applications into the Portal;
  • explicit top management sponsorship;
  • content management under the responsibility of an area specifically created to that effect.

Tiago Cabral

For Tiago Cabral, Manager at the Lisbon Office, “clients increasingly assume corporate portals as an organizationally balanced strategic decision, rather than just being seen as mere acquisition of software. Factors of critical importance include prior definition of clear objectives, alignment with business goals and  the corporate portal’s operating model.”

The strategy defined for Sonangol’s corporate portal transformation process is based on the progressive development of its functionalities, transforming it, within a two year period, into an Employee Portal  designed to facilitate the Company’s internal processes and to provide access to its information systems. Objective: to transform the portal into the major work tool of Sonangol’s employees.

Some guidelines were also defined with regard to content management, and functionalities, management model, communication and dissemination.

The transformation process of Sonangol’s corporate portal – based on the Company’s strategic plan – is currently underway. The new graphic layout established in the course of the project has been approved and implemented.

Strategy for the progression of Sonangol’s Corporate Portal

Transform your Intranet into a Corporate Portal


Advantages of Using a Corporate Portal

A Corporate Portal is considered a means for overcoming a number of challenges.

1.   Associated with information and knowledge management, namely:

  • File format and platform incompatibility – improved interoperability;
  • Access to information through different methods, including client software, web browsers, specific applications, individual hard disks;
  • Organization and cataloguing of information published in a disorganized manner;
  • Individual incapacity to publish information in an easy manner and to disseminate it within the organization;
  • Different ways and methods to research and access information;
  • Incapacity to disseminate information in a comprehensive manner inside and outside the organization;
  • Lack of online collaborative tools;
  • Juxtaposed systems with different and complex interfaces (a number of them without a browser-based interface).

2.   Associated with cost reduction and improved efficiency, namely:

  1. Lack of an integrated platform providing access to business processes;
  2. Lack of a platform enabling effective resource sharing;
  3. Incapacity to measure and monitor costs and business processes in a consistent and timely manner;
  4. Lack of a shared service support system.

3.   Associated with change management to achieve strategic and competitive goals, namely:

  • Lack of an central operational unit capable of permanently generating organizational energy, motivation and orientation towards change;
  • Lack of visibility into change processes;
  • Lack of tools capable of enhancing collaborative work and cross functional activities;
  • Lack of a consistent and daily communication and experience;
  • Dispersed communication and complexity of contextualization into each department and workstation.




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