This article was originally published in the Autumn 2018 issue of The Record.
Digital transformation and the modern digital workplace are two important concepts that are increasingly influencing enterprises as they look for ways to innovate and drive growth. Adopting digital technologies allows enterprises to improve operational agility, employee engagement, investment time to value and risk mitigation. It also enables them to create a modern digital workplace. At the heart of this transformation is the employee.
Demanding a consumer-like experience within the workplace, employees now want the flexibility to use tools and devices of their choice, seamlessly switch between devices to complete tasks, and access relevant data from any preferred place. Essentially, they want to take full advantage of a modern digital workplace. However, such a workplace must balance the employees’ consumer-like experience with the enterprise’s security requirements. By achieving this balance, enterprises can promote an environment where employees are engaged and productive, but still mitigate risk.
To provide these digital workplace benefits in an integrated fashion, many enterprises have implemented the capabilities of Microsoft 365. This is because Microsoft 365 combines the unified PC/mobile device management capabilities of Microsoft Intune, the cloud-based identity and access management (IDAM) of Microsoft Azure Active Directory, the cloud-based productivity and collaboration of Office 365, and the robust security of Windows 10. Unfortunately, too many enterprises – even those with Microsoft 365 licensing – are not getting the full benefits of the Microsoft 365 environment. In particular, user adoption issues sometimes result in wasted subscription costs, but more importantly, in the failure to achieve the employee engagement and productivity benefits of the digital workplace.
How can enterprises ensure that they achieve the full benefits of Microsoft 365 in today’s cloud first, mobile first world? First, they need a solid deployment plan that includes IDAM. Microsoft Azure Active Directory provides a great means to this end, but most enterprises will choose to implement this with a federated model using cloud-based authorisation and on-premise authentication. Given its importance, companies must make sure they have the expertise to make this federated model successful.
An enterprise’s deployment plan should also consider how Microsoft 365 will integrate with legacy and complementary technologies. Despite the breadth of Microsoft 365, most enterprises will have additional complementary technologies and legacy environments that need to be transformed (and temporarily integrated), so they must plan for this work.
In addition, organisations should plan for change management. A cloud first, mobile first world offers significant benefits, but it also brings a new way for employees to work. A strong change management plan ensures both the business and employees are happy with the results.
Finally, companies must provide employees with personalised support services so they can ask questions and take optimal advantage of Microsoft 365. Having a range of support options – from a strong self-service knowledge base to chatbots, personalised portals, and walk-in support centres – is cost effective and makes users happy.
DXC Technology has successfully helped many companies to create a modern digital workplace with the help of Microsoft technology. A recent example was a global manufacturing company that wanted to move its employees to a mobile workplace, while at the same time transferring its underlying infrastructure to a cloud-based platform. DXC helped the company migrate nearly all of its 18,000 users to Windows 10 and a fully converged modern management environment based on Microsoft Intune that covers both PCs and mobile devices. As part of the integration work, traditional applications were bridged into the environment so that they could be handled similarly to the modern applications. The solution also included DXC Software Licensing and Management Solutions for both Microsoft and non-Microsoft software subscriptions. Users are now taking full advantage of the new environment, which offers all of the digital workplace benefits they had expected.
Through careful planning and integration together with strong change management and personalised support, enterprises can reap the employee engagement, productivity and security benefits of a Microsoft 365-based digital workplace. The benefits are available today. Is your business taking advantage of them?
George Ferguson is go-to-market leader at DXC Workplace and Mobility