At Withum, we have global clients who have struggled to find ways to unite dispersed regions. A lot of the challenges are a result of old, traditional business processes and organizational behavior. Technology has a way of defying black and white work-environment principles and allows for greater flexibility and freedom.
We find that while organizations have technology at hand, it can be misused, lacking governance, with few to no champions (those people who believe in, promote and use the new tools). In the age of the emerging millennial, how do organizations expect to be unified without utilizing the full potential of technology?
As an example, with older intranets, such as SharePoint 2010, the social aspects are very limited, causing global organizations who are already dispersed, to have little to no means to collaborate to effectively.
Our clients have begun to realize the power of providing a digital workplace to their organization. Office 365 connects all your users to have greater visibility and means to collaborate. Global companies need to embrace a global technology mindset.
The five ways to connect global organizations using Office 365 includes:
Office 365 is well-known for its robust sharing and collaboration features. Within Office 365, I would like to highlight two key features that we leverage within our intranet projects. One is translation webpart that Withum Digital has created, powered by search engine of client’s choice, Bing or Google This feature has aided users in countries with a preferred language to select a language of choice and navigate across pages while maintaining the selected translation. One of our recent not-for-profit clients loved it so much that their CEO dedicated an entire video to this feature as part of their go-live.
The second feature, provided by Microsoft out-of-the-box, is the Microsoft Teams Enterprise Version Translator service for inline translation of messages in channels and within personal/group chats. A user can click on the ellipsis menu to select translate (see image below). This ability is set within the Teams Messaging Policy using a PowerShell command. The power of allowing users to translate is simple yet impactful. It brings inclusion and embraces connectivity. Microsoft Teams has a downloadable app so users can keep up to date on the go.
working with one of my global clients, we found that personalizing their intranet would increase visibility amongst their global offices. Based on their needs, we provided personalization web parts that display content to staff in specific regions as well as company-wide news/announcements. Now users can utilize the homepage as their informational one-stop-shop without having to dig through subsequent lists and libraries.
Another use case was to provide a robust Employee Directory that is both filterable and searchable. The directory makes information easily accessible and allows for users to collaborate more effectively. Details about each employee are customizable and can include whatever the company wants available from Delve profile.
These simple offerings from Withum’s workplace solutions provide inclusiveness and collaboration within intranets, a move away from the traditional SharePoint intranet, perceived as nothing more than glorified file storage. We built an intranet that is purposely designed around the staff and their needs. This is especially key for global users that do not have the ability to see each other face to face but who now have the transparency they need to feel united.
SharePoint Online is mobile accessible and much faster than on-premise versions. In the past we’ve received a multitude of requests to create responsive designs for SharePoint on-premise. This is costly and not always an efficient use of budget. In contrast, SharePoint Online has a responsive layout requiring no additional coding. Users can access it on their tablet or mobile device, and the webparts and site functionality adjust appropriately. In addition, SharePoint Online has improved bandwidth much improving the load speed of the intranet over the slower on-premise load time. Another great benefit to work on the go!
Office 365 is rolling out a lot of Exchange Online, OneDrive and SharePoint services for multi-geography capabilities. This allows global organizations to expand their Office 365 tenants to include more than one geography, addressing global data residency needs. From an administration standpoint, we can tailor policies, security and compliance at a regional or global level. Listed below are examples of available data centers that Office 365 administrators can use for OneDrive.
The main benefit from the user-perspective is that information is no longer siloed. Users are unified through various experiences such as sharing and searching. For example, OneDrive has a “Shared with Me” area where users can easily see where their colleagues are located worldwide.
Beyond the tools that we’ve developed, Withum Digital utilizes user-centered design principles to ensure that we’re addressing real world user problems, regardless of region. During the beginning of the project, we emphasize the importance of conducting user interviews. For example, one of my clients has offices in over 40+ countries, so we made sure to hold several interview sessions with users across the globe to bring inclusion and awareness into the intranet project from an information architecture, content and governance perspective. This is just one of the activities we conduct to foster dialogue and help us build a better, highly adoptable intranet that best represents the organization’s current and future needs.
At Withum Digital we recognize the needs to improve collaboration by transforming the traditional workspace into a modern experience. Global users now have the tools in their hands to improve their work flow within an organization. We work with our clients to provide the latest updates on Office 365 and offer our internal solutions to unify a global organization.
Think your organization needs to improve collaboration? Reach out to us online for a complimentary consultation or give us a call at (240) 406 9960.