Tag Archives: today’s

IoT investment into field management software slow in coming

BOSTON — In today’s connected world, data is everywhere. McDonald’s knows that it sells roughly 75 hamburgers every second across its locations. Airline companies know that a plane lifts off every two seconds in the U.S. What’s the use of this data, however, if companies can’t access it or act on it to provide better efficiency or prevent downtime?

Field management software provider ServiceMax Inc. is hoping its alignment with asset performance management through General Electric’s Predix platform helps customers tie their data to actionable outcomes with the hopes of IoT investment, the main theme at the Maximize 2018 Boston conference, a day-long event taking place in a select number of cities throughout the year.

“The mission of field service management is less service equals more,” said Scott Berg, CEO of ServiceMax, to the roughly 300 attendees. “Customers think of uptimes and outcomes — your customers bought something to produce. They don’t want you there in the first place.”

In the opening keynote, Berg touched on the unfulfilled promise of IoT. Roughly $3 trillion will be spent on IoT investment and connectivity and service by 2020, according to Deloitte, yet there’s still a disconnect or unfulfilled promise according to Berg.

“What people want to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance,” he said.

‘Technical hell’

The IoT movement is already here — its scope depending on the industry you’re looking at. According to 2017 research by Gartner, the consumer segment is the largest user base of connected devices, with smart TVs, security cameras and electric meters among the consumer devices that have taken an IoT approach.

The B2B market for IoT is also substantial; a seemingly endless array of machines require updates and maintenance. By 2020, Gartner expects there to be more than 20 billion connected devices between consumer and business uses — all requiring some form of field management software to help monitor and alert users when something goes awry.

While this influx of connected devices is real and upon us, there still exists this unfulfilled promise of the return of an IoT investment for some customers — mainly due to the initial cost of the investment to upgrade or replace connected products.

What people want IoT to evolve to is a predictive model for maintenance … Before IoT, the customer was the sensor.
Scott BergCEO, ServiceMax

Several attendees at the Maximize event, ranging from customers to vendor partners, cited the initial investment required to make manufacturing tools or construction machines smart. If a manufacturing company is investing in its equipment today, there’s a good chance that IoT capabilities and field management software will be a cornerstone of that growth.

But many companies that on the surface fit the description for IoT capabilities don’t see now as the right time for an IoT investment — whether that’s due to market maturation, the cost of upgrading inventory to be connected or if their use cases don’t reap the benefits of IoT measurement and the need for field management software.

“A lot of IoT is applied at medical device and life science [companies], and it’s ‘Look at this problem we’ve discovered and we fix it and the problem goes away,'” Berg said in a roundtable with media and analysts. “What’s lost with that is the [field management software] benefit doesn’t live on; it doesn’t repeat and learn from itself.”

This one-and-done aspect of some IoT projects should “scare C-level executives to death,” according to Eddie Amos, CTO for GE Digital. “If you go out and build a one-off customized solution, you’re in technical hell forever.”

A predictive model for maintenance

What this movement toward more connectivity and IoT investment means for customers — and the customers of field management software — is less maintenance and more timely repairs.

“Before IoT, the customer was the sensor,” Berg said.

And while field service management is evolving to a more proactive maintenance approach, the industry is still a long way from complete predictive maintenance.

“We can tell you based on algorithms that there may be an issue,” Amos said. “But you still need to go out and service it. Right now, it’s about getting the right people at the right place at the right time.”

Accenture fosters inclusive workspace to empower employees with Microsoft 365 – Microsoft 365 Blog

Today’s post was written by Stephen Cutchins CIO and accessibility lead at Accenture.

Headshot of Stephen Cutchins, CIO and accessibility lead at Accenture.Diversity at Accenture is a source of strength; the wealth of different perspectives and skillsets that our employees bring to the table keeps us leading in our field. Achieving more as a company starts with addressing the needs of every single employee in our workforce. I am passionate about accessibility. I grew up with two cousins with disabilities and it shaped my outlook on the whole idea of inclusion in the workplace. Accessible technology is about one thing—fitting the tools to the humans who use themand I’m fortunate to work with a company that shares my vision. I wanted to create an accessibility practice at Accenture, and to that end, I started as the first employee in the CIO’s Center for Excellence, where we look at finding the right tools for an inclusive workplace. And when it comes to business tools, we see Microsoft as a leader in inclusive technology and a great partner, a perfect match for our goals to put technology to work empowering every one of our employees. In fact, we now take it for granted that the experiences within Microsoft 365 are going to work well for our employees.

As a human-centric company, our workplace initiatives are designed to bring the conversation about accessibility to the forefront, encouraging an open dialogue about how we can support employees’ needs in the workplace. Accenture runs on Office 365 productivity services that include a wealth of built-in accessibility features. The Microsoft approach of “accessibility by design” matches our philosophy that accessibility is not an add-on or an afterthought, but an inherent part of the technology we use to communicate and collaborate as an organization.

The ability to collaborate effectively with your colleagues to get work done is the baseline of any productive organization. A lot of credit goes to accessibility features in Office 365 ProPlus applications—such as Skype for Business, Word, and Outlook—for helping us tap into the incredible resources in our company. Daily Skype voice and video calls become transformative when people who are blind or motor-disabled can participate by using JAWS screen reader for Windows or voice dictation software. Even minor changes can have an enormous impact. I was excited to see that when Microsoft moved the Accessibility Checker front and center in Word, near the spell check, it raised awareness of both the feature itself and the need to use it. We are all of different abilities, and learning to consider the full range of situations across the disability spectrum means employees will use the tools at hand for better communication and collaboration with everyone.

It gives me enormous satisfaction that our inclusive workplace, with Microsoft technologies, engages our employees to do their best work and to help them realize their true potential and grow as human beings. Everyone benefits.

—Stephen Cutchins

Read the case study to learn more about how Accenture is empowering its workforce with the intuitive accessibility tools built into Windows 10 and Office 365.

How can technology empower the Class of 2030? |

Our world is changing faster than ever. What skills will today’s kindergarteners need to be life-ready by the time they graduate as the class of 2030? How can technology support their educational journey?

To answer these critical questions, we launched a key piece of research: “The class of 2030 and life-ready learning: The technology imperative.” Today, I am super excited to share that the full report is now available.

To conduct our research, we listened to 70 thought leaders around the world, reviewed 150 pieces of existing research, and surveyed 2,000 teachers and 2,000 students across Canada, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Most importantly, we focused on the needs and aspirations of our subjects: the young people who make up the class of 2030 and those closest to understanding their world.

Within that context, we found 2 core themes: social emotional skills and personalized learning. Whilst not new in education, these are newly important for more people. Employers are placing a premium on social skills and emotional literacy with up to 40% of future jobs requiring explicit social emotional skills. Academics are noting their impact on deep learning and the students themselves recognize these skills are critical for success. The research highlighted personalized learning as an approach which supports skill development — both cognitive and social and emotional by guiding students towards greater autonomy and control.

The students were clear: they want to develop these skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential and they want teachers who know and understand them as individuals.

Three technologies were highlighted in the research as showing great promise to support social and emotional skill development and personalized learning approaches; collaborative platforms, mixed reality and analytics powered by AI.

Students across the four surveyed countries prioritized a range of social-emotional and higher-order skills; notably, students valued digital skills, creativity and problem solving higher than teachers.

The students were clear: they want to develop the skills to navigate their own learning – to explore and make choices that unlock their curiosity and potential. Click To Tweet

While not new in education, these skills are newly important to more people and are taking center stage alongside deeper cognitive skills and content knowledge in the classroom and in the workforce. By 2030, it is predicted that between 30 to 40 percent of jobs will require explicit social-emotional skills.

While the need for social-emotional skills is clear, our research highlighted differences between the specific skills that students and teachers prioritize and how well-equipped teachers feel to teach these skills. This variation was mirrored in how both groups described their experiences of social-emotional skills as part of the learning program.

Students already place a strong emphasis on social-emotional skills based on the results of our survey, which you can explore below.

Personalized learning, which is a student centered approach, emerged as one of the most promising ways to develop social-emotional and deeper cognitive skills.

The students we surveyed said they want to have greater control over their learning and not just automation of content delivery. The students wanted personalization involving control over pacing, content and assessment. 70 percent of the students felt their mastery of content would be better with greater control. Quality feedback is critical for personalized learning. Only 40 percent of students we surveyed felt they receive feedback that was personalized; yet 60 percent of teachers felt they were providing personalized feedback.

Teachers have long endorsed personalized learning but have cited a lack of time and resources as obstacles. In our survey, nearly 70 percent of teachers cited time constraints as their biggest hurdle to providing more personalized content to their students. Our research revealed technology can help clear away those obstacles by freeing up as much as 30 percent of teachers’ time, so they can spend more time responding to individual and group needs.

Our research identified other important differences in perspectives between students and teachers about the extent of personalization in their current education.  Explore the data, below.

Three types of technology show especially strong promise for advancing socially embedded and personalized learning, and more immersive learning experiences: collaboration platforms, artificial intelligence, and mixed reality. You can find out more about the current and emerging opportunities in the full report and in the papers and case studies being published across 2018.

The class of 2030 and future generations will face social and global problems beyond what we can imagine. They will learn and engage with each other, with technology and with information in entirely new ways. And they will enter a workforce where job functions and roles will be dramatically different from today.

We hope our research will advance all of our efforts to help the class of 2030 be ready to succeed in work and life.

I encourage you to request our full report and share it widely with anyone interested in shaping the education system of the future.

I look forward to continuing to engage with you about these crucial topics in the weeks and months ahead.

Mastercard disrupts payment industry with innovation driven by Microsoft 365


Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

Disruption in the payment industry is all about simplification, expedience, and secure global connections. Mastercard is leading the charge to a “world beyond cash,” creating products and services such as the company’s new digital wallet, Masterpass, and tokenization solutions that improve the security of digital payments. These advances continue the company’s long history of innovation, rooted firmly in its culture and people. That’s why it’s so exciting that Mastercard uses Microsoft 365 to incentivize and engage its employees through highly secure, modern workplaces—where creative collaboration happens as quickly and seamlessly as any Mastercard payment.

Here’s what Ed McLaughlin, president of Mastercard Operations and Technology, has to say about the company’s adoption of Microsoft Cloud solutions:

“Mastercard connects people, financial institutions, merchants, and businesses across the globe. As one of the largest technology companies in the payments space, we give our employees the tools they need to deliver continual innovation to our customers and do it securely. We selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace for our 11,900 employees, giving them the capability to collaborate on the fly and deliver their best work.”

I like to think of how we are amplifying the ingenuity and creative thinking that goes on every day at Mastercard through continuous improvements to the Office 365 platform. For example, we are weaving Microsoft machine learning and AI capabilities throughout Office 365 apps. One new feature, Insights in Excel, automatically highlights patterns, outliers, and trends in data, so employees see different perspectives on their business information to spark new ideas.

I’m looking forward to seeing the next iteration of Mastercard’s take on disruption in the global payment ecosystem!

—Ron Markezich

The story behind Microsoft’s earnings: The intelligent cloud powers customer innovation across industries – The Official Microsoft Blog

Microsoft illustration
Illustration by Eli Neugeboren

In today’s Microsoft second quarter earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella showcased how customers are using our technology to create digital business solutions. The 56 percent year-over-year growth in commercial cloud revenue — with broad-based growth across geographic markets and industry segments — is fueled by customer and partner success.

Just this week, we announced news with Publicis Groupe, Columbia Sportswear and PTC. Communications and advertising giant Publicis Groupe is building its new AI-powered platform, Marcel, on Microsoft Azure and Office 365 to empower its 80,000 employees worldwide. Columbia Sportswear, innovator in active outdoor apparel, announced its choice of Dynamics 365 and Azure to its enhance worldwide consumer experience. Plus, PTC, a leader in product lifecycle management solutions that include Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality and 3D computer-aided design for the industrial sector, has selected Azure as its preferred cloud platform.

Below are more customer highlights from this quarter.

In the industrial sector, United Technologies Corp. (UTC) builds and services millions of products, from elevators in some of the world’s tallest buildings to aerospace equipment. UTC is using Dynamics 365 and Azure to help its massive field organization better predict and respond to customer needs. Chevron announced Azure as its primary cloud for intelligent, digitized oil fields in order to increase revenues, reduce costs and improve the safety and reliability of operations.

Consumer product companies are innovating with the Microsoft cloud, too. Kohler has built a legacy of blending home comfort and style through innovation. This year marks Kohler’s entrance into the connected home market with a new line of kitchen and bathroom products, Kohler Konnect. For example, with Azure IoT, Kohler Konnect products respond to voice and in-app commands to manage bath temperature or start a shower.

In real estate, CBRE entered the smart building market with a customizable, connected workplace solution to give property investors and occupants a single, seamless access point to building amenities and services. Powered by Azure IoT, the CBRE 360 mobile apps will allow users to locate colleagues and navigate the workplace, reserve workspaces, and access food and beverage services, as well as basic building and high-end concierge services.

In retail, national grocery chain Kroger is leveraging Azure to power its EDGE (Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment) solution — a grocery-store shelf with digital screen displays showing prices, nutritional information and more. The system manages high volumes of data, better connects store management and customers and ensures stock does not run low. Home-improvement company Lowe’s worked with Fellow Robots to deploy autonomous LoweBots to assist with inventory data and shelf intelligence. As the LoweBot scans inventory on the shelves, Azure helps Lowe’s keep constant tabs on inventory and frees store employees to assist customers. Merkal Calzados, Spain’s leading retailer of affordable footwear, has chosen Dynamics 365 for retail, finance, operations, and customer service to transform how it selects and sources product, improve marketing and accelerate omnichannel growth.

One of the world’s largest casual dining companies, Bloomin’ Brands, Inc., chose Azure to help its digital transformation across approximately 97,000 team members and almost 1,500 restaurants. The parent company of Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s and Fleming’s Steakhouse, Bloomin’ Brands is using Azure advanced analytics, machine learning and Power BI to enable guest engagement and convenience through mobile apps, websites and e-commerce, including the customer loyalty program.

In the healthcare sector, UMB Healthcare Services, a division of UMB Bank, continues to improve its health savings account (HSA) solution, powered on Azure, by creating a seamless customer experience for 1.2 million HSA accounts. For example, ReceiptVault allows HSA owners to safely manage their health care receipts in one place, which is an important tax requirement.

Aurora Health Care operates 15 hospitals, more than 150 clinics and 70 pharmacies throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, Premera Blue Cross is the largest health plan in the Pacific Northwest, and UPMC is one of the largest integrated health care delivery networks in the U.S. These partners are working with us on a new AI-powered health bot project, currently in private preview. Powered by Cognitive Services and enriched with medical content, the bots give customers self-service access to their health-related questions and information.

In the government space, Kansas City’s Azure-powered solution from Opti improves water quality and saves local citizens and companies money. The solution uses a wide range of data to control rainwater entry into the sewer system and could reduce the overall cost of the program by almost a billion dollars over 25 years.

In the world of payment technology, Mastercard selected Microsoft 365 to support a modern workplace that empowers its employees’ teamwork and innovation. One of the largest companies in the payments space, Mastercard connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories to achieve their vision of a world beyond cash. The company is also leveraging Azure for apps, including Masterpass, a digital mobile wallet and rewards program application.

In the auto industry, Volkswagen Group Digital is piloting new forms of workplaces. The company recently deployed Surface Books, Surface Pros, Surface Studios and Surface Hubs in its 10X service design lab and Future Centers, and to run its collaboration application, DEON. DB Schenker, a division of Deutsche Bahn AG, focuses on logistics across air, land, sea freight as well as contracts logistics. The company turned to Windows 10 to help safeguard its business with intelligent, built-in security and to empower the productivity of its global, mobile workforce.

Across the globe, industry leaders are choosing Microsoft to power their business strategies and new products, or support culture change. I am constantly inspired by our customers’ and partners’ digital ambitions and innovation, and I am eager to continue partnering with them on their digital journey.

Tags: Azure, Cloud, Internet of things, IoT

New to Office 365 in January—enriching teamwork across devices

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

We’re launching into 2018 by bringing great new value to Office 365 subscribers, with updates that enhance how teams work together and unlock new ways to create and manage content across devices. Read on for details.

Get more done in Microsoft Teams

New features for Microsoft Teams enable you to interact with apps in new ways, customize your personal workspace, and take quick actions.

Find and use apps in new ways—Now you can include interactive cards from apps in conversations the same way you would add an emoji or GIF. With one click, you can bring important information, like a task from Trello, into a channel conversation or chat. Finding new apps and services in Teams is now easier with the new Store, where you can search for apps by name or category, such as “Project management” or “Analytics & BI.”

Command apps and take quick actions across Teams—We also introduced the new command box in Microsoft Teams, a single point of entry that integrates your search and command experiences. Now you can quickly interact with apps, perform tasks, and navigate throughout Teams directly from the command box, in addition to searching across people, messages, files, and apps.

A view of the apps available for Microsoft Teams from the Store dash.

Work together more effectively with updates to iOS and Mac

New Office 365 capabilities for iOS and Mac enhance how teams create content together, make it easier to produce advanced documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from anywhere, and introduce new ways to search, preview, and interact with files.

Co-authoring for iOS and Mac—We made it easier for individuals to work together across devices with the general availability of co-authoring in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel for iOS and Mac. Now, whether you work on a Mac, PC, or mobile device, you’ll know who else is working with you in a document, see where they’re working, and view changes. Co-authoring is already available on the Office desktop applications for Windows, Office for Android, and Office Online. Learn more at the Microsoft Tech Community.

Automatically save your work on Mac—Today also marks the general availability of AutoSave in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Mac for Office 365 subscribers who store their documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. Whether you’re working alone or with others, your latest changes are now automatically stored in the cloud, so you never need to worry about hitting the Save button again. You can also view and restore content from earlier versions of the document at any time with support for version history.

Image of a laptop open, displaying a financial report in Excel.

Drag and drop content and files on iOS—The Office and OneDrive iOS apps now support drag and drop for content and files. One of the most common and powerful tasks when creating content is integrating photos, graphs, and other objects from a variety of sources. Now Office 365 subscribers on iPad and iPhone can easily drag and drop content into documents, presentations, and spreadsheets from other Office apps or OneDrive. Support for drag and drop for iOS also enables you to move files to and from OneDrive and other sources—such as SharePoint or iMessage—making it easier to organize content scattered across different apps and services.

Animated image shows the drag and drop capabilities in Office and OneDrive for iOS.

Access OneDrive files from more iOS apps—OneDrive for iOS now natively supports the new iOS 11 Files app. This means iPhone and iPad users can upload, access, edit, and save content to OneDrive or SharePoint from any iOS app that supports File app integration—a top requested feature. Users can also tag their favorite OneDrive and SharePoint files from within the Files app, making it easier to find and use the content that matters to you.

Preview more file types with OneDrive for iOS—We redesigned the OneDrive for iOS app with a more detailed list view, making it easier to scan file names, see relevant information, and sort files by specific attributes. The updated OneDrive for iOS app also creates crisp thumbnails and supports previews for over 130 file types, including Adobe Photoshop and 3D objects, so you can open, view, and share the right content without leaving the app.

Search across your organization with Outlook for iOS—The new search experience in Outlook for iOS leverages the Microsoft Graph to surface results from your top contacts, upcoming travel itineraries, package deliveries, recent attachments, and more. Together with proactive search suggestions and a unified design, it now provides consistent, personalized results that enable you to discover information from across your organization faster.

Improve reading skills with Learning Tools for Mac—Word for Mac now supports Immersive Reader and Read Aloud, tools previously available in Word for Windows and mobile apps. These tools enable content to be viewed in ways that are optimized for learning differences and allow documents to be read back with simultaneous highlighting. These features make it easier to recognize and correct errors as you write, improving reading and editing accuracy for everyone—especially users with learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Additional updates

  • New ways to share on YammerEarlier this month, we introduced new ways for users to share engaging company-wide content from wherever they are with the Yammer mobile app. Users can now post announcements to groups, add animated GIFs, and more.
  • Powerful inclusive learning tools—Last week at Bett, we introduced a range of powerful new tools that make teaching and learning in schools more inclusive and collaborative, including built-in dictation across Office 365 and the expansion of Learning Tools to Mac and iPhone.

Learn more about what’s new for Office 365 subscribers this month at: Office for Windows desktops | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office for Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Monthly Channel and Semi-Annual Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through Targeted Release (Clients, Services). All updates in this blog have reached general availability and are beginning to roll out to Office 365 subscribers. Microsoft Teams updates are rolling out automatically and you can expect to see them in your Teams desktop client soon. For iOS and Mac updates, check for updates on your device. Some devices may receive these updates later than others.

Digital transformation on a global scale—Accenture runs its business on Microsoft – Office Blogs

Logo for Accenture.

Today’s post was written by Ron Markezich, corporate vice president for Microsoft.

I have known Andrew Wilson since he became Accenture CIO more than four years ago, and I continue to be impressed by what a strong IT organization he has built. Andrew not only motivates the IT organization, but he also takes a strong leadership role across the company, encouraging everyone to adopt new technology to transform the business. Just look at the stats. More than 420,000 Accenture employees in 120 countries embody the digital transformation experience. One of the first global corporations to migrate to Office 365, Accenture has 484,000 Exchange Online mailboxes. Consultants work in creative teams and stay engaged with the company through 20,000 SharePoint Online sites, and more than 25,000 employees are enthusiastic early adopters of Microsoft Teams. Cloud-first file storage is the norm, with employees enjoying mobile access to 900 million files or 2.2 petabytes of corporate data in OneDrive. And with employees racking up more than 309 million minutes of Skype for Business Online conferencing every month, it’s clear that they’re empowered to communicate on any device, when and where they need to. Mobility at this level does not come at the expense of security, because Accenture has the world’s largest deployment of Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security to manage approximately 450,000 identities and 104,000 mobile devices.

At Microsoft Ignite 2017, Brad Nyers, managing director at Accenture, walked us through the company’s global rollout of Windows 10. This will be the world’s largest Windows 10 deployment—comprising 450,000 users by the end of 2018—and it also includes Office 365 ProPlus and OneDrive. It was fascinating to hear about this latest example of Accenture using Microsoft technology to boost its own agility and productivity, so it can help drive its customers’ digital transformation stories.

To streamline the Windows 10 deployment, Accenture built the In-Place Upgrade Tool (IPU), which checks for adequate disk space and whether security tools are up to date. Employees with Windows 10–ready computers are notified via email. They follow a link to get the IPU package from OneDrive and perform the installation themselves. For employees whose devices are not ready, Accenture automatically generates remediation lists and points people to documentation that explains how to migrate their files to the cloud.

Storing data in OneDrive also helps employees who receive a new Windows 10 device. Because their data is in the cloud, when they get a new device, all they have to do is authenticate to access their information and get back to being productive. Accenture created a streamlined imaging process that layers its security tools and Office 365 ProPlus to achieve huge time savings for the company.

I’m excited to hear about the value that Microsoft technologies provide Accenture as it leads the way with a digital transformation that’s truly changing how its workforce—now 75 percent millennial—enacts the company’s mission. For a deeper dive into how “Accenture runs on Microsoft,” read the full story.

—Ron Markezich

Intelligent Retail: Top Tech Trends for 2018 and Beyond – Microsoft Enterprise

Today’s innovations in technology are opening new doors for retailers. The ability to infuse data and intelligence in all areas of a business has the potential to completely reinvent retail. Here’s a visual look at the top technologies we see enabling this transformation in 2018 and beyond, and where they’ll have the greatest impact.

2018 the year of intelligent retail- infographic

TalkTalk Telecom Group outthinks the competition by empowering employees with Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Today’s post was written by Gary Steen, chief technology officer at TalkTalk Telecom Group.

Profile picture of Gary Steen, chief technology officer at TalkTalk Telecom Group.TalkTalk Telecom Group is a value provider of telecom services in the United Kingdom. We believe that reasonably priced, reliable telecom services should be available to everyone, and we provide both businesses and consumers with landline, mobile, broadband, and many other services.

However, because we’re a value provider, we need to be creative when it comes to spending on advertising, infrastructure and other items. We win by outthinking and outmaneuvering the competition. This means enabling our people to think creatively and differently about how they approach problems.

That’s why we’re rolling out Microsoft 365 Enterprise to all our 2,500 employees. We are rethinking our entire culture of work—how decisions are made and how people work. In the past, all decisions went through our London office, and all work happened in the office. But we can’t move quickly enough with this location-bound paradigm, and we can’t attract the best people with an old-school, office-based mentality. People do their best work when they work when, where, and how they want.

So we designed and opened a brand new office in Manchester, England, where two-thirds of our U.K. employees now work. We got rid of all offices and replaced them with open collaboration spaces with Wi-Fi. We’ve made it easy for people to work together and self-form into teams to make the best decisions and make them quickly.

By deploying Microsoft 365, we’ve also made it possible for employees to be fully functional, productive, and engaged when outside the office. With Microsoft 365, working at home or in another remote location is completely on par with working in the office.

And that’s been transformative for us culturally. People can leave the office early to avoid traffic and dial into meetings from home. They can bounce out at midday to pick up their children and still review documents. This freedom is critical to employees feeling that they can be themselves and fit work into the rest of their lives.

With tools such as Skype for Business Online, we can grab one another instantly and easily. We can open documents during calls and review content in real time. We can also work more nimbly with our customers, which range from mom-and-pop shops to multinationals. We’ve federated Skype for Business Online with many of our customers, so we’re more multichannel; we can not only talk on the phone with them or send an email but also send instant messages and connect straightaway. Our customers have noticed that we’re a faster moving organization.

The fact that Microsoft 365 includes so many integrated services simplifies the workload for my team. By standardizing on Windows 10 Enterprise, we get rid of the myriad versions of Windows that we were previously supporting. Before, we were buying new systems that came with Windows 10 and downgrading the operating system to make them consistent with the rest of our estate! With Windows 10 being part of our Microsoft 365 license, we can roll it out faster and ensure that all our systems have up-to-date security, which is critical with more remote and mobile work styles.

Security is always a key consideration. Using Windows 10 in conjunction with Microsoft Intune and the other Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security services gives us the confidence that all our devices are secure. The fact that we have a multilayered approach to security with Microsoft lets us implement security patches much faster.

There is such a rapid rate of change in telecom services that we have to move quickly to stay ahead. Microsoft 365 is a critical part of our strategy to outthink, outmaneuver, and outpace our competition by empowering every one of our employees.

—Gary Steen

Read the case study for more on the TalkTalk modern workplace.