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19

Mar

Things you can do right now to enable remote working

The impact of COVID-19 is causing many organisations to consider how to work remotely. In this blog, we offer advice and practical, rapid assistance to help enable your organisation to maintain business continuity, productivity and connectivity, wherever you and your teams may be.

Some suggestions to get you started right away:

  1. Enable collaboration:  we can set up a fully-featured six month trial of Office 365
  2. Single source of truth: if you already have Office 365 but aren’t ready for remote working, we can do a rapid deployment of Teams and SharePoint and help you migrate content
  3. Optimise & secure: if you have Office 365 and are already remote working, we can support you with network traffic optimisation, security hardening and governance
  4. Business process: we can rapidly deploy business forms and process to help you engage with customers and staff
  5. Manage the change: we can build a Change Management communications plan for you and provide training, enablement and support, in real time, remotely

Microsoft 365 is the obvious business platform of choice for many organisations, but, creating a suitable “modern workplace” can take considerable time in terms of planning, design and roll-out, depending on your current state of implementation. Three particularly significant areas are architecture, governance and change management.

  1. Architecture: the dependencies and complexities between Teams and other Office 365 components including SharePoint, OneDrive, Information Protection is often not fully understood. Understanding how your business works now and needs to work in the future, and then designing an architecture to encompass people, process, information and technology, is an essential first step.

  2. Governance: yes, we can switch on Teams quickly today, but if we have no controls in place, we may find that Teams (and dependent SharePoint Sites) are rapidly created on an ad-hoc basis, leading to a complex, organic overgrowth of Teams and Sites – with the attendant compliance risks – which could be extremely complex to clean up later.

  3. Change management: switching on technology is relatively simple, but having people adopt and use it effectively is a much greater challenge. The starting point here is often a high-level adoption plan around communications, training and support.

How quickly you might progress toward effective remote working depends on your current state. Let’s consider three progressive levels of current state to Microsoft 365 enablement:

Foundation infrastructure not enabled

These foundational steps (at least networking and identity) are essential pre-requisites:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/enterprise/deploy-microsoft-365-enterprise?view=o365-worldwide

If these aren’t in place, you might still be able to leverage Teams to assist with remote working, depending on the nature and size of your organisation. If you’re an Exchange-Only, Dynamics 365-only, Business 365 customer with up to 1,000 users, or even if you don’t have Office 365 at all, we can set up a six-month trial for you to get the full Teams experience. Coupled with our Teams “fast start” architecture and governance offerings (below) this could get you up and running quickly whilst also getting onto the “on-ramp” for full future Office 365 usage.

We can also provide online forms and workflow hosted outside of your office network, to help you engage with customers and staff.

Foundational infrastructure in place, limited business enablement

In this level, you’ve enabled the foundational infrastructure (at least networking and identity) and have enabled Exchange, OneDrive for Business, Teams and SharePoint but are not using these consistently or effectively. You want to quickly facilitate remote working as quickly as possible. In this situation, we can offer a Teams “fast start”, comprising an automated build of a basic corporate information architecture, for Microsoft Teams and dependent SharePoint Sites, and a simple “on request” governance solution for your people to request what they need and then, subject to business approval, have that automatically created on a “best practice” basis. This will help to balance the demand for quick, responsive action, against the need for control and management.

This can be implemented within five business days as a baseline starting point. We’d continue working with you to make incremental improvements and provide support.

Foundational infrastructure in place, mature business enablement

In this level, you’ve enabled the foundational infrastructure and are using Teams and SharePoint and are using them effectively. You might find that the “Crisis Communication Power App”, with push notifications is something that, combined with Teams, helps you communicate more precisely and on a more timely basis with your people. Last week Microsoft released this crisis communication app to reduce the impact of COVID-19 by enabling staff to share status updates. You can read about it here. 

https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/crisis-communication-a-power-platform-template/

If your people are able to work remotely, one unexpected issue might be the effect on network traffic; the sudden switch of connectivity model for the majority of users typically has a significant impact on the corporate network infrastructure which may have been scaled and designed before any major cloud service was rolled out and in some cases, not designed for a situation when it is required simultaneously by all users. Microsoft has provided some valuable guidance around optimising Office 365 network traffic, to reduce the load on your network:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/office-365-blog/how-to-quickly-optimize-office-365-traffic-for-remote-staff-amp/ba-p/1214571

For any of the above scenarios, Change Management is still a critical consideration. Our two-day workshop – delivered remotely, if necessary - will provide you with an Adoption Plan so you have a structured approach to Adoption for Microsoft Teams. Beyond just helping your people to quickly understand the basics of working in a way that might be very unfamiliar to them, providing advice about how to work effectively from home might also be helpful:

https://jayhyett.wordpress.com/2020/03/15/10-helpful-tips-for-working-remotely/

Finally, you may want to consider how a virtual, cloud-based Windows desktop might help you work remotely, you can read more here.

You can get in touch with us if you would like to discuss anything we have covered off in more detail.

 

This blog is part of the #ReimagineWork series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download our datasheets, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download our datasheets, click the banner #datareimagine

Posted by: Doug Baxter, Solution Specialist | 19 March 2020

Tags: Office 365, Contingency Plan, Continuity Plan, COVID-19, Emergency Response, Remote work, #ReimagineWork


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