"Digital workplace" is a hot topic in today's business environment. The abilities to support remote working and seamless collaboration among employees at different work sites have become a key component of any digital transformation initiatives.
Although having the right software and cloud technologies is important, many overlook the foundation of implementing a secure and efficient digital workplace -- the endpoints and the end-user experience.
This is one of the main challenges faced by our long-term client of 20+ years, a multinational energy transportation company when they needed to implement a digital workplace program throughout their 200+ sites in North America.
The digital workplace program was a top 5 priority at the CIO level in 2018. After partnering with us, it was named the top 2 most successfully executed programs in the organization in early 2020. Here's how we set a solid foundation for this digital workplace program.
Project Background: Device Lifecycle Management at Scale
Before 2018, we have been performing lifecycle management for this client as a managed services provider. When they needed to upgrade all the endpoint devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10 for the entire organization, they put out a bid to their vendor marketplace.
The RFP request for upgrading 20,000 machines (after validation it turned out to be around 13,000) was a competitive process, which we completed without any external partnership. We won the project in winter 2018 thanks to various factors. Besides the long-term partnership and trust we have built over the past two decades, we also have the capabilities to cover the project's broad-scale requirements.
We were able to fulfill the project scope, which required the provider to cover over 200+ locations throughout North America -- including very remote sites -- by having boots on the ground to ensure that endpoint devices get to every location and every employee, as well as being set up properly.
Implementing a Digital Workplace with Global Field Services
As part of the strategic priorities, the client needed to roll out a digital workplace program that includes the Microsoft 365 stack. However, there's a dependency on endpoints, which had to be upgraded to Windows 10 for the MS 365 model to be effective.
As such, the client needed to modernize their end-user support model to accommodate their digital workplace program. Not to mention, Windows 7, the operating system that the client was using at that time, was running out of support. They needed to move to Windows 10 quickly to achieve an acceptable level of security.
However, the large and dispersed footprint of the client's operation posed many challenges. They needed a global field and procurement services expert to manage their end-user support effectively and ensure that all the devices are up-to-date.
Now you may wonder, if everything is turning digital, why do we still need boots on the ground?
The need to support a digital workplace translates into an explosion of devices. To enable every employee to participate in a digital workplace, we need to start with digital devices (e.g., laptop, mobile device, tablet) -- an essential component that forms the foundation of any digital transformation initiatives. The Compugen global field services offer the capability to reach every geographic region in North America to support the client's entire workforce and the mobilization of teams across the continent. This distinguished us from many vendors, which didn't have the infrastructure and ability to do so.
How Global Field Services Support Digitalization
No matter how much you digitalize, you need a foundation to handle the explosion of devices by partnering with a vendor that can support employees across multiple locations.
Our client leveraged our procurement channels and methodologies to support workplace digitalization from acquisition to deployment. We staged, built, and integrated machines seamlessly across North America in our facilities and partner facilities, then get the devices to the hands of the end-users.
Although the minimum requirement of the RFP was for rolling out Windows 10 with a hardware component, we were able to take the initiative a step further because we're not only a service provider but also a reseller. As such, we fulfilled the client's needs in both procurement and deployment, expanding to a scope akin to lifecycle management to achieve even higher cost-efficiency.
The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of its Parts
Such an end-to-end process delivers benefits that can't be achieved by implementing piecemeal solutions. These include:
Enhanced supportability: The platform utilizes our comprehensive structure to help our client modernize ongoing support.
Increased productivity: We provide training and education as part of the digital workplace program so end-users can use the technologies most productively.
Improved security: Thanks to the increased control over endpoints, which is a key to IT security, our client is able to improve their security posture.
The Key to Successful Digital Workplace Implementation
This digital workplace initiative was a pivotal point in our client's technology journey.
As companies expand their digital transformation strategy, most will invest in cloud computing capabilities, such as Microsoft 365. The deployment of cloud technologies means that you no longer have to worry about upgrading software. Instead, you need to decide how you'll utilize various features (e.g., Sharepoint, Team, OneDrive, etc.) and orchestrate ongoing end-user support to achieve optimal productivity.
The foundation of your ability to fully utilize the latest software and platforms start with the endpoints -- providing every employee the right devices that are configured to support the latest technologies.
So how can you get the most of your investment?
The rise of the digital workplace and cloud computing is changing the scope of device lifecycle management, which has to go beyond the operating system that you're running at any given moment to understanding strategically how the endpoints are enabling your digitalization initiatives.
Implementing a robust cloud platform, such as Microsoft 365 won't do any good if employees aren't adopting the technologies. To support enablement and usage, you need to start from the endpoints where end-users do their jobs.