Working better for businesses
Trust and productivity
Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Russell Sheldon, chief information officer, senior vice president for HR consulting, application services and global technology.
At NGA Human Resources (NGA HR), the way we engage with our employees—and what we believe it takes to be a great employer—centers around building a positive employee experience. This is what we do on a daily basis for our customers, and it’s equally true for our internal operations.
When new employees join the business, regardless of location or job function, it is vital that they feel part of our global organization. (We operate in more than 35 countries, serving customers in more than 145 countries in 25 languages.) All employees need to be connected, engaging in the company culture that drives our success as a business.
In the digital economy, technology, location and time zones should not be a barrier to productivity. Given our global presence, using technology that promotes worldwide collaboration is critical. In turn, collaboration and the sharing of ideas are paramount to fostering talent. We enact our belief that employees everywhere should feel connected to their organization and that they should be able to work as easily together as they do individually.
Our corporate objective is to make HR work better for businesses. To do this, we have to make the workplace a great place for people to work. For example, we rely on the same HR and payroll platform internally that we use to empower millions of our customers’ employees around the world.
As a business and a services provider, NGA HR has a policy of investing in innovative technologies that drive business efficiencies and improve the employee experience, while continuing to adhere to the strictest compliance requirements.
That is why, when our G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) contract came up for renewal, we took the time to evaluate what we require as a global organization. We reviewed the market for cloud-based business tools that would help us achieve the scope of global collaboration and individual productivity that we want for our employees, yet still maintain the highest level of data security.
We selected Microsoft Office 365 and migrated our back-office applications and internal collaboration platform from Google to Office 365. We believe that Office 365 presents more aligned business services that will make it easier for us to grow, develop, and most importantly, retain our talent. Employees want to work for an organization that uses technology to improve their work experience so they can collaborate and innovate more effectively to contribute to its growth. This is the inherent value of effective business productivity tools.
A perfect example comes from our chief executive officer, Adel Al-Saleh. Today, he uses Skype for Business Online to host video calls with our 300 global leaders, something that was not possible before. Now the leadership team meets more frequently, using interactive virtual discussions to speed decision making on a global scale. I run a team of approximately 2,000 people around the world. I use Skype for Business Online to connect in real time with 30 of my senior managers, dramatically reducing the time and cost of business travel and freeing up my time and budget for allocation to more strategic requirements. Also, now that we can rely on the de facto industry standard for office collaboration, our commercial teams are responding to RFPs and collaborating on documents more efficiently than ever.
Because Microsoft includes intuitive collaborative capabilities throughout Office 365, it’s easy to be productive. You can kick off a Skype for Business Online call from your inbox and access all Office documents from any device. Now mobile employees stay in touch with work using minimal effort.
The fact that we had more than 8,000 employees regularly active on our Yammer enterprise social network just four weeks after we went live demonstrates that Google was not addressing the need we had for companywide collaboration. Today, we have listened to our employees, and we are providing them with the same ease of communication and access to data that they are used to at home.
Also, with Office 365, we can maintain a hybrid environment. This is hugely advantageous to us when working with customers whose data cannot leave their geographic borders. NGA HR manages the payroll data of millions of employees around the world every year, so we take data security very seriously. We can assure all customers that Office 365 meets our internal compliance mandate and European data privacy standards. It adheres to the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (A29WP) opinion on cloud computing around basic principles of transparency, purpose limitation, data retention, access and disclosure restriction. We also took into consideration the positive opinion of A29WP on the Microsoft Cloud business solution, in line with European data transfer and protection clauses.
Our relationship with Microsoft got off to an incredible start with the highly successful implementation of Office 365. Thanks to the close collaboration among NGA HR, the Microsoft FastTrack team and Microsoft partner Content and Code, we migrated 8,000 employees across the globe, with all their data, in just 12 weeks.
The deployment and change management expertise of the FastTrack team helped us meet our strict deadline, imposed by the expiration of the Google contract, with comfortable breathing space. With a minimal learning curve, everyone in the organization is more mobile, connected and agile. The feedback from employees is positive, and we are already seeing great results. Today, NGA HR is looking forward to even greater collaboration and localization of our global business.