Many organisations struggle with moving to the cloud, but the cloud is here and it’s growing rapidly year by year. But how can you accelerate your cloud journey to a modern workspace and how does Workspace 365 help you to transition to the cloud?
During the webinar on Thursday May 27th, Product Evangelist Mark Grasmayer talked about why your organisation is likely to move to the cloud, what the first steps are in a cloud transition and how you can use Workspace 365 to support your journey to the cloud. In this article, we’ll discuss the highlights from this webinar.
Why do organisations transition to the cloud?
So, why do organisations move to the cloud? There are many reasons to choose from, like financial benefits and flexibility, but the three most common reasons are:
- Organisations already started their journey with Microsoft 365.
One of the reasons that organisations move to the cloud is because they’ve already started their cloud journey by moving their on-premise Exchange server to Exchange online. This caused many IT teams and business units to discover the other options that Microsoft has, like using Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop, SharePoint online and more.
- Employees expect that they can collaborate within files.
Having multiple versions of documents, or sending attachments should be a thing of the past. Everybody born after 1987 worked with cloud storage solutions during their education. That is why employees also expect the same document management functionalities at their work. They want to easily find documents, collaborate simultaneously within files and easily share documents as links. This is not possible in the file server, as it’s not designed to collaborate but is created as a file store solution.
- The rise of web applications pushes cloud adoption.
With the open web almost everyone is able to quickly register an account for LinkedIn, an online project management tool, or any other applications to simplify work. In Europe many organisations struggled with the quick adoption of WhatsApp within their organisation.. As more and more applications are launched as web applications this caused many organisations to review their existing application stack to see if they can move all their applications to the web to reduce the amount of updates, policies and to be able to quickly scale-up or down on user-licences.
Why organisations should support their legacy infrastructure
Many organisations struggle with migrating all their data into the cloud. IT leaders or other decision makers might have concerns about the security or the control over their data. In addition, there is often still a need for specific virtual applications or there are restrictions from technology, policy, legislation or industry standards that prevent organisations from making a full transition to the cloud.
And while the cloud continues to grow, it is important to realise that the long-predicted end of the virtual desktop, intranet and email is not there yet. These tools are often needed to collaborate within the organisation and to be able to work from any location and device.
The adoption of the virtual desktop
It’s good to keep in mind why you adopted the virtual desktop. The virtual desktop was created to give you secure access to applications at any location on a desktop and with limited bandwidth you could deal with security and network performance.
For parts of your employees this might still be crucial, as they might have to access a specific application while they use a desktop or when they work on different desktops but need one specific application.
A cloud workspace will give you access to all your web applications, but if you still need a legacy application on multiple devices it might be good to integrate it as a virtual app within your workspace for those employees that need it.
For large groups of employees the virtual desktop might be an expensive solution. We all know that some devices don’t really work well with the virtual desktop (try opening a virtual desktop on your mobile) and that the rise of SaaS and Microsoft 365 web applications had a big impact on the virtual desktop. So, be keen on who should access remote desktop applications and what devices they use.
Cloud journeys: blockers and movers
With Workspace 365 we have helped over 3,000 organisations in their cloud transition to a modern workspace. During these projects we have learned about what challenges or pitfalls exist and how you can overcome them. That is why we want to share the three most common blockers and movers of your transition to a modern cloud based workspace.
Blockers in a cloud transition
Blocker 1: Too much focus on the technical goal instead of the end-user goal
A common pitfall is to start a project from an IT-perspective. ‘We have to migrate our documents to SharePoint’. But why do you do this? What is your goal?
You probably want to enable people to collaborate in documents. That is your goal. So wouldn’t it be awesome if you could first enable people to collaborate in documents and after that focusing on the migration of existing content?
IT used to be purely technology-focused. Now, IT managers often involve the end-user in the project, to find out what their needs are. It’s therefore important not to lose sight of the end-user’s needs when facing technical challenges.
Blocker 2: Insufficient end-user research
Some cloud transitions are caused by the need to replace solutions or IT infrastructures that are in need of renewal. However, most often your transition starts from a business need.
And while the business might request think that ‘people want to collaborate in documents’, it is crucial to perform an end-user research. Are you sure that they want to collaborate in documents? Or can the same process be replaced using an online form in your workspace?
Blocker 3: No clear goals and deadlines
By doing the end-user research and setting up a digital workspace group, you will be able to create a clear roadmap.
We have often seen organisations wanted to implement a solution but had to wait for a month as ‘John’ was working on another project. So, it’s important to make a planning based on a roadmap, allowing employees in the digital workspace group to schedule time in their own schedules.
This way, you can formulate clear goals with these employees and set deadlines to achieve your ultimate goal. Also, the management team must be willing to priorities this process and make various resources available.
Movers in a cloud transition
Besides the blockers of your movement to the cloud, we have also recognized some steps that increased the speed of the cloud journey of organisations.
Mover 1: Begin with the desired result in mind
You need to have a clear vision on what you want to reach with moving to the cloud and what this will look like for your organisation. Especially with a digital workspace it’s important to create a vision about your workspace for the upcoming 5 years. This helps you to break it up in steps that you have to take to get there. This will help you to keep the desired result in mind.
Mover 2: Break up your journey into steps
The best and fastest projects are split up in steps. For each step your team should have a clear goal, for example:
- Step 1: simplify access to applications
- Step 2: allow people to collaborate in documents
- Step 3: migrate the old documents to the new solution.
For each step you can make people accountable and you can celebrate if you finished a step. Make sure to separate these steps in multiple levels to align them to strategic, tactical and organisational goals.
Mover 3: Evaluate your goals and keep moving
After reaching each goal, you need to evaluate what went well and what you can do better in order to reach the end goal. Did you solve a technical problem? Or did you contribute to the work processes within the organisation.
It is important to continuously monitor whether technical problems have been solved and to check how your employees experience it and whether it saves them time.
To quote Laurens Holtkamp, our head of technical success ‘It’s not about implementing a new infrastructure, your goal is to conquer complexity’.
It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s an ongoing process. Continuously improving is key!
Framework to the digital workspace
To ensure a smooth transition to the cloud, you can follow the steps below.
Step 1: Start a team and visualise your ideal workspace
The first step is to start a digital transformation team. With this team you’ll create goals for each persona in your organisation.
Within this step you have to do a lot of research to create an image of your ideal workspace. Many organisations hire an experienced consultant, UX researcher or Managed Service Provider to help with this step, someone who is able to identify the biggest IT frustrations among your employees. Sometimes an experienced employee within your IT department can also help with this step.
With the information from the survey, you can create a digital employee journey that will help you with making choices for your transition to the cloud.
Do you want more information about selecting the right digital workspace team? Read our article ‘The roles and responsibilities in a great project team’.
Step 2: Simplify access to applications
After creating a digital workspace group and setting up goals, many organisations start by researching if they can simplify access to applications. This step usually introduces major wins (sometimes even cutting down access to applications from 8+ minutes to just a couple of seconds).
In this step you’ll map what applications are relevant for employee groups, set up Single Sign-On to those applications and integrate your web-, virtual- and local applications within your digital workspace.
(When you use Workspace 365, you are able to setup conditional access. This will display applications based on people their role, location, device, browser, and more).
Step 3: Unite information, documents and news
When you’ve already taken your first steps, you’ll probably notice that your ideal workspace is now coming together. Often the access to applications is centralised, creating one place where people start their work.
Uniting documents and simplifying collaboration
For most companies, the next steps is to also unite their file server and cloud documents in one place. With Workspace 365 we allow organisations to offer one document app in which they can access their archive on their file server, while also being able to access files from SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive in one uniform Document App.
One place for news, social feeds and notifications
When you have all your applications and documents available in one place, you are 100% sure that employees visit their workspace on each working day.
That is why many corporate communication and HR leaders also choose to integrate their existing intranet and/or social feeds within the workspace (or even decide to use our CMS). This helps them to increase news consumption for front-line (deskless) and distributed workers.
Step 4: Improving processes and increasing self-service
The last step we usually see for the digital workspace is to improve the level of self-service and improving work processes of employees.
Improving work processes
In this step organisations identify and integrate the most common processes or secondary processes that interrupt work.
For example, with Workspace 365 organisations are able to integrate their ticketing solution within a tile in the workspace. This allows people to quickly create a ticket when they experience problems, want to request work clothing, etcetera.
We have also seen many educational institutions that offer student information within the workspace and health care organisations that display the work schedule, client records and protocols within tiles in their workspace.
Onboarding and software adoption for distributed and deskless workers
A lot of customers created a space within Workspace 365 to onboard new employees and increase the adoption among distributed workers. In this space they combined social feeds, video playlists, a how-to tile, a document folder and announcements to help people. During the global lockdown we noticed that a lot of our customers shifted their communication tools to video.
Another way to increase adoption and support distributed workers is to include a chat-bot or real support chat within your workspace. By doing this, people have technical help wherever they are.
Self-service for employees
Organisations often include tools in the workspace to request applications, work clothing, etc. within their workspace. They often integrate this within the workspace to prevent that people have to ask their colleagues to whom they should go to request anything. This brings all their processes united in one workspace.
Celebrate each step with your employees
After each step you want to make a clear decision on what you want to communicate with your organisation. What did you do, what did it solve and what is the next step? The bigger the step, the more people should be involved in the celebrations.
You should also celebrate it with your team to keep them involved and enthusiastic about the transition to the cloud and your ultimate digital workspace.
How does Workspace 365 support your transition to the cloud?
A step that we usually see, is that customers integrate their traditional IT and their new IT environment in the workspace. This allows our customers to unite all their applications to one portal.
One of the benefits of the workspace is that admins can set conditions on the access to applications. So, you don’t have to offer everything on any device, but you set conditions to show applications based on a person’s role, device, browser and more.
With Microsoft 365 we use Azure AD we connect Single Sign-On to the web applications. That way, you can access all your web applications into the workspace with one single click, for example:
- Nutanix Frame
- Windows Virtual Desktop
- Citrix applications
- And more!
Within Workspace 365 you can also integrate your fileserver together with OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams in our Document Management System, allowing you to easily transition to the cloud.
Key highlights and takeaways
These are the most important highlight of the transition to the cloud webinar:
- Create a digital workspace group
- Begin with the desired result in mind
- Set clear deadlines
- Evaluate and keep going!
We understand that it’s difficult to take the first step to transition to the cloud. That’s why we’re here to help you. You can always contact one of our expert or request a free demo!
Kelly van der Horst
If you have any questions about Workspace 365, feel free to contact us!
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