Pete is a VP of Technology at ThreeWill. Pete’s primary role is driving the overall technology strategy and roadmap for ThreeWill. Pete also serves as ThreeWill’s Hiring Manager and is constantly looking for new talent to join the ThreeWill family.
Pete Fritz is a Principal Consultant at ThreeWill. He has over 20 years of experience with creating innovative IT services & solutions at enterprise scale.
Tommy serves as the President at ThreeWill. In this role, he works with his leadership team to hire the best people, find the right business opportunities, and ensure that ThreeWill delivers for our clients on projects.
Danny serves as Vice President of Marketing at ThreeWill. His primary responsibilities are to make sure that we are building partnerships with the right clients and getting out the message about how we can help clients.
Find this Podcast “Roundtable Discussion – What is a Digital Workplace Briefing?” on the ThreeWill Soundcloud, Stitcher, and iTunes.
|Danny Ryan:||Hello, and welcome to the Work Together Better Podcast. This is your host, Danny Ryan. I’m here with my other co-host, Tommy Ryan. How are you doing, Tommy?|
|Tommy Ryan:||I’m doing well, Danny.|
|Danny Ryan:||Awesome. We’re going to do a round table, another round table, but this looks a little bit more like a square table, who knows? (chuckling) We’ve got a couple, the Pete and the re-Pete. Hey guys, how’s it goin’?|
|Pete Skelly:||It’s goin’ well.|
|Danny Ryan:||Great, great. Thanks for joining me. I wanted to, we’ve been having some discussions about digital workplaces and specifically digital workplaces for Office 365 and I’ve had this come up a bit where we’re, we’ve been talking about the briefings that we do for customers and I wanted just to focus this session in on discussing what those briefings are. So, [inaudible] or however you pronounce his last name thing and start with why, which is you know, why are we doing these? Where did this come from, where did the briefings, the digital workplace briefings come from? Why are we doing these?|
|Pete Skelly:||So, I can start on that. I think part of the reason we started with a digital workplace briefing was in discussing with customers how to you know, get the most out of their investments, not just in Office 365, but in IT investments overall. There was a lot of confusion around the term “digital workplace”, and so some customers were, well is it a new Internet, is it just a rebranding? If I’m migrating to Office 365, is that really a digital workplace? And I think the first reason to sort of take a step back and not try to “boil the ocean” with let’s do a full-blown workshop, because we do a digital workplace workshop.|
|It was to take a step back and say, well what is a digital workplace? And to ask, what does a digital workplace mean to a customer? Because very frequently their definition is not, does not align with our expectation or potentially aligns, but they may have a very narrow definition. Where I think for us, the definition is not just Office 365. Yes, that’s a major component for us.|
|Pete Skelly:||But very frequently what were trying to do is, and we’ll get to this, is one of the main reasons is to A. Why you’re going to move to a digital workplace. And that often has multiple, you know, there’s multiple objectives.|
|So, really it’s to start and gain an understanding and kind of lend some clarity to what is a digital workplace, and what does a customer think that digital workplace is? And then the second goal is really to start getting customers to think about where are they in what we call, a digital workplace maturity level. So where are they on this spectrum of, you know, do they have a very simplistic Internet today?|
Are they still using file shares, for example? Or are they pushing the limits and trying to you know, kind of increase adoption by managing by metrics. So are they really looking analytics for certain things? Are they trying drive a business process, and improve a business process?
|So I think it’s really two-fold is A. To educate them on, well where are they personally in their digital workplace journey? And the second is to help them define really what a digital workplace is.|
|Yeah, and on that topic of, you know you mentioned why Danny in the beginning, what we found with organizations is sometimes they jump to the features right away and get bogged down and, you know, all the things that they can do, and which one should I do first?|
|You know, which ones could be important to our organization? We like to move back in the chain of that thought process, of what you eventually arrive on to “enable a feature”, which is thinking about the why and the why of, you know, what is your organization like? What type of culture are you trying to create?|
What are the challenges you face in the marketplace and how you communicate to people internally and externally and think about you know, the why is gonna drive what you do in the platform, but if you don’t start with the why of you know, what makes your organization unique and how you wanna continue to preserve that uniqueness in the marketplace, you’re gonna start just enabling features and creating a bunch of things that don’t really come together in a cohesive way to enable the organization. And there’s always competing needs and funds so, you really wanna put as much energy behind the things that are gonna move the needle for your company.
|So this, a lot of times when I’m out talking to customers, what will trigger me to say, maybe we should consider a digital workplace briefing, is if they’re saying, oh, SharePoint or Office 365 has all these neat things, I’m not sure if I’m using it right, I don’t know what to do. It seems likes I’m wasting the money that I’m spending on this because I’m not really getting the capability out of it and so they wanna jump to, how do I do work flow, how do I create a custom form?|
Well you know, those what’s are easy to determine and figure out, what the hard work is stepping back and understanding why you wanna do that in the first place.
|Danny Ryan:||Mm-hmm (affirmative). Re-Pete any thoughts on this?|
|Pete Fritz:||Yeah, I mean that’s exactly right. When you know, a lot of the why’s that we’ve heard from customers over time that can be, the sort of, it kind of depends if you’re coming from an IT perspective or if you’re coming from a business perspective in your organization, you know, it’s very role specific and it’s just some of the examples we’ve heard over time are.|
Maybe I have an existing Internet, which you know, is a good part of your communication infrastructure for, to support your internal communications team or your HR teams and a lot of times, they’re trying to drive increased employee engagement or maybe they’re trying to get more of a modern communication tools out and better quality of content and ensuring the people are engaged and socially engaged, enabling them to provide content to the rest of the organization also to share ideas and knowledge.
|And then you have kind of the other side of things, if you’re really focused in on you know, maybe the organizational structure has lots of silos of information, you’re tryin’ to break those down, or maybe teams are talking very well together or coordinating very well between projects. Well, that’s more on the collaboration and communication side of things and you know, obviously there’s a great suite of tools within Office 365 to help you break down those silos information, get people sharing information with the right sized audiences, whether it’s a large audience or your immediate team, and then enabling things like sharing of knowledge within the team itself, on a very fast paced basis while you’re building things.|
|So those are kind of the, maybe the underlying business reasons and then of course, there’s IT reasons, too. Security, or operational reasons to reduce risk. You might wanna drive automation and integration with back-end systems which the suite of Office 365 tools really allows you all sorts of different options with, without really writing a whole lot of code in a lot of cases. And so, ultimately, there’s a lot of different drivers for investing in a digital workplace and the why should drive your provision of where you wanna go first, and how you get there is something we can help with the workshop.|
|Danny Ryan:||Awesome. So, moving from the why to sort of the what, what is a briefing? Like can you guys put some sort of, is this a certain amount of time that we’re spending toward this, is it virtual? Is it, just sort of define for me the what of the briefing piece of this is.|
|Pete Skelly:||So, the briefing really is designed, you know, maybe take it from the who first, so the audience really is probably C-suite leadership, IT decision makers, line of business stakeholders. Folks that may have heard the term digital workplace and they’re the ones maybe making the investments, but they’re not sure, okay, how is this really gonna fit?|
|The timing for this is, it’s a briefing, right? It’s an hour to maybe two hours maximum. And typically what we’ll try to do is, over lunch, you know, lunch hour typically tends to work for a lot of folks and so you can get some pretty good attendance. We prefer to do them in person, it gives us the ability to do, you know, be a little bit more interactive and get some good questions going. This is really designed to be a conversation starter, not a, you know, we’re telling you everything. We’re trying to figure out and help you explain, well, why are you looking to invest in a digital workplace?|
|And kinda there’s really maybe three objectives. We’re trying to raise awareness, so what are your key reasons? What are you opportunities, the characteristics of your business? And those things are gonna be unique, those are not you know, we can’t be prescriptive in those, we’ve gotta, as Pete said, you’ve gotta come in and figure out why? Like are you trying to increase customer engagement or are you trying to increase your capability to train your staff? Are you trying to increase field workers productivity, what’s your objective, right?|
|And that’s helping you discover, that’s the second thing, really helping you discover what are your highest impact opportunities? ‘Cause this is a journey, what we’re tryin’ to say is, this is not a, digital workplace is not a project, right? It is an ongoing journey, you’re gonna have many projects. It’s gonna be, it’s gonna have a life, right? So we’re trying to figure out, what’s the why and discover what are your high impact opportunities?|
|Pete Skelly:||You know, taking advantage of the licensing your paying is a big thing. But, what are the big things, it’s called a digital workplace for a reason, right? It’s there to get people to enable getting work done. Virtually, anywhere, anytime, right? So, words mean something in this definition. (chuckling) So, the final thing is, we try to go through and take some scenarios and go through okay, we’re not gonna be able to define your why in an hour, right?|
|Pete Skelly:||But, it’s thinking about that. And then the next step is to sort of prime the pumps with some best practices and some road maps and discuss, okay, if you’re looking for employee engagement, what does that road map look like or what does that maturity model look like from you know, basic usage to advanced, strategic, and visionary? And so if we look at that, we can give you some examples, and it’s to a certain extent, it’s poisoning the well a little bit, but people think best with an image of well, what’s somebody else doing? And it’s a very frequent request. You know, what do you do with other customers or what do others in my industry, how are they progressing in this?|
|So it’s really to kind of look at decision makers and you know, a very brief one to two hour time frame, and then really kind of raise awareness, make sure that we’re kind of guiding you to identify some high impact opportunities, and just demonstrate or show some best practices or some road maps of what do others or what do some scenarios look like from a maturity level?|
|Danny Ryan:||Great. And you, that what a great point about the who for this. So you were mentioning the different types of rules, is it a certain department we’re working with or is any, is this the communications department, or is this certain departments that are interested in these types of briefings?|
|Pete Skelly:||I think it spans an organization. Typically it’s gonna start with some folks in the IT arena, or from C-Suite, you’re probably talking a CIO has a major initiative or the Director of Marketing might have a major initiative. So it’s probably gonna be somebody that’s trying to figure out, how do I best utilize what we’re paying for, right? And quickly, I think most folks realize once we start having the conversation that we’re not just talking about you know, kinda this single, vertical. We’re talking about, how do you get work done?|
Well, work doesn’t occur just in one kind of silo set of technologies, right? So, we’re gonna start to look at well, how do I find things? That’s gonna be CIO territory, right? Well, how do I market things internally, how am I gonna have programs? You’re starting to talk marketing, how am I gonna look at employee adoption? How are people finding benefits information and HR processes?
|So it spans multiple organizations. And it’s not tool specific, it’s not technology specific, either. So, we’re not trying to say, hey, you’re you know, we’re gonna focus primarily on Office 365 and getting the most out of that, but immediately you’re gonna start to look at, well, how do I integrate with an HR system or if I’m sales, how am I integrating with a CRM system to get everybody to be more effective and have more impact.|
|Danny Ryan:||Mm-hmm. How does this relate to the workshop itself and are, the workshop is more of, it’s a longer format? It’s just you’re now instead of just trying to initially define things or does a briefing like prepare you for a workshop or how does that work?|
|Pete Skelly:||Sort of sets the stage for a workshop, correct.|
|Pete Skelly:||Yeah, I think one of the things we’ve found when we started to do the workshop was folks, we’re coming in asking questions that folks typically have not started to think about.|
|Pete Skelly:||So you know they’re, what’s gonna be on their mind typically is, well, how do I use Flow? How do I use Teams? And those are not the questions they should be asking first. So, getting a briefing and saying, really what you wanna be thinking is what are the business objectives that I have? What business outcomes do I have to Pete’s earlier point, what are the, what are my major goals for the year? What are my major business objectives for the year?|
And, if you start thinking about those and you start laying out, well what are the metrics that I’m being tracked on? What’s my business objectives for the year? I’m gonna start thinking in those terms and thinking about what business outcomes you want, and then that helps us come in and you’re more prepared to kinda answer the questions we’re gonna start with in a workshop. ‘Cause we’re gonna try to map out, well, where do you wanna go? And that’s not necessarily starting you know it’s, we’re not trying to put technology first, so.
|Danny Ryan:||And Tommy, you’ve seen this, this has been great for even just, existing customers that we’re working with as far as just getting, it sounds like getting some things defined initially, starting to put some structure around why we’re doing these different things. You see this as being something we would do with a brand new customer or is it primarily we’re offering this to existing customers or how does that fit into this?|
|Tommy Ryan:||It’s really not limited to existing or new customers, it really is people that have this kind of need to increase the impact that they’re collaboration stack has on the organization. So, we’re running these with new customers, we’re running it existing customers, a lot of times it does hit the timing with people doing a migration to the Cloud.|
|Tommy Ryan:||Because it broadens your capability, it makes you rethink about how to use the technology and there’s kind of this immediate thought of, well, how do I map a SharePoint Designer 2010 work flow to flow on Office 365? And what are the differences in capability and all good questions you know, when it gets to some of the lock and tackle of getting things done, but it doesn’t tell you what you should be doing.|
|And what we find is, we’re really working hard at helping organizations kinda put themselves in more of a quadrant to mindset of I’m not just letting this migration drive changing or putting things in Office 365 and enabling things, I’m thinking about what are the things that are important to our organization that I need to think about as we’re going through this transformation and so when I start prioritizing what I can and can’t do, it’s mapping back to a use case, a business case that informs them of yeah, this is the wise thing to do, versus you know, I’m just trying to mentally move everything over that I have today.|
|And when you think about migrations and things like content, your high value is bringing over less content is thinking about, what is the, maybe 20% of my content that has 80% of the impact on my organization, if I can just bring that over and archive the rest, then I’m gonna have a more productive environment. And that’s the same with maybe how you automated things, the kind of applications that you built, well, that was back ten years ago, now there’s a different way of looking at these things and we wanna put an emphasis on improving those things that are gonna make an impact.|
‘Cause I find that sometimes you just spend money on moving it and putting the same capability in the destination and that doesn’t serve you well because you’re really not innovating, you’re not you know, having a next generation Internet or next generation communciation portal that is gonna you know, make a difference and prove from where you were before.
|And migrations are expensive so if you’re gonna make that move, make that move and have an impact, a very positive impact. Not just, lift and shift what you have today.|
|Danny Ryan:||So, wrap us up here. Pete Fritz, what do you take are the primary benefits of doing something like this briefing?|
|Pete Fritz:||I think what it does, it sets you up for success in understand where your gaps are, understanding how a digital workplace can really improve the impact based on specific objectives you have and if there’s multiple roles in the conversation then each one of those roles are folks that might be different department in your organization may have a different set of rules or maybe a different set of priorities and also helps kind of understand that as a group so that you can kind of define the priorities as an organization and how that, and also see maybe a little bit the tendencies between them. Like, you know, also opportunities between them.|
So, I think that’s what, it’s really also very informative too, because it lets you as an organization understand the benefits and the visibility into what a really high performing digital workplace looks like and unless you see what it could be in your organization.
|Danny Ryan:||That’s awesome. Well thank you guys for this round table discussion. Couple things before we jump off, one is I wanna point out on our website, we have a portion of the website for our guides and I wanna point out there’s a digital workplace guide, we call it the Ultimate Guide to Office 365 Digital Workplaces, I know it’s not just Office 365, but we’re using it as a hook for us. (chuckling) That’s an important component of digital workplace, so we’ve got that up on the website.|
|If you’re interested in one of these briefing, just quite simply go to the Contact Us page and just put in there, it’s got your first name, last name, your e-mail address and then it says, you know how can we help? And just say you’re interested in a digital workplace briefing and that will fire off an email to me and I will get things moving inside of Three Will to get something scheduled.|
And I appreciate you guys doing this, I think it’s wonderful, I think in alone, just getting everybody on the same page with some of these terms is a good thing and talking about possibilities and talking about sort of where you are as an organization, I can see a lot of benefit in that. So, thank you guys for takin’ the time to do this, appreciate you takin’ time out of your busy schedules to do this. Thank you everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Thank you, buh-bye.
|Tommy Ryan:||Bye, bye.|