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Roundtable Discussion – What is a Digital Workplace?

Pete Fritz( Principal Consultant )

Pete Fritz is a Principal Consultant at ThreeWill. He has over 20 years of experience with creating innovative IT services & solutions at enterprise scale.

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.

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.

Danny:Hello and welcome to the ThreeWill podcast. We have been calling this the Two Bald Brothers and a Microphone podcast because it’s been Tom and I covering a lot of different subjects. More recently, we’ve been doing a lot of discussions about work together better. And I think this is a good time in which, especially with the subject that we’re covering today, that we’re going to be transitioning over and calling it the Work Together Better podcast. So I want to welcome you to the podcast, and today I am excited to have three other folks with me to cover some important topics today. Some good stuff where we’re going to get into some definitions and some good meat and potatoes about digital workplaces. So with that, the other bald brother is here with me, Tommy how are you doing?

 

Tommy:I’m doing pretty good. Hanging in there.

 

Danny:Pretty good?

 

Tommy:Yeah.

 

Danny:Not dead yet, huh?

 

Tommy:That’s right. Not dead yet.

 

Danny:There you go. Kicking in there. And then we’ve got two Petes. We’ve got Pete [Skelly 00:01:09]. Hey Pete Skelly. How are you?

 

Pete S.:I’m doing well, how are you.

 

Danny:Good. And then we have re-Pete. One Pete was not enough. We had to have another Pete. So we’ve got, and we’ll just refer to him as re-Pete. We have Pete Fritz. Hey Pete Fritz [crosstalk 00:01:26]. How are you doing?

 

Pete F.:I’m doing great. Great to be here.

 

Danny:So well, welcome to the first ThreeWill podcast that you’ve been on here. Excited to have you on the team. I guess to get us kicked off here, I’d love to, even for myself and for others, get a little bit of a back story. What led you to being here at ThreeWill, and just a little bit of your background if you don’t mind before we get started here?

 

Pete F.:Sure. I’ll try to not tell you the whole life story, but I guess the one that’s a relevant data point to start with is I was a tour guide, and also I worked at a driving company driving shuttles in Vale, Colorado for a number of years. That doesn’t really have relevance to digital workplace except for in that job, I was asked to do an intranet using FrontPage back in the day.

 

Pete F.:So you know, a lot of things happened after that particular job of mine. I ended up moving to Seattle after working in Dillingham, Alaska with my girlfriend for a number of years, and where I learned how to code, take it up a level from FrontPage into something else. And after that, ended up through the dot not boom as a developer role. And then ended up in Microsoft.

 

Pete F.:So I ended up in Microsoft in architect and development roles for over a decade, which is a really amazing place to be. And towards the end of that activity, where I was kind of lucky enough to be an architect, an enterprise architect and play a solution architect role and information architect role. I got a lot of experience with a lot of different platforms, and vertical, business verticals.

 

Pete F.:I ended up actually running a number of SharePoint farms for the Microsoft supply chain. They were on premise. They had intranet. There was also PLM application on their. They were, let’s just say when you talk about a digital workplace, they had pretty much everything going for them internally. Luckily, or maybe we were moving to the cloud at the time, so I was glad to be one of the guys, not about building more and more on prems. More about taking all that goodness and pushing it into the cloud. So I was part of that.

 

Pete F.:And that after that, I strangely ended up at a company named [Unilee 00:03:46], which is kind of the intranet in a box back in the day. Three years ago they weren’t really an intranet in a box, but they had done a lot of custom, very custom intranets built on SharePoint. So I did a lot of consulting for them. But as they matured, they decided to kind of move out of the consulting world and build their own product intranet in a box, which is now, Unilee. It integrates tightly with Office 365.

 

Pete F.:But I was lucky enough to have some good, good time with that. So it’s interesting how my career over 20 years, it was started was this FrontPage intranet, and ended up as out of the box intranet on the cloud platform.

 

Pete F.:So here I’m at ThreeWill and really excited to be here because I’ll be spending some time migrating from various cloud platforms into Unilee or Office 365, very big projects, and very exciting work in the space where I always seem to land, which is around this digital workspace and intranet world. Very happy to be here.

 

Danny:Well, we’re thrilled to have you on the team, Pete. I just hear of stuff going on projects. I know we’ve enjoyed working with you on projects while you were at Unilee, and just really excited to have you here on the team and excited for you to take your experience and your passions that you have and apply it for upcoming projects. Just thrilled to have you on. It would have been nice if you had a different name than Pete, but we’ll let that pass.

 

Pete F.:Well just don’t ask me to shave my head.

 

Danny:Yeah.

 

Tommy:Yeah.

 

Pete F.:It will recede on its own guys. Don’t worry.

 

Tommy:And a microphone.

 

Danny:Four bald brothers and a microphone. Oh, that’s a little out of control. So I know with some of these questions, it’s good for us to ask sort of get started with some basic questions. I see people around here somewhat twinge a little bit when I use the term digital workplace, because they’re like, “Is this just a marketing term? Or are we just talking about intranets and just a new name for intranets? Or what are we …” you know, I get all sorts of … And it’s a bit of an overloaded term. I understand that.

 

Danny:But I wanted from your perspective, and I know both of the Petes have been working recently on some digital workplace briefings and some governance and those types of things. What is a digital workplace?

 

Pete S.:So I think the consistent definition we’ve sort of landed on is digital workplace really is something that enables communication, collaboration, and coordination across a virtual business landscape. So mobile anywhere anytime. And it’s a combination of people, process and technology that enables more efficient and more productive collaboration. So it’s really, if you’ve got to boil it down to one very small sentence, it’s where work gets done anywhere, anytime.

 

Danny:Boom. We’re done. End podcast. That’s it. Put a bow on that and put it up on the website. That’s great.

 

Danny:It’s a lot into that. When we were working on this, we took your … You did a beautiful white paper ebook a long time ago on what you call the new business operating system. And I think as I was working on some content for the website, I said, “A lot of the things that were aspects of the digital workplace were things that reminded me of what you had with the new business operating system.” And that was, I think it was ahead of its time. Let me put it that way. And I think we’ve been able to take some of the things that you were working on with that new business operating system, and incorporate them into digital workplaces.

 

Pete S.:Yeah. I will say one thing. That sort of new business operating system content has expanded a little bit. And I think it is a good representation of what a digital workplace really is. A lot of times we’ll start with asking a customer, “What do you think a digital workplace is?” Because it’s so vast, right. I think a lot of times, some folks will say, “Well, you’re an Office 365 collaboration services company to us.

 

Pete S.:And I think we need to always remind them that it’s bigger than just one product. It’s not just an IT project, right. A digital workplace, it’s not an intranet upgrade. What you really want to do is find out, “Why are you transforming your business?” Because it’s really about digital transformation, not just an upgrade.

 

Pete S.:You’re not just trying to turn on every service that you have because you have licensing for it. You really want to make sure that you have a compelling reason, you know, business outcomes that you’re trying to support.

 

Pete S.:And so what we’ve kind of gravitated towards is within ThreeWill, we typically have kind of espoused things like seven habits and Simon Senik, et cetera. And one of the things that we’ve really been kind of pushing is finding your why. Why are you doing this? Because to just go off and say, “Well, we’re going to move the intranet to Office 365.” Yes, you can do that, but to get the best value out of it, you’re going to want to start with, why are you doing this?

 

Pete S.:And I think Pete’s got a great way of kind of wrapping that into, “Well, what are the reasons you want to do this?” So Pete, I’ll turn it over to you as far as some things like engagement and the why typically organizations will do this.

 

Pete F.:I think it’s important because where you do work, if you have a really good set of processes, people and tools around where you do work, then you know you can drive better operational organization performance, whether it’s in your marketplace, whether it’s making you more competitive, whether it’s operational efficiencies, whether it’s just sharing knowledge across the organization so it’s not hidden. Or it’s just investing in people and enabling them to be trained or exposed to different information or skills and skillsets.

 

Pete F.:Each one of those areas, if you think about it, has to do with your financial viewpoint, your customer viewpoint, because you might be helping customers specifically, decreasing time to market for example, or operational excellence, or people centric type changes. Those four types of perspectives, those are actually kind of balance scorecard perspectives that might be part of your business strategy in an organization. And every company’s going to have a different set of drivers for those.

 

Pete F.:I’ll take one. At the financial level, it’s been proven for example, if you have a really good digital workplace that can help drive employee engagement. Well what is employee engagement mean? It’s really about what makes people in play feel valued and how they actually add value to the organization so they stay and continue to be engaged. They continue to be productive, and just adding, increasing their impact across the organization. And I can’t quote the specific source that measured this, but companies that do really focus on employment engagement in an enterprise can see a 10% increase in their stock price or market share based on really, just really engaged employees.

 

Pete F.:Customer satisfaction. Well, how do you get value into the hands of your customers? You might have products and services. Well, a digital workplace can really help your customer support teams understand how a product works, or find information about a product, or issues with a product, or answers about a particular questions that people or customers might have about a product. So that’s one, from a customer perspective, that’s how they can really help.

 

Pete F.:And operational. Well, cost, right. That’s a big piece of operational and internal process improvement. Being productive. Not having to look for information in a lot of different places. Being able to have … Also, reduce your risks where governance comes in. Because you could have a really great digital workplace, but it also raises risk or risk factors around making information available that shouldn’t be available to certain sets of audiences or external users. So there’s a risk in operational play.

 

Pete F.:I like to end with the fact that around people, because probably the most important perspective, whether it’s employment engagement to drive your market share in the marketplace, or your stock price, and to be more competitive in your marketplace with engaged employees, you need to really invest in your people. And so first thing I’d have to say is that any digital workplace that’s a really core importance of it, is to have a really sound foundation around your people. It’s either the profile data of the people in your organization, so people can find information about them, share expertise, et cetera. But it’s also the quality of the data of the person’s profile, because that allows for things like targeting content to a person to make it more relevant, thus more engaged from a user perspective. Or for example, also enabling a specific user to personalize their content in a way so they see more relevant things based on their own personal choice.

 

Pete F.:All that is part of, really, that profile, or the data around a person themselves. And it’s the core of your digital workplace.

 

Danny:This, when you’re talking about all these things, it seems this is across every department in the organization. It makes me think sort of like, you know, this is the plumbing for your business

 

Pete F.:[crosstalk] multiplier, right. It really is. It makes you competitive as an org.

 

Danny:And so, right away, I start saying well is this typically the digital workplace? Is it funded by IT, or is the business funded? Or is there somebody in charge of enabling technologies? Who’s the typical person who’s … Because it seems like every department is going to be impacted by this.

 

Pete F.:Yeah.

 

Tommy:You mind if I kind of chime in on that, Danny?

 

Danny:Absolutely. I’d love [crosstalk]

 

Tommy:I’m seeing quite a bit in, you know, when you look at the digital workplace, there’s so much technology that comes to bear that I think organizations get overwhelmed. They kind of see, you know, I need all this stuff, but there’s no sense of, in some sense it’s priority of what comes first. You know, what do I go after first? And I’m concerned about control over rolling out all this technology and making sure it’s doing good, versus creating confusing and complexity in the organization.

 

Tommy:And so, in conversations, I’m seeing governance come up quite a bit, because I think it’s thinking about how do I put my arms around all these technologies and have the right balance of risk and reward of how I leverage these in the organization? And I think you have to have context to make good decisions around what do we do and when we do that. And so when we look at say, a governance workshop, or digital workplace workshop, they key input to that is what are the driving use cases that you want to enjoy success in and celebrate? And what do you want to measure to say this has been successful?

 

Tommy:Because a lot of times, these things can be very hard to put your arms around, those things that are not measurable. But if you put in the work of saying, “Here’s the things I want to see transform in our organization and how we want to measure that.” That will give you the guardrails to understand what aspects of governance do we go after first? What technologies should we start lighting up in the organization? How should we train these people to be able to enforce the results that we want to get as an organization?

 

Tommy:So I think folks that think about this as just turning up an intranet, you know, end up not really getting the full capability and power of what you have in the digital workplace. And that’s what I see as getting traction is let’s talk about what are those key use cases that drive an organization? That’s not a new term, use cases, and it’s not a new concept, but I think in the area and space of collaboration, we tend to just look at all the workloads of collaboration and try to dump those all into a project. Versus stepping back and understanding who wants to sponsor this within the organization and what are those key business drivers that are going to help us give guidance to what needs to get done?

 

Tommy:That’s kind of what I’m sensing is important as people start thinking about what is the digital workplace to us? It’s not a generic thing. You really have to bring in the culture of the organization, the industry that you’re in.

 

Tommy:You know, I was on a call with Pete Fritz as we were talking to someone in the insurance industry, and yeah, you want to have an engaging environment that really gives a lot of say, eye candy for people to get involved and help. But also, you’re in an industry that maybe has some risk associated with it. So as we roll out this technology, let’s not end up being on our heels when issues come up, but have some proactive thought about what are the proper controls, just enough to keep things on the guardrails, but give enough freedom to allow people to self-serve, and drive the momentum of their [crosstalk 00:18:27].

 

Danny:I think you bring … With the culture, that was actually something I was going to ask, because I think that does impact what we do with regards to, you know, what we initially set out to do. And one of the things that I’ve liked about the approach that I’ve seen from Pete and re-Pete is the idea of … Sorry. The idea of a maturity model too. Not only is the culture like, are you a free … How does the company itself collaborate? Are you open collaborators? Are you more sort of setting up the digital workplace so that it is tuned towards their culture.

 

Danny:But I also see it as a, which you guys have really hit on, which is a, you know, you can overexpose the organization if you try to bring them too fast, you know. And sort of what is the maturity levels that you need to go through, and what is the next step for the organization with regards to building out your digital workplace? And looking at where you are today, and talking about what the next steps are, and let’s not worry about what comes after this. Let’s focus in on those next steps.

 

Tommy:Yeah, and I’ve seen you know, kind of road mapping to be able to slot things in the right place in the right time. There’s a lot of anxiety around well, you know, there’s flow, you know. How does that relate to our organization? There’s Stream. What does that mean to us? And as we’re working with organizations, we’re identifying, yeah, Stream is out there, but Stream is you know, down the road a piece.

 

Tommy:This is more of a tertiary technology that yes, it’s going to have an impact, but there’s more basic block and tackle that sets the foundation that you know, doesn’t overlook what you need to do in those basic steps that are major stumbling stones to you know. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put in the Stream if you don’t have some of the basics in place you know, like security, and provision and information architecture. Those things are not going to be found. They’re not going to be secured properly. And then all of a sudden, the CEO shuts down. We’re not using Stream, because one thing wasn’t secured properly.

 

Tommy:So you know, I think people have to realize that there is that maturity model and yes, you’re hearing Stream. You like the features of it, but let’s look at the big picture and understand what needs to get done first before we get to that point.

 

Tommy:One of the topics has been provisioning, you know. That’s a really fundamental early step of your maturity model is you know, you want to have the right points that you can layer in the proper controls in a natural way. So if you have a site request, I want to do this as it relates to collaboration, then that can be assessed to say, that’s a Microsoft team. Or this is a communication side. And you can kind of enforce that governance and information architecture but also empower the user that as soon as they ask for it, it gets provisioned for them.

 

Tommy:Like, putting them in the right place. You’re putting in the right naming conventions. You’ve created the right data labeling around it. So you have retention policies if that really applies to the situation. So it’s getting smart about how do you reduce the friction of people getting the tools that they need, but not end up having the full wah, wah, west of we’ve got yammer teams, you know, two internet in a boxes out there, SharePoint and Box and you have all these things all over the place, and then ITs getting frustrated and they’re going to lock everything down and then people are not able to leverage, you know, what they probably could be leveraging if there’s a more structured rollout of these technologies.

 

Danny:Yeah. Yeah.

 

Pete F.:And Pete, Prime had a maturity model at four stages, right Pete?

 

Pete S.:Yeah. I think to take a quick step back, we talked about you know, Danny you asked about culture. And I think everybody needs to realize there’s a unique culture profile to an organization. And they’ve got to recognize if you know, are they basic? Are they advanced? Are they strategic or visionary?

 

Pete S.:And so, if you’re early in the journey, and we said it was a journey before. If you’re early in that journey of implementing a digital workplace, you may just be you know, learning to use SharePoint. So you’re not going to try to do some advanced things, like try to have a very complicated information architecture. You’re actually going to kind of defeat some of the things that you might be setting out to do, which is increase communication and collaboration.

 

Pete S.:And you know, along that spectrum, even inside a large insurance organization for example, you may have small groups that are advanced. You may have even an organization which is visionary. So it’s finding those business stakeholders that are going to be involved, why they’re involved, and looking at, you mentioned before, this is not an IT project. It’s not a single thing. It’s a series of events. It’s a journey that you’re going to have to go through and say, “Well, where am I for this particular organization? What are my objectives for that organization? Where am I for your marketing team, your sales team, your operations team?”

 

Pete S.:Whatever those teams are, that profile’s going to change. But the idea is how do I get to a point where I’m measuring, governing, and I’m delivering so that people can actually be more efficient and more productive and collaborate more? So it’s identifying those things that have you know, true business impact and that require business investment, and where are you willing to put your kind of money where your mouth is? And what’s going to be most important?

 

Pete S.:One of the things that we do typically is come up with a matrix that kind of lays out, here are your priorities after you’ve come out with those outcomes, after you’ve defined your why. Let’s put those in a matrix and say, “Here are the most important things that you can focus on that are going to get you the highest value.”

 

Pete S.:And some of those things might be customizations that may not make sense right away. Some of those may be very high impact, but very low friction. So just getting SharePoint in place, just getting teams in place, and instructing and training people may have the biggest bang for your buck. And then over time, looking at well, how do I measure true collaboration? How am I enabling my employees? What do I want to measure engagement by?

 

Pete S.:Maybe your first measure is, how many SharePoint sites did I create? Or how many team sites got created? Then you start to look at well, how many meetings were scheduled in teams this month? How many minutes of collaboration in phone calls did we have? How many people … How many conversations were had within teams? And you start to look at different metrics.

 

Pete S.:But starting that way, you know, right out of the gate, may not be [inaudible] for your organization. Finding kind of A, why, and B, where are you in that maturity level, is really important.

 

Danny:On a serious note, Pete Fritz, I can see that your selfie nude’s in the background, so you might want to blur your screen.

 

Pete F.:Oh, thank you.

 

Danny:I’m just kidding. I’m joking around with you. Oh, Pete, this is our first-

 

Pete F.:That’s what happens when you drop out of the video-

 

Danny:Yeah, next time you drop out, it would be good if you had some gunshot sounds going off. Then you drop off the line. That would be much more exciting. [crosstalk]

 

Pete S.:It shows that you’re not doing a newscast, you know.

 

Danny:You know.

 

Pete S.:It’s not a newscast with the timer running in the back, but you know.

 

Danny:Oh, oh, oh. Pete, re-Pete, I’m here for some levity every once in a while. We just got real serious there, so I just thought we should do that. Any followup comments that you might have, Pete number two, bachelor number two?

 

Pete F.:Well, just back to the maturity model a little bit. You know, the balance Pete Prime discussed a little bit in that you’re talking about the process, the people and the tools. You’re out of balance if you’re dropping the technology in front of people and just saying, “Hey, go use the technology.” Because you haven’t developed the processes around provisioning it for example, or maybe the security of the information of that, all that enables.

 

Pete F.:For example, what if you, you know, enable teams, and just let anybody kind of create a team, and then you just sort of let anybody externally share the content of the team with external people. Or maybe they’re plugging in their own Box, personal Box site into teams using the teams plugin or tab. Those are all great things, but they have to be balanced.

 

Pete F.:And so the maturity model is about you know, what is super strategic and advanced look like? Well, it means that you’re … Each stage of the maturity journey is going to have a balance of those things. And that’s where I think governance comes in, just kind of going back to governance, because governance is your balancing point. It’s your risk and reward.

 

Pete F.:Example, in the teams, it’s you know, you have this great reward of this amazing collaborative platform, and you’ve got these really cool memes you can put into any chat. Those are really awesome and fun. Animations, it makes working fun. But you know, I can really get outside of the guardrails if there aren’t any very easily, by sharing content inappropriately or you know, maybe downloading files that I shouldn’t have on my personal device for example.

 

Danny:Or maybe more aggressively sharing your selfie nudes and stuff like that.

 

Pete F.:That’s for example, yes. Things that are inappropriate from a personal perspective, yes.

 

Pete F.:So you know, and teams is really collaboration, right. So you also have to think, what’s collaboration? That’s like smaller groups of people working together co-authoring documents, task centric, lots of chat back and forth. But the chat’s probably not high value. It’s more like coordinating tasks on a project, or you know, edits in a particular document, or some code you’re writing. Very, very high volatile chat conversation, which probably doesn’t have a broad audience outside of that team, really. Because you’re doing a lot of work in work in progress.

 

Pete F.:So that’s teams is a great example of where you want to light those up for collaboration scenarios to enable productivity of your team, smaller groups of people. When you have that content that the teams created, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s ready to go for broad review, or it may never be, right. It may just be some document that doesn’t have broader context. But if it’s an important piece of IP, or if it’s an important software product, or document policy that the HR team is building out for a new rollout next month, then that all goes into the communication space. And you know, collaboration, we call it inner loop and communications is outer loop, and- [crosstalk] variations of that.

 

Danny:Can you … Pete, can you go into the inner, outer loop? I’d love to hear from you more about what that is, and maybe for people who haven’t heard those terms yet?

 

Pete F.:Sure. In those two things, communication, or collaboration versus communication, help decide the level of governance or the policies on those various environments, the technology environments that you’re collaborating or communicating in, the type of information that’s there. So Microsoft, a couple years ago, came up with this inner loop, outer loop idea where the inner loop is really, if I’m standing virtually out there in this workplace, who are my inner group of people that I’m working with? And in a particular context typically also, it’s my project team that I’m working on. It’s my … Maybe I’m working on a product, like some research on a product, and it’s the product research team. Maybe it’s a, well just a team for document collaboration. We’re developing contracts for a particular division of my organization.

 

Pete F.:That’s the inner loop because it’s a small group of folks that I’m working with. We have a lot of work in progress type activities and tasks that you know, we don’t necessarily want everybody to see while we’re working on it, but we need to have high interaction amongst each other to do it. So that’s inner loop. Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Planner, Office 365 applications are really good for that.

 

Pete F.:Outside of that, if I’m looking outside, I think, how do I want to get this content of my team … Excuse me.

 

Danny:No problem.

 

Pete F.:How do I get the content of my team outputs, when it’s curated and ready to go, out to broad audience? Maybe it’s just news, or maybe I have an opinion that I want to share that I’m really passionate about that I want to get out on a blog post to the entire org. Or maybe it’s the communication team that’s trying to drive some strategic initiatives and some maybe, communication campaigns around that.

 

Pete F.:The outer loop means that you’re targeting a broad audience of folks. It doesn’t have to be everybody, but you know, it’s more than 10 or 20 or in some cases, 50 people. It’s a large broadly shareable content that has high value. So outer loop’s all about that. That’s where when you think communication context, think the word intranet, typically is more about communication type scenarios.

 

Pete F.:Sharing of knowledge, communicating the messaging, and enabling also enterprise social, which is you know, how do I communicate in a way that’s shared with a broad swath of people that has visibility from consumers of that information who can also sort of interject their own viewpoints into it at the enterprise scale? That’s enterprise social. All that content is searchable, findable, has great, also value to you know, leaders of an organization who might want to use that information to drive some change and culture to the org. So, outer loop’s about that broad world.

 

Pete F.:And finally, as this whole notion of outer and inner loop’s gotten more modern over the years, there’s also this sort of the me loop. It’s like, what do I need to do my job? It’s my Outlook. It’s my tasks. That’s my you know, my cup of coffee. It’s very important. Those kinds of things are like the things that I need. That’s the context for me to do my work, or to get my communication. So all those. Yeah, I can do that in teams, but in fact, it’s the me context that’s important.

 

Pete F.:And then I guess, the last one would be the super … I’d say the outside enterprise view, which is how do we interact as an organization, or a team, or an individual, with external organizations, suppliers, customers, which is a whole nother loop context that has a whole different sort of governance flavor to it.

 

Danny:Yeah. What I love about what you guys are doing is I really think you’re trying to take a holistic approach on this. Like, not try to … And it’s difficult to do because there’s a lot of different areas that we could jump into. But I think there needs to be, especially for someone looking for some outside help, is just is to take a holistic view of what is a digital workplace? Being able to … It might feel like we could never go you know, extremely deep into an area, but I think for us, it’s very important to come in and to be able to make sure that the breadth of what we cover for customers is there. It just seems like that’s an important aspect of why someone would engage us, and how we can help customers.

 

Pete F.:Absolutely.

 

Danny:Anything … So this has been tremendously helpful for me. I just do these so it gives me a chance to talk with other people so I can learn about what you’re up to, which is great. You guys are … Tell me a little bit more before we jump off here.

 

Danny:You’re doing some briefings specifically for customers around digital workplaces. And then tell me a little bit more about the digital workplace workshop. What is that? What are we trying to accomplish with that? So if you guys could just, at a high level, cover for me what’s in a briefing? And then what’s in a workshop? And then we’ll but a button this.

 

Pete S.:Okay. So from a briefing perspective, really a briefing is a lunch, maybe a maximum of two hours where we can kind of have a conversation similar to this, and we can at least start to engage some folks to think about where are you in your journey? This is … And explain it is a journey. It’s not just a simple project. That you want to start to consider what are your why’s? Like you know, identify your top three why’s.

 

Pete S.:And then we go through and give some examples. So we kind of walk through you know, things like content sharing. There are some very common scenarios. Content creation, search and navigation, things that will impact your organization. And how do you want to think through those things that you’re trying to deliver a digital workplace on? Think about your integrations. Think about some of the sponsorship activities that are going to be needed.

 

Pete S.:And then out of that, the digital workplace workshop is a one to three day, depending on organization size and complexity and maturity. It’s a one to three day workshop where we go through and start to peel back the onion, and start to really get into the why’s, right. So that’s where we need to start. We need to start with understanding what your organization is trying to achieve, how you want to proceed from there. It’s starting to talk about well, let’s talk sponsorship. Let’s talk, what organizations are going to be involved?

 

Pete S.:You asked earlier about who’s actually going to own this project. And you don’t want to boil the ocean, but at the same time, you need to understand scope so that you can start to build out a plan. And that workshop is really, starting to build the plan.

 

Pete S.:And then typically from there, the progression proceeds to some sort of engagement where we start mapping out a little bit, you know, the next layer of the onion. So we start talking about things like navigation and search and information architecture. And we start to go down, okay, what are your actual goals? And how can we align what you have? And that’s not just Office 365, because it is a holistic approach. Not just those products, but how do you integrate with other products? Maybe you have Workday for HR. Maybe you have Salesforce. Maybe you have Dynamic CRM. You know, how do you integrate all those and kind of make work better, and deliver on that promise?

 

Pete S.:And all the while, really looking at what we’ve kind of been focusing on, is governance and outcomes. So how are you going to govern? And what outcomes are you trying to achieve? And looking for ways of defining what is success for your organization? And then mapping out how to get there.

 

Danny:Awesome. Awesome. Any, Tommy, or Pete squared, any last thoughts? We should each come up with just a different name, as we go along. Other bald brother, or Pete squared, anything? What do we got? Anything parting shots here?

 

Pete F.:Well, I would just like to say, just to kind of up from a technology perspective, but aligning up to this employee engagement. A digital workplace needs to be easy to use, well balanced from a governance perspective, but really, it’s got to actually drive excitement. Even if you don’t care about employee engagement, people should be really excited to see they’re going to be more productive on a platform.

 

Pete F.:So you know, there’s other aspects of making things engagement include UI designs of your communication sites. Maybe there’s a set of components that aren’t necessarily 100% ideal for your scenarios in a particular intranet site. Maybe you need specific web parts or something that really drives some extra bling, or maybe some integrating with backend line of business applications, or to drive productivity or automated workflow.

 

Pete F.:So those are other things I think that are kind of, they come after the overall conversation, but, because you don’t want to customize first. But if you have certain levers you want to push to make your digital workplace even more engaging, that’s a good place for that investment. And we can help there too.

 

Danny:Awesome. Awesome. Tommy, any last thoughts here?

 

Tommy:Well, I think what’s exciting for me is putting more energy towards the why. Why organizations are using collaboration. I think years past, we’ve been focusing more on tell us what widget you want us to build. And we’re changing that conversation where we’re trying to understand where’s the biggest opportunity for you to be successful? And I think with the digital workplace, and moving these services to the cloud, and the new Microsoft that wants to have that integration across the enterprise, that they realize it’s not just a monolith of just Microsoft services, but they’re one part of the equation.

 

Tommy:And the work that they’re putting into being that front door for collaboration across your enterprise is very exciting to be a part of that. And I think it’s something that organizations, I think, are overwhelmed at how much is in front of them. And as consultants, that’s what we want to do. You know, like to take these complex situations, boil them down into a predictable path. And everything that we’ve done leading up to this point, I think puts us in a great position to help organizations do that.

 

Danny:That’s wonderful. And I wouldn’t be doing my job unless I said this, which is, for the briefing part of this, if you’re interested in something like that, just go to the ThreeWheel.com website. Go to the Contact Us page. I’ll get a note. You fill that out and just say you’re interested in a digital workplace briefing, and we’ll get that. I’ll get you connected up with the right person, and we’ll get that all set up.

 

Danny:And then you also on the website, one of the services you’ll see is the digital workplace workshop. You can find out some more information there. We’ve got a little FAQ on it. So that’s underneath the Services section of our website. Definitely go there. Find out some more information on that.

 

Danny:The workshop, there is a cost involved with that, but it’s one of those that we’re both putting … The cost is more your time and our time towards it. So if you’re interested in coming out with some really solid next steps, I think the digital workplace workshop is a great place for you to look.

 

Danny:Other thing, I’ll be posting this up to YouTube, so if you’re on YouTube, please subscribe to the channel. We’ll also have it up the other podcast places and Stitcher. Please subscribe to the channel there. Also, I’d ask you, if you’re listening to this on iTunes with an Apple, please give us a nice rating. There, that will definitely help us out.

 

Danny:Hey guys, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We’re going to do this again, because I really enjoyed this time. I really just enjoyed. I really enjoy hanging out with people who are smarter than I am, and it’s great hearing from you guys.

 

Danny:And you know, we’ll … I’m thinking the next subject that we might want to cover, I’m really interested to hear from you guys about SharePoint intranets in a box and what you can do out of the box, and sort of helping people make the decision … You know, like make the decisions around that. Because I get a lot of people coming to us asking questions about that, and I think, Pete, you have a unique, Pete squared, Pete doubled, you’ve got a unique background on this. And I just want to hear from you guys. How do we make the decision around that? I’m very interested in your insights on that.

 

Danny:So with that, thank you everybody for listening. And have a wonderful day. Thank you. Bye, bye.

 

Danny RyanRoundtable Discussion – What is a Digital Workplace?

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