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Microsoft 365 customer questions – Future of Work Vision and Strategy

I work in the business of dealing with customer questions on Microsoft 365 all the time (disclosure), either directly or indirectly. This is part of a series of posts where I share them if they can be of help to others. Where I can of course and naturally, not just the questions but the answers too. All questions and answers strive to respect both sides sensitivities (parts will have been redacted and/or anonymised) and the main topic is covered in each post title.

Question:

We need to work on a Future of Work (FoW) Vision and Strategy, can you share a good framework for arriving at one and managing its implementation as well as Microsoft’s own Vision and Strategy for FoW?

Answer:

Now I cannot share what was provided for the second part of the question, but I can for the first. For the second part though, you can get a very good view from all of the public material on the subject:

As for the first part of the question, here are two slides then a bit of elaboration.

This doesn’t need to much explanation although there is a fair bit of it accompanying the Vision and Strategy Framework which I can’t share.

Also, the Vision and Strategy Framework goes beyond just FoW considerations (the point bottom left of the slide) but it will do just fine to help formulate the thinking in this regard. This framework is actually used for digital transformation which anyway is central to FoW.

But it’s the Readiness Dashboard that really covers the specific aspects of a FoW Vision and Strategy. Now I’m not suggesting the elements covered are complete and fully comprehensive. FoW covers a huge area of work. These will probably do to get you started but the point is you can add to them, change them, remove them, etc. The point is to make them relevant to your organisation.

The point is these are both simple, iterative and accountable ways to arrive at a high level vision and strategy and a way to track progress as a you execute.

Obviously there is a lot of detail missing from this but hopefully this helps.

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21 essentials for the digital enterprise in 2021

I was asked a question the other day from someone wanting to know what would be required to become a fully digital company. Big question I know and I didn’t have much time in which to answer. I came up with a fast list. This is an attempt to remember and add to it but still in the spirit of off the cuff thinking, so I’m not going to dig into too much detail. Great exercise, you should try it. So this list is extended beyond the original list to include 21 items in total, for 2021 natch and seeing as that we are at the end of it 😜

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Gartner survey of Board of Director intentions 2021 – Digital

Gartner has just published a press release with some data on the survey they conducted amongst 273 people serving as directors or members of corporate boards of directors in US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

I’ve highlighted two of the stats that stood out for me in the infographic. But first, for the one, I had to try and figure out what the heck they meant by “attempted to alter their enterprise economic structure to a more digital economic architecture.” 

Gartner explained this meant boards were trying to accommodate digital investments by “changing their capital allocation and governance approaches.”

40% of respondents said they have already moved some digital business-related budgets to business functions, according to Gartner, as opposed to a more centralized tech or IT budget. 

One in every three told Gartner that they have also changed the metrics that are used in order to evaluate the returns coming from digital investments. 

So for me this is the first of the significant stats. It signifies that they want to put control of digital initiatives in the hands of those that control the commercial destiny and success of the firm, i.e. out of IT into business. This is not new but the percentage is striking and bodes really well. This is where digital initiatives should reside. Not that IT will no longer be involved, quite the contrary as you can read from the press release, but they will play a different and lesser role, as it should be.

The second stat around digital tech initiatives being the highest amongst 7 other strategic business initiatives is the other one that stood out. Again, as it should be. Why?

Because as Bain’s Technology Report 2021 puts it, if you think we’ve reached peak disruption and innovation, think again. This decade will see an explosion of new opportunities as cloud models evolve, AI blossoms, and every company puts technology at the heart of virtually everything they do. 

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An employee experience update – thought leadership from Microsoft

Microsoft, with its Employee Experience Platform called Viva, is driving some serious thought leadership for the category and since I work there and picked up on this (disclosure), I thought I would share.

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Productivity – we have a problem

There has been a flurry of bad press for productivity recently, especially in relation to remote work, but in general too. This is not entirely a new thing – see this pre-pandemic post from a Global Government Forum on The productivity problem: causes, consequences and cures. Two recent discussions around productivity have spurred on this post.

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Minding the accelerating technology gap

Even if every company is now a tech company, there is still a massive gap between the early and fast adopters and the laggards. It goes beyond the chasm of initial technology adoption because now the assumption is all companies have to be using technology in some form or other to compete. The question is how well and how much are they keeping up.

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Beyond onboarding – growth hacking adoption of your product with customers

NOTE: Enterprise technology and Microsoft 365 (M365) customers are predominantly the context for this post but hopefully it is still useful more broadly. In this context, I define onboarding as the set of activities related to the initial provisioning and orientation of a technology for users. It should ensure that users have seamless access and knowledge of what to do when first logging in and orienting themselves with the product. Just some of the basic things to consider:

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The post pandemic organisation’s hierarchy of needs

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This is a long overdue follow-up to a piece I doodled and wrote about way back in 2016: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.

For two main reasons its due an update. The clue to the first is in the original title. Anything that lays claim to being modern needs a revisit at least every 5 years.

The second is the more important one in that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on individuals and organisations since then and this requires the model to be revisited.

The pandemic has put pressure on organisations like never before and so it becomes even more important to hone your craft and perfect the way you actualise your business for continued survival. I would argue that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs continues to provide a sound basis for addressing the needs of an organisation (just as much as for an individual) and what to focus on for a healthy and successful business.

Some of the elements remain unchanged so I wont go into detail on those other than what you can read in the DanelDoodle – read the original post if you want to know more. Below is a little on what I think has changed in 5 or more years and since the pandemic hit us.

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Marketing sales and customer success for 360 degree effectiveness

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In line with the trend I’m watching and some recent work I’ve been doing working with colleagues in sales and marketing, I had some brief additional thoughts around this topic. More on the trend here: Customer Success Marketing and Scale.

These thoughts in the form of a DanelDoodle are a little heavier on the sales side. I do work very closely with sales people because I end up landing with what they have sold so it’s in my interest. I also want them to do a better job because ultimately, especially in SaaS businesses, its all interconnected. After I have done my job and they come back to renew or upsell the customer, they will expect that I have done the right thing to make that easier for them. So its a two way street.

I think the doodle is fairly self explanatory and I am using it to share my thoughts with colleagues on how we can work better together. Maybe its of use to you.

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State of advertising and company customer interactions 2021

My background in advertising makes this an interesting topic and you will hopefully soon see where the company customer interactions come in. I started out in the ad industry in the 90’s but left it before the turn of the century. My reasoning: the writing on the wall which indicated a gradual decline and irrelevance for the practice, especially at the onset of the technological revolution that was the world wide web. Twenty years later it’s worth pondering where things stand and if I was right in any way.

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SenseMaking – The Customer Success Superpower

SenseMaking is not just for those in the Customer Success business. That post links to a report on skills of the future and SenseMaking is very much one of them, for all future workers. In an increasingly complex and noisy world you can see why. For Customer Success it makes even more sense.

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