26 Aug Executives Reveal the 3 C’s of Microsoft Teams
As digital collaboration takes over and businesses make the move to Microsoft Teams, one thing is clear: Executive sponsorship and support is vital when it comes to making change happen.
The executive sponsors for Access Sciences’ internal Teams migration, Linda Baldwin and Sondra Ludwick, will provide both executive sponsors and project leaders with actionable steps for change management at every stage in the Teams journey, revealing the 3 C’s of Microsoft Teams Success.
Key Takeaways include:
• Gain executive support for strategy and vision
• Drive organization-wide adoption with a disciplined change approach
• Establish sustainable support through communications
Executives Reveal the 3 C’s of Microsoft Teams
Presented By Linda Baldwin & Sondra Ludwick
Hi everyone. Thank you for joining the webinar today. My name is Angela O’Pry and I will be your host. I have a few housekeeping notes to cover with you before I introduce our speakers. I would be remise if I did not acknowledge we have a category three maybe four headed for us in the Gulf right now. We hope everyone is safe and prepared. This session is being recorded and a link will be available shortly after.
You may submit questions at any time throughout the presentation, but we will address them at the very end. Please stay tuned as we have some announcements of upcoming events and exciting news to share. Your feedback is very important to us, please share your comments and rate your experience by completing the survey through GoToWebinar at the conclusion of the presentation. And lastly, for each attendee, we will be making a $15 donation to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation: My Home Library Program. This program provides books to economically disadvantaged children.
And now our speakers, Sondra Ludwick and Linda Baldwin. Both serve on the Access Sciences executive team and have been instrumental to the growth of the company. They are sharing the story today of our own internal migration to Teams and the change management efforts that contributed to the success of the project. I have no doubt you will have many takeaways from today. And with that, our speakers, Sondra and Linda.
Thanks Angela. So welcome everyone. Today we’re actually going to discuss our own Microsoft Teams implementation and we will reveal the three Cs, which we found to be critical for our success. But before we dive into those details, let me just share a little bit of background of our company so you can better appreciate why we selected these specific three Cs.
So, a little bit about our story. Access Sciences is a professional services firm, and we were founded 35 years ago. We offer consulting and outsourcing services, specializing in information governance, technology enablement, and business strategy. We like to say, “We create value out of information chaos.” Access Sciences is also a Microsoft Gold Partner. We’re also woman owned and we’ve been an employee owned company since 2010. Today we have employees located in eight states across the US, and we deliver services to clients around the United States and we support them in multiple industries.
So, today we’re going to talk about the first phase of our Team’s implementation. And specifically we are addressing the people side of change through the executive sponsorship roles that Linda and I both fulfilled, and the importance of executive involvement in any project or initiative. It doesn’t have to be just a Microsoft Teams implementation. You can actually take information away from this seminar and apply it to any project or initiative in your company.
As VP of Professional Services, Linda has accountability for all service delivery. Whether it’s consulting services or business processing, business process outsourcing services. As VP of Corporate Services, I’m accountable for a variety of functions, including HR, payroll, IT infrastructure, contract management, and facilities. So, as a company on Microsoft Teams, all of our departments within our company are utilizing this solution to chat, talk, meet, and collaborate.
So, let’s launch our first poll so we can get to know a little bit about you. It will also help Linda and me better understand who we have on the call today. So, if we can launch the first poll, that would be great. And we’re just trying to figure out what role you play within your company. And we’ll give it just a couple more seconds and we’ll reveal the results. Just a couple more seconds. There we go.
Well, great. We actually have a pretty good split. We have 41% managers, 28% other, and a mixture of executives, directors, and administrators. Perfect. So let’s go onto the next slide, which is going to discuss our problem that we had. So our corporate lease was expiring in September of 2020, and we knew it was time to refresh everything in our office space from not only the furniture, but technology and the amenities that we provide our employees to be successful at their job.
So, I conducted multiple sessions with employees to understand what tools and features they actually needed in order for them to deliver work to our clients. So the top items requested were around technology. We needed to conduct lots of video conferences and there was a high demand for online collaboration. Keep in mind, these sessions happened January and February of 2020.
At the conclusion of these sessions, we knew that we needed to invest in the best technology for our future office space. We were also a heavy user of Skype for Business, but we knew it would not be supported past July, 2021. We also knew that our clients were moving towards a more virtual environment and so it was really important for us to have a unified communications solution. So we started looking at all the major solutions out on the market. Yes, we all know who they are. And then we all remember COVID-19 hit the United States, March, 2020, and boy did our world change as we knew it.
We were at the test-fit stage of looking for our new office space, and we had it narrowed down to four properties. With the fear of not knowing if we would be able to obtain building permits, or even find construction workers to build out the new space, we opted to extend our lease. Which gave us another nine months to evaluate the evolving needs of the company that we would need as a result of this current unknown. We didn’t know if our test fits were going to change, we didn’t know what technology needs we needed.
So, the problem continued, and the catalyst for this was that… Sorry. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic added to everyone’s complexities at work. Not only did all of our employees shift to working from home, but many state and government local agencies had mandates to work from home. These mandates encouraged us to escalate the implementation of some sort of solution to enable all of us to be more connected. After evaluating multiple solutions, we decided to pick Microsoft Teams.
So, the pandemic led us to actually fast track our communication platform journey. The project implementation team developed an overall plan for the initiative. They developed a budget and defined the roles and responsibilities. We also had some professional services resources that were available. They were actually in between projects, so the timing was perfect and we utilized their skills for the duration of the project. Because of the high visibility and importance of this initiative, Linda and I both decided to co-sponsor this project.
We helped the team develop various stage gates and help define success factors so that we can move ahead to each phase of the project. The overall project plan was presented to the executive team and the executive team fully supported the project going forward. What was on the back burner was now priority number one for the company. So, with every executive sponsored project, there comes success factors. Oh, I’m sorry. Looks like we have a poll number two.
Let’s look at what communication solution is your company using for chats, calls and meetings. So, we can get that going, and then we’ll look at the outcomes in just a little bit. Okay, I guess we’ll give it just a couple more seconds and we’ll reveal the results. Wow, it looks like overall surprise. 80% Microsoft Teams. Some people looks like we still have folks on Skype for Business and Zoom and then there’s others. Of course, there’s lots of them on the market, we couldn’t include all of them, but it looks like Teams is an overall winner. Well, great.
So, going on to the next slide. There are always executive sponsor projects, there come success factors. So from a corporate services standpoint, I wanted to ensure that my team, the corporate services group had the ability to communicate with employees on a timely basis because we wanted to address their needs just from a corporate perspective. Whether it was questions about payroll, HR, benefits, IT help, but we also wanted to improve overall customer service levels within the organization.
I also wanted to ensure that Teams would be accepted by the employee population as a whole, and that we enabled our employees to achieve the demonstrated ability to work in a different way. Linda, I know you’ve got your goals as well, so do you mind sharing some of those with us?
Sure. Really my goals for the initiative were almost identical to Sondra’s at the high level. And collectively our goals were really about user adoption and enabling us to really achieve those intended benefits that we had laid out in the original presentation to the executive team. But I want to transition a little bit of thinking here because I want to talk a little bit about gaining executive sponsorship.
For myself, I couldn’t separate the dialogue about defining success and realizing benefits from the decision to be an executive sponsor of the work. Some of my services leadership team, especially the technology folks have been nudging us along for quite a while to do this. So, they came to me and Sondra and explained many of the things that we needed to hear in order to just get to the next meeting. They used their language in their presentations to Sondra and me and to the executive team that we pay attention to.
As Sondra mentioned, employees and clients everywhere are all working from home now. So, we wanted the benefit of enabling a common communications and collaboration platform, that would be a significant improvement to productivity as well as to our people’s morale right now. So, we had executive team buy-in. We had eagerness amongst the employee ranks. However, as I was thinking about it, we also had a few unknowns in our project execution plan. And after years of conditioning, I knew that we always should expect resistance to change no matter how happy everybody seemed to be at this moment, or how many heads were nodding, “Yes, we need to move forward.”
The resources that were to deliver this project were also several of our highly talented service delivery folks. I was now committing them from beginning to end throughout the life cycle of the project execution, meaning, I was taking them out of the pool of available resources to assign to new revenue generating work. So all that said, as I thought about success criteria, I thought it was never an option for me to not sponsor this project.
So, the slide that is showing now is really about gaining that executive support in general, just to continue that thread for a moment, and to give you what we promised to in the description of this webinar. So, maybe you’re planning for your Microsoft Teams journey or another part of another initiative, and you have general agreement that something is a worthwhile project to move forward with. Well, then your next likely stage gate is to gain that executive sponsorship and funding approval.
Now, I’m not going to give you a step by step tutorial on what documents you need to create or how to put your PowerPoint presentation together. I just want you to think about how you should approach getting that critical sponsorship and support. So, number one, consider your audience and tailor your content to that audience. Communicate that you are addressing real business problems that are recognized as such. Clearly articulate what you need from them. You need them to sponsor and actively support your effort. There’s nothing more annoying to an executive than to have a lengthy conversation and no one understands the ask at the end of the conversation.
If you don’t tell them, they will make their own assumptions and it might not be anything like you thought you were asking. So be clear. You want to show direct connections of results and outcomes, value, and benefits that will be realized by your project overall. Some of those words speak our language. Present your plans for the whole change journey, explaining how you’re going to prepare, equip, and support your sponsors, your champions, your support team model, and your end users. Don’t forget your plans to reinforce after the execution is done. You want to be able to measure progress even afterward and talk about your plan to sustain the change. It’s not one and done. Next slide, Julia.
So, this is really about have a couple of quotes and then a piece of advice. Words do matter. And again, remember to speak to your executive using the language that’s meaningful to him or her. Examples include ROI, results, outcomes, benefits, value, realization, impacts, sustainment. There are lots of them you’ll see in the word cloud, it’s coming up next. But tie your initiative back to company strategy or goals overall if you can, and then be prepared to talk about what happens if you don’t get executive sponsorship. You need to be able to really illustrate that picture for them.
This isn’t applicable for our experience because as we told you, we were onboard from the beginning, but in general projects without sponsorship and a structured approach could lead to many unintended unpleasant consequences. For folks who are endeavoring to get on Teams or SharePoint online, it might mean organic unorganized Teams and SharePoint online sites for all, random and consistent levels of adoption, varying levels of competency for support or resolving issues, compliance risks, and business risks in general. So no executives is going to want to turn a blind eye to those types of business risks, once you’ve painted that clear picture for them.
So, take the time. Next slide, Julia, take the time to learn what’s important to your executives, be clear about how you want them to help you, and also be clear of what you’re going to do to make them successful in this role. Make them feel comfortable saying, “Yes, I will support and foster your initiative.”
Great, thanks Linda. So, let’s cover the importance of executive sponsors. So, we know that people like to be led in times of change. At the heart of it, we want to be assured that someone is actually setting the direction and has our safety and protection in mind. So our employees and team members want to know that we as executives will be there to not only direct them, guide them through that change journey, ensure that we have the commitment for the initiative and lead them through the entire change process start to finish. For that reason, we as leaders, have to engage and support our people through the change.
So, on the next slide, covers sponsorship and project success correlation. There are some great numbers out there and I’ll go over these just briefly, but the numbers show that there is a direct correlation between a successful outcome and how well senior leaders are sponsoring or leading the organization through change. These numbers actually come from research conducted by Prosci, the leader in the field of change management. And as you can see, the 72% with extremely effective sponsors, definitely outweighs the 29% with very ineffective sponsors.
So, the reality is, active and visible sponsorship is the differentiator when it comes to achieving successful outcomes for a project. In addition to publicly communicating all of the critical messaging about the business needs for making the change, we must work to positively influence our peers and keep things on the path to success. So it is always puzzling that this is such a difficult thing to achieve when there are so many things at stake on any type of project, whether small or large.
Yep. That is true. That’s why we must work to gain that executive sponsorship if you’re working on, especially enterprise wide.
So, Sandra, you mentioned the Prosci research on the previous slide, and I think it’s worth mentioning that eight or ten years ago, we explored different methodologies ourselves for our own approach to delivering organizational change results for our client engagements. We landed on the Prosci methodology. It’s intuitive, it’s practical and scalable from one person’s change to thousands. So, you can have your own definition of change management and really it’s important for you to decide what that really is to your organization, so you’ll know where your boundaries are and what you’re measuring.
But for us, we say that we are preparing and supporting and equipping every individual through the transition state of change in your organization and really capturing the people dependent ROI. So let’s walk through Prosci has several pieces to the methodology, but really it all boils down to three separate phases. Then there are multiple tactics that go into each phase. We can do a whole webinar on that too, but the number two factor to achieving successful project outcomes is a structured methodology.
So, Sondra already told you that having sponsorship is number one to success. Number two is structured methodology. That means a methodology that can be modeled and repeated and has scalable processes and tools. So, we integrate change management into our project management execution steps and milestones. I’m happy to tell you that this is becoming more the norm of late, than having them separated. So, that is good news.
So, just a few more stats for you, that research shows that if you apply structured methodology to managing your people side of change, you have a six times higher chance of meeting your project objectives. So, that’s pretty telling for me if I were trying to make a decision on whether you use a structured approach or an ad hoc thing. This seemingly simplistic picture on the slide really brings several steps, actions and deliverables together to achieve and realize those benefits brought about by new processes, organizational change, new procedures, new or changed technologies. And they really do cover the tenants of change itself and the concepts that true organizational or company-wide change requires the change to occur at the individual level first.
So, phase one, we’ll take them apart one by one, but this is where we’re preparing for our change. We’re developing a customized, scaled approach with necessary sponsorship and team structure. We’re really defining the strategy with some realistic observations about what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t. Our activities here focus on gaining insights into the size and scope of what we are changing, the roles or department or individuals who are impacted and are there change competencies in the organization? In order to put together a plan, execute against it and then reinforce or sustain it long after the execution phase is done.
Not to be overlooked, is what is your company’s history of embracing or resisting other changes that you’ve attempted to make in the past? We don’t want to repeat the sins of the past. We want to recognize them and move forward with something new. So, taking a hard look at your culture is really important in this prep phase. We often assume that as executives and team members, that we know everything we need to know about our company culture, when we embark on these kinds of endeavors. However, having done this many years now and guided countless executives on the subject, I can tell you that we do not always know.
So, we should always go through the exercises to make sure we have planned appropriately and let the data and the diagnostic results guide you in putting together your plan. So in our own planning for our Teams rollout, we knew that we had remote groups of employees working for specific clients in geographies across the eight states. We had technical variables of having different client technologies, different PCs, different laptops, different brands, ways of connecting to the internet were different, and just the ability to be able to change any of the config settings on client machines and our own exercises issued equipment were all different. Because of this and what we wanted to provide, we knew that we needed to also bolster up probably our internal technical resources and support team.
So, you have seen that the very first C that we want to reveal to you today as one of the key secrets from our experiences on our own implementation and from working at countless client engagements, you really need to look at your culture. One size doesn’t fit all when you start putting your change management plans together. So, we acknowledged that in order to be prepared for this change, we not only had to articulate the impacts in size, but we also had to examine ourselves.
So, the concept that if you buy into the concept that organizations don’t change, like when you roll out a new whatever it is, and you sit in on a training session and maybe you even had some hands-on experiences and know how to do something different. Everybody doesn’t get onboard at the same time. Everybody doesn’t adopt the new, whatever it is at the same time. Organizations don’t change at the same time, people do, and it’s one person at a time. So, in order to enact changes to individual behaviors, we need to make sure that we build our change plans that enable each person to progress or advance at the individual level in order to achieve any type of enterprise or change success.
The next slide, just we’re going to briefly touch on the ADKAR model because it is rooted in this concept of one person at a time, one step at a time. No doubt you may have heard of this ADKAR model. It’s part of the Prosci Methodology built into all of the other phases that we talked about. It’s built on the concept that you first need to be aware of the business need for what we’re doing different. Be aware of the change, why are we doing it and how that impacts me and my work? And then we progress to desire which really reflects everybody’s individual choice that they’re making. It can be influenced by leadership and sponsorship those key roles, but I will tell you that it is the hardest one to achieve. It cannot be achieved without first being aware of the why.
Moving on to the K for knowledge. This is where we help build the skills and competencies so that people can actually say, “I know how to do whatever it is.” And then the second ‘A’ is where we move from actual knowing to doing. This is where you can demonstrate your ability to do something different and people can say, “I am able to.” Then lastly, the ‘R’ for reinforcement. This is where we really make sure that we have the right processes and structure, roles and accountability so that people are able to say, “I will continue to.”
So, the ADKAR milestones reflect the journey or progression of transitioning from where we are today to wherever the feature state is. They’re meant to be traveled one step at a time. Meaning I can’t go to desire without first being aware. And I certainly can’t go to ability without first having the knowledge to do something. So Julia, you have revealed something here that we’re not going to go into today, but I will tell you this, ADKAR impacts everybody on individual level and at the organizational level. That’s how we put our plans together.
I’m going to share a personal story, an ADKAR story with you through a blog post coming up soon. And then also Sondra’s going to do the same, sharing her story through an upcoming blog post as well. So moving on, we’re going to talk about the next C, the second C, which is champions. So, I’m going to tell you a little bit about champions in general, and so I’m just going to explain to you about our group of champions.
So, champions in general, you may have a number of different roles of people who can be put in the category of champions. They really can exist at any level in your organization, from members of your executive team, to some of your end users. Middle managers are frequently in the champions group, they are influencers in your organization. They have an innate desire and willingness to help others. They’re not afraid to learn new things. Matter of fact, it’s a requirement that they learn new things, if you have Microsoft in your environment. They are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them and then share those learnings with others, so that overall everybody gets better. So word to the wise, choose them wisely or wildly too. Sondra?
I agree. Okay. So let’s talk about champions and a little bit more detail. So for our Teams initiative, we had three different types of champion roles. You’ll see that on this slide, we actually had our executive sponsor champions, which we’ve talked about with Linda and I are co-sponsoring the project. We also had our project team members as champions. Since they had been involved with this type of work at our various client sites, they were all excited to take advantage of this unique opportunity to propel us forward, to enable us to be more closely connected with one another while we were all working from our new offices. Which is basically our homes.
So, we wanted to take it just one step further and we reinforced our team of champions. Like Linda said, we carefully and wisely selected a new group of individuals who could support the mission of the overall project. There was representation from every functional department within our company, as well as each team of people that are assigned to various client locations. Linda and I are actually part of this group too.
So, this group actually supported and coached all of their colleagues during the project, and they were also committed to continue on the Teams learning journey themselves, to serve as first tier of support and subject matter experts for their colleagues. This was super important to me because being the first year of support was critical, because it actually lessened the impact of the need to talk to the internal IT team, as they could actually focus on other more critical or other critical initiatives as well.
So, we thought it was important to brand this select group of people. And we called them, Ask Mes, which represents Access Sciences, collaboration, and meeting experts.
We have an awesome group of Ask Mes. Sondra and I aside the rest of the team is fantastic. They’re awesome. The reason that this group was important to Sondra, as well as she didn’t mention to you here, but she told you earlier in the conversation that IT is one of the functions that she is accountable for. So she was also concerned about the burden that this initiative might put on her staff in IT. So that our Ask Me group is providing first tier support is really important to her. So, I’m glad we were able to put all that together.
So, phase two of the foundation of change management is about managing change. So we started with preparing for, and now we’re actually thinking about the detailed plans and executing them that are going to move the organization and the individuals through the change. This is where we made the connections back to the ADKAR model, so that the plans that we develop are tied back to and enable all of those transitions through the elements of awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. So we’re going to briefly walk through all of those five plans and yes, the number one plan on the list is also related to, Julia, our third C, communication.
So, this is where people usually go to in their minds when they think about change management. They think about, oh, it’s communications and it’s training. Well, this communications plan is what really enables everyone to articulate those key messages and audiences that have to receive them. It accounts for sending the right message to the right audience at the right time, from the right center and through the right channels, plural. If you think about it without the communications part, and being the first communications is targeted at the awareness of the business need for this change. If you don’t have a robust communications plan, you’ll never get past the A.
So, and I guess I should point out here, even though we’re talking about these three Cs kind of in the middle of this presentation, it’s really important to know that they are woven throughout the three phases and they are included in every single plan. So actually it’s like a continuous third through the entire project. Next plan.
So, we’re going to talk about sponsor roadmap and coaching plans. So, as you’ve probably already heard, the number one contributor to success is active and visible sponsorship. So the roadmap actually provides the behind the scenes assistance for our sponsors and our champions to be successful. It is key that change practitioners equip their sponsors and leaders to be successful. They kind of have to give them those hints along the way. The roadmap actually ensures that our sponsors and our champions are present in the change journey and that they send the right messages tying back to Linda’s communication points, and then it guides them to work behind the scenes themselves to actually communicate directly with their peers and others.
Remember, the fundamental nature of people as we like to be led during times of change. We want to be assured that someone is actually setting the direction and has our safety and protection in mind. For that reason, we as leaders, have to engage and support our people through this change journey. Regarding the coaching plan, this plan helps the sponsors and champions equip the managers and leaders within the organization. Many of our Ask Me team members were also part of this. They fell into that category.
First thing to remember, our managers and our leaders are also people and employees first. So we have to make sure that we allow them to work through their own process before we actually give them the tools and messages to help others. So a good way to think about equipping and coaching our executives, other sponsors or champions is, as you get ready for your flight to take off, your flight attendant always says, “In order to help others around you, you must put your own oxygen mask on first.”
Yeah, that’s critical. How can I help anybody else if I don’t know what I’m doing?
And especially right here, which is we’re talking about our training plan. The takeaway here is that you’re likely going to be able to make that yummy homemade bread unless you first absorb the knowledge about how to do it. So what ingredients do I need? Do I need to go to the store and pick up some things? How do I prepare or mix the ingredients and what temperature do I bake the bread at, so that it’s not burnt like mine sometimes is or dough-y in the middle?
So, with your training plan, we’re really documenting the requirements for the transition from current state to future, while also planning for that training to occur within the proper context. Meaning what knowledge is needed by whom, and by when? Again, one size doesn’t fit all. Our Ask Mes had to have additional training in order for them to be successful in their role, because they were doing a deeper dive into functionality, technology, and they continue on that learning journey themselves.
So, oftentimes companies, we have in the past used external parties like our software vendors to design and deliver training. Like us, some of your organizations might even have internal training departments. I will warn you though, that if you do decide to take this approach, it is still important for you as executive sponsors and team members to provide your own insights into those overall training plans, because you know your culture better than anybody else.
Important to note too, your training plan has to account for the steps necessary to actually see the results come through with the ability, element of ADKAR meaning, there has to be a demonstrated ability for me to implement the change, whatever it is. Work in a new system, follow a new process, work for a new boss, so incorporate hands-on or those kinds of activities, wherever you can, so that you can see that someone is actually able to work in a new way.
Resistance management, this is the last of the five plans. As we put these together, it’s mostly about resistance prevention or proactive resistance management, more than reactive if we done it, right? So resistance can have a personal or a work context. And oftentimes people don’t think about that. But a family situation or a home or a personal situation might really impact my ability to have any desire to do anything different. Some baggage in my career history or failures with past changes within your organization, may be jaded by that. And another element of resistance might just come from change saturation and capacity.
So, in today’s work environment, technologies are changing so fast, and we are always looking at ways to improve our processes. Reorgs happen a lot. We get new leadership in place, process improvements, new technology altogether. So, a lot of times that are happening in parallel with one another. So, sometimes your people are just feeling so fatigued at what they’re being asked to do, that they just resist because they’re tired. Or because they really don’t understand why some of the changes are occurring and don’t know how they relate to one another.
So, we talked about anticipating resistance in the first phase when we were planning and how if you realize, or anticipate some of these things ahead of time, you can head them off and include them in your communications planning and your training planning, before the resistance actually happens. So, putting together some tactics to address those things are important.
Now the phase three, which is the final phase, you start with preparing, you’re managing and executing the change, and now you’re reinforcing it. Making sure it’s adopted and sustained. Oftentimes we’ve seen our clients stop before making their way through this critical phase or even starting this critical phase and we’ve been guilty of it ourselves. So, reinforcement should include several things to make the change stick. Ultimately, reinforcement results in the transfer of ownership and accountability once the execution phases are complete.
The next slide is going to show you what we put in place for our own Teams initiative to reinforce our change and make our new processes and behaviors sustainable into the future. Yeah, the purpose of this phase is to make sure that whatever new thing you’re putting into place is being adopted and that the right mechanisms are in place to make it sustainable. So making the business function better, saving money, saving time, making us all more productive, all of those things. We should never consider that these important changes are one and done.
We have continuous learning to stay abreast of Microsoft changes and new features because we are a Microsoft partners, and now we’ve got a whole bunch of people onto the Teams environment. We have a tiered support model with our asking Team members. We have a tool for submitting issues or enhancement requests. And then we have an ongoing communications plan and engagement with end users. We also celebrate success. We are being transparent that we are never done.
Then to wrap all of this up, do you all know what these pictures? Hollow bread. So we wanted to include the video and the making of this, but it just took too long. So the pictures are here and the message here is we’ve all of your critical three Cs throughout all of your project execution and change phases. All projects large or small require investment and resources. It could be capital dollars or expense items which at the end of the day, it all really equals dollars of some sort. Whether or not you’re an employee owned company like we are at Access Sciences, really, it’s our collective responsibility to do whatever is needed to help ensure that the benefits from these investments are brought to life.
And soon, we’ll be sharing all sorts of news stories with you in the future. But in the meantime, before I turn it over to Angela and Julia go forth and breathe some new life into your projects and initiatives with some intentional change management techniques. And let me or Sondra know, if you need our help. We’d be happy to. Angela? Julia?
Yes. Thank you ladies, for sharing your perspective on our journey. The good news is, we have podcasts coming soon. So, we’ve recently launched a podcast called Access Answers. Our next episodes we’ll feature Sondra and Linda for a deep dive into their individual perspectives of this Teams journey. So, make sure to share if you have specific questions for each of them, we will address those on our podcast, if we don’t get to them today. The next virtual lunch and learn will be September 30th, Wei Tan is presenting how to deliver Teams training at scale for your organization.
For this event, you will have the option to select a $15 Panera bread gift card for lunch, or a $15 donation on your behalf to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation: My Home Library Project. We want to know what topics matter most to you. If we could take a minute to select from these choices on our last poll. If you select “other”, please leave specifics in the comments section of the survey to follow.
Okay, just one more minute or few more seconds. Okay, so it looks like building community with digital collaboration is a topic that we want to know more about. Great. This really helps us deliver content that matters to you. So, I do appreciate that. So Sondra and Linda, we have a question from the audience. Was your office already using Office 365?
What was the question Angela, sorry?
Yeah, what was the question again?
Was your office already using Office 365?
So yes, we were using Office 365. We migrated our email, I can’t even remember probably 18…I don’t know. We’ve all lost six months of our lives. Probably 12 months to 18 months ago. We rolled out Office 365. We’re not 100% there just given our SharePoint environment, but we are an Office 365 user.
Great. Okay. The next question says, was this project running simultaneously with others? And if so, how did you get the Teams project to the forefront?
So, that’s a good question. Well, my group, obviously we’re responsible for not only IT and facilities. We were pretty much trying to manage, looking for new office space, building out test fits, having campaigns to figure out what our employees needed. We did have other internal IT projects that were going on. We were in the process of enhancing our business continuity solution. And so the IT team was focused on that, trying to enable cloud technology for that to move things off site in the event of a hurricane, such as having one in the Gulf today.
I think with the extension of our lease, it just really gave us time to look and say, how is our world going to change? There was this higher demand, obviously for webinars and online collaboration. So, I think that extra time just gave us the extra oomph that we needed to really come up with the solution going forward.
I was going to add that, as part of rolling out the way of working for us, a new operating system, we’re really rolling out a different model. We’ve been also working on our own performance management, revamping our programs internally and also we have lots of client work that we’re involved in. And so, yeah, we have a lot of things going on all at the same time.
Okay. This question is somewhat related. Did being in the middle of a pandemic change how you approached change management, in particular communications since everyone was working remote? For example, would the communication part have been different if everyone was in the office?
I’ll take part of it and Sondra you can add in. So, the training part, which you’ll hear about from Wei Tan when he delivers his webinar, but yeah. So as much as possible, we like to do face-to-face training. However, as you’ve seen on the map, our workers are across eight states, so we can’t do that. So, we’ve been used to connecting remotely. But this time we did it in different ways. So, we actually used the Teams platform to do this, which actually forced new habits also.
I’m going to tell you a story. Sondra and I have noticed ourselves, and I wish I had the numbers to share with you. But when we started with this initiative, I had a number of text messages a day and phone calls a day at my office and on my cell phone. And now, I rarely get a text. I never get a phone call unless it’s through Teams. So, that became an immediate change and the ability to do this face to face with our people who are remote, has made a tremendous difference in how we feel connected to one another.
I agree. I love seeing all of our animals.
We have several questions from the audience about any specific lessons learned from the project, what we’ve shared today.
I think one thing that, it’s not really a lesson learned, maybe it’s a lesson learned from prior implementations, but because our employee base is so spread out and we’re across multiple times zones that having the individual training sessions for our groups, we had more of them, there were more frequent. And so if someone was assigned to one and they couldn’t attend that one, they dropped off and attended a different one. So, I think it was important to really and really in any future implementation that we have is just have more training sessions than you think you actually need.
One of the other ones I touched on when we were presenting, but the combinations of technical differences that we had, we were not prepared for. We knew we had a lot of them, but we didn’t know we had so many. And while we wanted to accommodate everybody’s own special situation, I have Bose headphones. I have iPods for my ear. I want to use the speaker on my monitor for my camera. I have a webcam, oh, it’s different technology than what Windows 10 will accept.
So, while we wanted to help everybody connect, we had to really pair it down to what most people had in order to sustain it. Because our Ask Me team can’t know everything about everything and also our information guidance or directions couldn’t accommodate all of that. And then on top of that, technology is changing. So, six months from now, there might even be a different answer for that. So, that was one of our… We knew there were a lot of differences, but we didn’t know quite how many.
Okay. I think that concludes our presentation today. Thank you both for sharing our story. Don’t forget if you could complete the survey at the end of the presentation, and you will receive a link later this afternoon with the recording to the presentation and the slide deck.
Thank you, everybody.