Taking Your Journey to Digital Transformation

Microsoft Modern Workplace in Action Event at the Etihad Stadium in ManchesterThe view wasn't bad either...

High attendance at our Microsoft's Modern Workplace in Action event at Manchester's Etihad Stadium in April showed the thirst many organisations have for change. Thought leaders from Microsoft, Content and Code and IT Lab demonstrated that the route to simpler IT management, better user-experiences and  stronger security is the cloud. 

For those of you who couldn’t be there, we’ve compiled this whistle-stop tour of highlights of the day, together with links to useful resources. You'll also have the opportunity to tap into expert support, including a free workplace assessment to show you how best to approach your journey to digital transformation.

Find out how to modernise your workplace by downloading our free, comprehensive  guide by clicking here.

What is Microsoft’s Modern Workplace?

“Don’t believe the hype! Configuration Manager is not Dead.” - Jack Lewis, Microsoft 365 suite of products architect, Microsoft

The technology behemoth’s Technical Architect explored how the workplace is changing and driving the need for modernisation. Many businesses are turning to the ‘Modern Desktop’ – Lewis explained what Microsoft means by this:

“When we talk about the Modern Desktop at Microsoft, we mean Windows 10, with Office 365 ProPlus, managed by Configuration Manager and Intune. Don't believe the hype! Configuration Manager is not dead. Significant numbers of our customers rely on Configuration Manager day-in, day-out to provide desktop deployment, configuration and management services for the worldwide Windows estates.

There are, however, new and better ways of doing things said Lewis:    

“By introducing modern management, organisations can reduce their overall costs associated with device management and provide consistent experiences to end-users regardless of their location.” Lewis acknowledged there are challenges around adoption, typically with: 

  • Configuring the technology appropriately
  • Performing the migration to the target services
  • Enabling end-users to take full advantage of the tech

Lewis concluded: “If you’re struggling or don't know where to start, that's where the team at IT Lab can add value. Speak to them; they've been there and done this before.”

Explore our Modern Workplace Resources here.

The Value of a Modern Workplace: Building Your Business Case

 Dan Coleby IT Lab at the Microsoft Modern Workplace in Action Event

 Dan Coleby, IT Lab

 “Now, the immense power of the cloud is available to your users through a single endpoint: a phone, laptop, PC or HoloLens.” - Dan Coleby, IT strategist and business performance expert, IT Lab

Many business and technology leaders are drowning in complexity. “The pressures on costs, the need to deploy updates quickly, the struggle to be ‘evergreen’, a shortage of IT talent – the list can feel endless. Rising to these challenges with a traditional infrastructure and technology services isn’t easy,” said Coleby.

“Like me, you’ve witnessed the evolution of the cloud. To start with, it revolutionised our infrastructures. Software-as-as-Service followed, which altered the way we build, deliver and update applications. Then we had Platform-as-a-Service, containerisation, and artificial intelligence as a service (AlaaS) via an API. Now, the immense power of the cloud is available to your users through a single endpoint: a phone, laptop, PC or HoloLens. Think of it as the modern desktop."

Download Modernising Your Workplace with Microsoft - a Strategic Guide for IT  Directors and CIOs, which includes an introduction by Dan Coleby and offers  advice on measuring ROI

Those at the event were among the first to hear about the ultimate modern workplace service offering; the Microsoft Managed Desktop, only available from a select list of partners,  including IT Lab. The IT Lab Managed Desktop service spans the supply of preconfigured devices, their management and comprehensive user-support. More details on this developing and exciting new offering will be released soon.  

60% of Organisations Still on Windows 7 as Time Runs Out

“I wholeheartedly recommend moving to Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel to stay up-to-date and evergreen.” - Matt White, technology solutions designer and engineer, IT Lab

Windows 10 - a core component of the modern workplace - gets better with each release. However, many businesses are missing out on its security, productivity and management capabilities.

A delegate poll revealed that 60% still had Windows 7 endpoints in their estates, despite the imminent loss of extended support: National Cyber Security Centre: One year left for Windows 7 support.

“January 2020 isn't far away. What’s your plan to remain supported? I wholeheartedly recommend moving to Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel to stay up-to-date and evergreen,” advised White.

Catch Matt's blog: Microsoft End of Support - What You Need to Know.

Improving Your Security with the Modern Workplace 

“95% of successful cyber-attacks start with a phish.” - Michael Bateman, cyber-crime expert and advisor to government on national security, IT Lab

Bateman painted a dark picture of the security landscape: “Criminality in cyberspace is changing; it’s a professional, connected and congested network. Attackers are moving from exploitation to disruption. Despite growing awareness, people remain highly susceptible to phishing attacks.

“This demands new ways of thinking and involving your users. Plus, there’s the opportunity to explore some cool stuff!”

Bateman showed how good security underpins Microsoft’s Modern Desktop. Microsoft’s  Intelligent Security Graph combines advanced analytics with vast amounts of security intelligence to protect:

  • User identities
  • Endpoints
  • Data
  • Apps

His message to delegates was clear: “Identity is the key to everything; poor security management unlocks doors for the bad guys too. Cyber actors are using more techniques and automating; in turn, we need to improve our cyber hygiene.”

So, what’s available? Bateman gave an overview of the core Microsoft Threat Protection technologies that come with a Microsoft M365 E5 licence. When combined with the data from the Intelligent Security Graph, these tools manage risk, evidence value and deliver end-to-end security. For more information, contact Bateman and his team on 0333 241 7689 or email hello@itlab.com 

How to Integrate and Simplify Your Workplace  

“52% of information workers report using three or more devices for work.” - Peter Wilson, technology consultant and business advisor, IT Lab

Wilson shared how mobility is the new normal:

  • In 2017, 90% of enterprises had two or more mobile operating systems to support
  • By 2020, 70% of workers will be working remotely
  • 52% of information workers across 17 countries use three or more devices for work

Traditional device deployment and management doesn't lend itself to the ‘new normal’. “The demands on IT are incredible," said Wilson. "They call for a cloud-powered solution that enables the delivery of IT in a modern way. We need the ability to support multiple device platforms, not just PCs. We have to support employees with mobile phones all the way up to workstations.”

Wilson continued: “‘We also need to support 'bring your own devices’ as well as corporate-owned ones. Moreover, we require the means to achieve this in a cloud-managed way with Software-as-a-Service applications.

“We also need to drive automation to reduce costs and be proactive in how we respond to changes in the environment, so we can take action before problems happen. To save money, we also want to enable more self-service for users and - most importantly - improve their experience." 

Wilson’s main message? “It ultimately falls on IT to make this happen. A cloud-powered, modern platform is the only viable solution.” Wilson and Matt White delivered practical demonstrations of the ‘Microsoft Modern Workplace in Action’ and demonstrated how to simplify:

  • New device provisioning – get devices business-ready with Windows Autopilot and Intune
  • Configuration and compliance
  • Application deployment
  • Device management and device life-cycle management

You can watch these demonstrations yourself – email hello@itlab.com to book an online demo with the team. 

Microsoft Teams – A User-friendly Hub for Your People and Documents  

Tim Wallis and Steve Goodman of Content and CodeTim Wallis and Steve Goodman of IT Lab company Content and Code 

“You can stop being tied to emails all day.” - Steve Goodman, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and expert on all things Microsoft, author and international speaker, Content and Code

Goodman shared the common problems he hears frequently from business leaders:

  • I get 200 emails a day
  • No one knows what others are doing! 
  • We work in silos
  • We have pockets of brilliance and need a way to bring that innovation together

There’s an abundance of communication, collaboration and file management tools on the market. How do you choose the right tools for the right job? Equally importantly, how do you avoid introducing new silos? Delegates enjoyed a practical overview of Microsoft Teams, which affords:

  • A chat focused work-space
  • A hub for collaboration, integrated with Office 365
  • Separate channels for fast-paced discussions
  • Rich meeting, video and voice call capabilities   
  • Mobile workers’ access to the same resources   

Download Microsoft Teams: Your Definitive Guide for 2019

Goodman also gave a quick tour of the benefits of: 

  • Yammer – the social network for work
  • SharePoint – a secure document management system and the glue for everything you do in your organisation
  • Microsoft Flow – automate business processes without the need for code
  • Microsoft Stream – effectively YouTube in Office 365

But how do you bring all these tools together? Fresh is the centrepiece for your modern digital work-space and allows your users to surface everything they need in one place.

For more insights, follow Steve Goodman on LinkedIn

How to Plan Your Journey to the Modern Workplace

“Many organisations are stuck in old ways of working and too busy to even think about digital transformation.” - Tim Wallis, digital transformation expert, change management specialist and founder, Content and Code

Wallis answered the big question many of us struggle to answer easily: What is digital transformation exactly? According to Wallis, digital transformation is:  

  • Reimagining the customer journey
  • Transforming your products and services
  • Redesigning your operational and business processes
  • Challenging your business models

To plan your digital transformation, download our eBook: Modernising Your  Workplace with Microsoft; a Strategic Guide for IT Directors and CIOs.

And to assist you on your journey, we're offering: 

  1. A free mini-assessment to review your workplace and make recommendations for your success.
  2. Help to create your business case and demonstrate ROI for modernising your workplace.
  3. If you want to get started with the Microsoft Modern Desktop, advice on funding available.  

Modernising Your Workplace with Microsoft eBook

Take your first step to modernising your workplace and email hello@itlab.com  

Written by Christine Ellis