NGA Human Resources builds a more engaging employee experience with move to Office 365

By Russell Sheldon, chief information officer, senior vice president for HR consulting, application services and global technology, as written on blogs.office.com.
At NGA Human Resources (NGA HR), the way we engage with our employees—and what we believe it takes to be a great employer—centers around building a positive employee experience. This is what we do on a daily basis for our customers, and it’s equally true for our internal operations.
When new employees join the business, regardless of location or job function, it is vital that they feel part of our global organization. (We operate in more than 35 countries, serving customers in more than 145 countries in 25 languages.) All employees need to be connected, engaging in the company culture that drives our success as a business.
In the digital economy, technology, location and time zones should not be a barrier to productivity. Given our global presence, using technology that promotes worldwide collaboration is critical. In turn, collaboration and the sharing of ideas are paramount to fostering talent. We enact our belief that employees everywhere should feel connected to their organization and that they should be able to work as easily together as they do individually.
Our corporate objective is to make HR work better for businesses. To do this, we have to make the workplace a great place for people to work. For example, we rely on the same HR and payroll platform internally that we use to empower millions of our customers’ employees around the world.
As a business and a services provider, NGA HR has a policy of investing in innovative technologies that drive business efficiencies and improve the employee experience, while continuing to adhere to the strictest compliance requirements.
That is why, when our G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Work) contract came up for renewal, we took the time to evaluate what we require as a global organization. We reviewed the market for cloud-based business tools that would help us achieve the scope of global collaboration and individual productivity that we want for our employees, yet still maintain the highest level of data security.
We selected Microsoft Office 365 and migrated our back-office applications and internal collaboration platform from Google to Office 365. We believe that Office 365 presents more aligned business services that will make it easier for us to grow, develop, and most importantly, retain our talent. Employees want to work for an organization that uses technology to improve their work experience so they can collaborate and innovate more effectively to contribute to its growth. This is the inherent value of effective business productivity tools.
A perfect example comes from our chief executive officer, Adel Al-Saleh. Today, he uses Skype for Business Online to host video calls with our 300 global leaders, something that was not possible before. Now the leadership team meets more frequently, using interactive virtual discussions to speed decision making on a global scale. I run a team of approximately 2,000 people around the world. I use Skype for Business Online to connect in real time with 30 of my senior managers, dramatically reducing the time and cost of business travel and freeing up my time and budget for allocation to more strategic requirements. Also, now that we can rely on the de facto industry standard for office collaboration, our commercial teams are responding to RFPs and collaborating on documents more efficiently than ever.
Because Microsoft includes intuitive collaborative capabilities throughout Office 365, it’s easy to be productive. You can kick off a Skype for Business Online call from your inbox and access all Office documents from any device. Now mobile employees stay in touch with work using minimal effort.
The fact that we had more than 8,000 employees regularly active on our Yammer enterprise social network just four weeks after we went live demonstrates that Google was not addressing the need we had for companywide collaboration. Today, we have listened to our employees, and we are providing them with the same ease of communication and access to data that they are used to at home.
Also, with Office 365, we can maintain a hybrid environment. This is hugely advantageous to us when working with customers whose data cannot leave their geographic borders. NGA HR manages the payroll data of millions of employees around the world every year, so we take data security very seriously. We can assure all customers that Office 365 meets our internal compliance mandate and European data privacy standards. It adheres to the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party (A29WP) opinion on cloud computing around basic principles of transparency, purpose limitation, data retention, access and disclosure restriction. We also took into consideration the positive opinion of A29WP on the Microsoft Cloud business solution, in line with European data transfer and protection clauses.
Our relationship with Microsoft got off to an incredible start with the highly successful implementation of Office 365. Thanks to the close collaboration among NGA HR, the Microsoft FastTrack team and Microsoft partner Content and Code, we migrated 8,000 employees across the globe, with all their data, in just 12 weeks.
The deployment and change management expertise of the FastTrack team helped us meet our strict deadline, imposed by the expiration of the Google contract, with comfortable breathing space. With a minimal learning curve, everyone in the organization is more mobile, connected and agile. The feedback from employees is positive, and we are already seeing great results. Today, NGA HR is looking forward to even greater collaboration and localization of our global business.


Microsoft Stream is a new video service for businesses

By Frederic Lardinois as written on techcrunch.com
Microsoft today launched Stream, a new business video service that aims to give businesses that want to share video internally the same kind of tools and flexibility that YouTube offers to consumers — but with the added benefits of the security tools enterprises expect from their document management services. The service is now available as a free preview.
As James Phillips, Microsoft’s corporate VP of its Business Intelligence Products Group, told me, all it takes to get started with Stream is an email address. The user experience in Stream does take its cues from consumer services like Vimeo and YouTube, and includes a number of social features, including likes and comments, as well as recommendations.
“We’ve all been trained as consumers to understand what beautiful and fully featured software looks like,” Phillips told me. “And we are now delivering on those experiences in business software.”
Some of the basic use cases for using video in a company include training and employee communications.
steam_connect_blahIt’s worth noting that Microsoft already offered a business video service in the form of Office 365 Video. “Microsoft Stream builds upon the learnings success of Office 365 Video and over time the two experiences will converge with a seamless migration to ensure a consistent experience both within and outside of Office 365,” Phillips writes in today’s official announcement and also notes that current Office 365 Video users will not see any differences in the service for now.
Compared to Office 365 Video, Microsoft Stream will leverage more of Microsoft’s existing technologies to offer a more consumer-like experience. Phillips tells me that team is looking at work being done in Microsoft Research and by the Azure Machine Learning teams, for example, to bring features like speech-to-text, automatic translations, and support for face recognition to future versions of Stream. Phillips tells me the team is also looking at adding support for live streaming in the future.
What’s even more important for enterprises and their IT admins, though, is that Stream treats videos like every other enterprise document. For them, a video is just like any other digital artifact in the enterprise and they can assign rights to videos, set access groups, remove access, and ensure that videos aren’t shared outside of the company.
Developers will also be able to take the Microsoft Stream API and build new applications on top of it. In this first stage, this mostly means they will be able to embed videos, but over time, the team will likely add more features to the API.


Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.