Let it come to life
Written May 2020
Forget about soft launch, beta test, and soft roll-outs. The IT Director of Intego, Morten Christensen and his IT Support Specialist, Torben Nielsen had actually prepared thoroughly. They always do. “We are very structured and we like to have things under control”, Morten explains. “That was also our intent for Teams. And it all started when we received word that Skype for Business was coming to an end. That brought us to a meeting with edgemo’s Jakob Kvistgaard, who challenged us. We had started our Office365 journey during which we gradually wanted to move from having things on-premises to Microsoft Cloud. All with clear strategies and standards.”
This was the introduction from Morten about how Intego’s installation of Teams went from 0 to 60. But before we reveal the drama that lies ahead, Morten was given a piece of advice from Jakob which was brought to life.
Morten goes on to say: “Just as we got going, the Covid-19 pandemic started to flare up and Jakob stated at a nearly physic level – If you are going to use Teams, you really need to get started! And then things started moving quickly. He came the next day and stayed for three days and THEN reality hit and Denmark shut down. We really were ready, but we had only included 10-20 employees in Teams. We surely did need Teams.”
”That’s never gonna happen”
In the beginning, everything was calm, but Morten and Torben were met with skepticism. “Many of the members of our business said; that Teams business, that’s never gonna happen” Torben Nielsen explains. “But suddenly, we saw more and more activity on Teams. Because of that, we started moving more members from Skype to Teams”. And this is when Jakob’s words of wisdom were brought to life, yes; to life. Torben expands on that: “After ten days of Covid, things were exploding on Teams and then we actually had to shift into high gear. Many things were intuitive in terms of the activity, but we also had a large increase in new teams. So yes, we had a plan, but then Covid hit. But it ended up in a natural organic growth.”
The Covid-19 pandemic managed to truly speed up the digital transformation in the company. A roll-out in an organization as large as Intego would normally take a certain amount of time, but when you are suddenly hit with reality being the hardest and truest test of Teams, then magic starts to happen.
”If we had all been sitting together like we used to, then the spread would not have been as quick or as deep as it was here. Suddenly, people realized that Teams was a brilliant way to maintain our culture, spirit, and all the things, we missed in addition to the business. The chat feature of Teams was kept busy and in the groups, the messages were flying back and forth.” Morten explains. “You need to have thick skin in there, but you do have the option of turning notifications off and on. However, Teams did not mean a decrease in productivity. All the non-business talk going on in Teams kept people happy and raised the energy level. It kept our organization alive, virtually.”
Morten adds to this: ”Teams will never be able to replace the physical and personal, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, it was a great help. In the long run, it probably also gave us new and good habits. Regardless of where you work, a meeting with a sales representative seems to always take about an hour. The sales pitch portion may only take 30 minutes, but there is still the small talk and the relationship management portion. Going forward, Teams could perhaps play a role in making things more efficient in that the shorter more pressing status briefings could be handled via Teams and then perhaps the physical meetings would also become more efficient.”
Moving the entire organization forward
Teams has been put into practice for Intego’s entire organization. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, the managers and the department heads would conduct status meetings several times a week. All through video calls. This allowed us to continue to operate our business. Generally, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw a large shift to more and more people using the camera rather than just making a regular phone call. It provides a more personal interaction. I also handle my meetings with our suppliers through video” Morten Christensen says.
”At this point in time, we have approximately 230 users on Teams, but we are adding more. The next step may be adding our technicians. They could benefit tremendously from it. For instance, an electrician could jump on a video call to a colleague or write in the forum and then physically display the task, causing trouble” Torben elaborates. “And in our own IT department, we use it for knowledge sharing.” Morten says.
Controlling the process
Installing a platform via the platform itself is likely a task only few had experienced before Covid. Yet, a satisfied IT Director says the following about the implementation process: “We were actually not too scared because we knew Jakob very well. And everything related to security was put in place without any hiccups. This included both Microsoft’s MFA and other measures. People were actually eager to get going, but we had control of the process when we hit the accelerator. People wanted to add their mobile devices and some actually started using Teams on their cell phones before we were ready, so we had to let them know; first we will secure your PC’s and then your mobile devices. Jakob was excellent in this respect – we were able to get a hold of him anytime and he always got back to us right away.” Morten says.
”We didn’t just get handed a system and then was left to fend for ourselves. No matter how you slice it, it was a huge advantage that we needed to implement Teams through Teams. Much of our communication was handled this way so we learned the in’s and out’s of the system very well ourselves.” Torben adds: “If we look at the entire process, people have received the system very well. Approximately 70% were able to handle things themselves with the help of the messages and guides we created, so I would say it was a good roll-out. We provided information about the key features such as meetings, groups, chat, etc., but later on, we will need to go deeper.”
Keeping an eye on the systems
When you switch from one system to another, do you just pull the plug on the old system? The quick answer is no. “In theory, we could just close down our old Skype servers. But the old setup had many implications on our existing environment so we needed to ensure that it was removed without destroying anything so we protect our infrastructure. Therefore, Jakob comes to us now and helps us with that part.” Morten says and explains that the Team project is part of a larger digitalization project in Intego which started back in 2019. “This is all about where Intego is going, digitally speaking. And which tools we need to build upon. Here we do have to say that the Microsoft Cloud has been a hard solution to ignore.
Partners since the early beginnings
Intego’s journey with edgemo is a special one as they were one of our first customers. “We came on board from the very beginning. I think they had less than 10 employees at edgemo back then. Their CEO came to visit and we actually could not get rid of him.” Morten laughingly says. “We had to give him the project of Skype for Business so it has come full circle now that we are pulling the plug on it and Jakob is helping us to move on to a new system.” When asked about the relationship after so many years, Morten says: ”We have our weekly meetings and contact with our Business Relationship Manager. Everything related to the daily operation runs through him and he is excellent. A good relationship is critical to him.”
”Generally speaking, I would say that the spirit edgemo had from the beginning remains today. They still have the same values. They are present without being pushy and we enjoy participating in their social activities such as the edgemo summit. So this is a collaboration that just makes sense.” Morten Christensen, IT Director in Intego A/S concludes.
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