By Gary Steen, Chief Technology Officer at TalkTalk
TalkTalk Telecom Group is a value provider of telecom services in the UK. We believe that reasonably priced, reliable telecom services should be available to everyone, and we provide both businesses and consumers with landline, mobile, broadband and many other services.
However, because we’re a value provider, we need to be creative when it comes to spending on advertising, infrastructure and other items. We win by outthinking and outmaneuvering the competition. This means enabling our people to think creatively and differently about how they approach problems.
That’s why we’re rolling out Microsoft 365 Enterprise to all our 2,500 employees. We are rethinking our entire culture of work – how decisions are made and how people work. In the past, all decisions went through our London office, and all work happened in the office. But we can’t move quickly enough with this location-bound paradigm, and we can’t attract the best people with an old-school, office-based mentality. People do their best work when they work when, where and how they want.
So we designed and opened a new office in Manchester, where two-thirds of our UK employees now work. We got rid of all offices and replaced them with open collaboration spaces with Wi-Fi. We’ve made it easy for people to work together and self-form into teams to make the best decisions and make them quickly.
By deploying Microsoft 365, we’ve also made it possible for employees to be fully functional, productive and engaged when outside the office. With Microsoft 365, working at home or in another remote location is completely on par with working in the office.
And that’s been transformative for us culturally. People can leave the office early to avoid traffic and dial into meetings from home. They can bounce out at midday to pick up their children and still review documents. This freedom is critical to employees feeling that they can be themselves and fit work into the rest of their lives.
With tools such as Skype for Business Online, we can grab one another instantly and easily. We can open documents during calls and review content in real time. We can also work more nimbly with our customers, which range from family-owned shops to multinationals. We’ve federated Skype for Business Online with many of our customers, so we’re more multichannel; we can not only talk on the phone with them or send an email but also send instant messages and connect straightaway. Our customers have noticed that we’re a faster-moving organization.
The fact that Microsoft 365 includes so many integrated services simplifies the workload for my team. By standardizing on Windows 10 Enterprise, we get rid of the myriad versions of Windows that we were previously supporting. Before, we were buying new systems that came with Windows 10 and downgrading the operating system to make them consistent with the rest of our estate. With Windows 10 being part of our Microsoft 365 license, we can roll it out faster and ensure that all our systems have up-to-date security, which is critical with more remote and mobile work styles.
Security is always a key consideration. Using Windows 10 in conjunction with Microsoft Intune and the other Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security services gives us the confidence that all our devices are secure. The fact that we have a multilayered approach to security with Microsoft lets us implement security patches much faster.
There is such a rapid rate of change in telecom services that we have to move quickly to stay ahead. Microsoft 365 is a critical part of our strategy to outthink, outmanoeuver and outpace our competition by empowering every one of our employees.