Workflow Continuity That’s no Accident

 |   Microsoft New Zealand News Centre

Woman works remotely on Microsoft Teams in a team meeting

New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) was established in 1974 and works to help prevent injuries and ensure anyone in New Zealand who is injured in an accident gets the treatment they need. Being a public sector organisation there are high expectations around data security and compliance, so a nationwide lock-down created certain challenges.

In the two weeks leading up to lock-down ACC rolled out a cyber security and remote working system called Z Scaler to give workers remote access.  Microsoft’s Intune, which gives ACC workers the freedom to securely access calls and files from their mobile, was also used to provide additional flexibility day to day.

“In those first couple of weeks of lock-down people were learning how to log in and use Z Scaler, some were on work laptops, some were on their work desktops at home and others were logging in from their own devices, and naturally there were issues,” said Campbell Mackie, Manager, Digital Workspace and Engineering at ACC.

To help alleviate the IT issues, a daily IT Teams drop-in was created, and staff were encouraged to attend if they needed assistance. Led by their M365 adoption team, sessions ran for an hour each day and provided an opportunity for staff to ask questions about Teams and troubleshoot any problems they were having.  The M365 adoption team also had a SharePoint site already in place that gave users a central repository of user guides and FAQs that they could access from anywhere – team members could easily access this via a custom app shortcut in Teams.

A Covid-19 Information SharePoint site was also set up within a few days to help staff prepare for lock-down and to easily communicate organisational updates about Covid throughout lock-down, including working from home instructions, safety information and a managed triage form for human resources questions (which also allowed the HR department to identify common questions to inform additional communications.

Migrating ACC to M365 and Teams gave them a centralised way to communicate. However it was clever management of SharePoint, and the seamless way it integrates into Teams, that really helped with document sharing and compliance during lock-down.

“Every time you create a new team the back-end automatically creates a SharePoint site for file storage, a planner, a mailbox and calendar and a whole bunch of other shared resources. While this is a great feature, we had to make sure staff didn’t create too many Teams sites, making it hard to map all information to a specific business unit or function.”

“We created a workplace wizard that meant teams were created in a more structured and compliant way. Any staff member wanting to create a new team had to work through the wizard, which would alert them if a similar one already existed. It ensured new groups being created were linked to hub sites to make information structured and easy to find. We were then able to apply retention and disposal rules and data classification as mandated by the Public Records Management Act. Having this in place gave us the confidence that when we released Teams and allowed people to share files it would be managed and controlled so we wouldn’t create risk,” said Mackie.

To maximise their sense of community, and enable instant interaction with their colleagues, ACC teams who had previously hadn’t understood the value of Teams started using it and realising the benefits.

Client Service Delivery leaders also ran their fortnightly leadership meetings using Teams ‘Live Events’ meetings with over 250 leaders in attendance.  This was functionality that ACC had not used.

“In what can be described as challenging times, we were able to offer a similar experience through the use of ‘live meetings’ rather than video conferences for our people and they really appreciated our efforts in keeping the rhythm and communication. Our CSD Leaders are now advocates of live meetings and see the possibilities of how effective it was to bring our people together even though we were separated through lock-down,” said Mackie.

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