Minttulip, a born-in-the-cloud professional services consulting company, is on a mission to lead and assist organisations on their digital transformation journey.
Microsoft cloud and mobile solutions have opened up huge opportunities for businesses to change the way they work – to become more efficient, to save money, and to imagine and execute ideas that were previously impossible. When we started the company five years ago, we were helping clients with deployments of Office 365 and Azure, migrating their data, and so on, but we kept hearing them say, “Tell me how I drive business out of these platforms, not just how I technically implement them.” Clearly, there was good business in finding, articulating, and proving the value of Microsoft platforms, so we made it our business.
Our process starts and ends with business value – not just for the company overall, but also for the end user, which is where adoption starts. When a company first engages Minttulip, we ask, “What are you trying to achieve from this program?” It seems a simple question, but CIOs and end users may have very different perspectives on the answer. If customers want employees to use the solutions they’re paying for, the value to the employees needs to be obvious.
Proving the value to the end user
While every customer – and therefore every solution – is different, our process itself is pretty straightforward and is based on the realisation of business value. In many ways, the most important part of our process is the very start.
  • First, we conduct business workshops with our customers to discover their “candidate environments,” e.g. business environments which could really derive business benefits from Microsoft solutions and services. We work together to uncover how their existing ways of working might be transformed.

  • Next, we run a proof of concept. We conduct trials within the selected candidate environments to demonstrate the genuine value and ensure the company that their employees will actually use the solutions they’re paying for.

  • Finally, we write up a business case detailing the implementation and business benefits. Only then do we go forward with solution design and delivery.
You “otter” do this differently
Opportunities can come from anywhere if you allow them. We were in the workshop phase with a client who monitors environmental impacts on waterways: rivers, dams, etc. As we were identifying candidate environments we wanted to address, it came up that they have a lot of people who go out every day to do field research. Because there’s no Internet connectivity in the areas where they work, they’d never been provided with technology, and instead faced the wilds with a clipboard, pen, and digital camera. They took notes on paper, then once back in range at the end of the day, they would spend additional time writing reports, filling out forms, uploading pictures, and sending in their findings.
So we built them an app.
Now, every day when site inspectors get up in the morning, they download their documents for the day – forms, maps, checklists, instructions, etc. – from a SharePoint site to their tablet. They fill out the forms during their normal workday, directly onto the tablet, use the device to take pictures, and as soon as they’re back in range, their reports are automatically uploaded to the central site. It takes a fraction of the time, and now the company has a bunch of people who are hugely more efficient. The app is built on Windows 8 and leverages Office 365, so the user interface is familiar and comfortable.
It wasn’t only that one client who saw the benefit. It turns out that virtually every client we told this to as a case study then said, “I’ve got a similar situation: I’ve got people who are seldom connected, I’ve got care workers who visit at-risk children in the community, and I need them to gather data.” Or “I’ve got an engineering manager who needs to look at railway lines for servicing,” “I’ve got a property manager who needs to do site visits. They need to download documents to fill out, they need to take pictures.” We discovered that from that first customer, there was an opportunity for other customers as well – it was applicable across a huge range of clients and verticals. For every client, as with that first client, we aligned the solution with the end user’s needs and with the way the end user worked. We made the technology solution clearly beneficial and central to their day, pretty much guaranteeing adoption.
Personally, I am absolutely passionate about the adoption of the Office 365 platform, and it frustrates me when I hear about lack of adoption. If the business value is there; if the business case has been written, if there’s a program to drive the business benefits into the sunlight, then you will drive adoption. People will absolutely deploy this. They won’t deploy it if it’s, “Well we bought these licenses, but we don’t really know what to do with them.” It’s all about driving the business value out of it. And the end user is the place where that projected business benefit turns into reality.
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