How an Architect Helped Accelerate Adoption of New Ways of Working (Delivery Documentary)

Delivery Documentaries are a behind the scenes look at how our Architects in the field perform Value Realization activities for customers. The documentaries are raw and real, and the purpose is to share what actually happens on the ground. They are always a learning opportunity, and we hope that over time we can help bridge the state of the art with the state of the practice, and continue to move the ball forward.

How can a business mitigate risk when considering transformational initiatives, and then accelerate the widespread adoption of new tools and technology? This example, provided by Luanne Middleton-Cross, an Architect, describes how she and her team helped a business evaluate initiatives and promote adoption of new ways of working among employees.

Executive Summary

This is a Delivery Documentary of an engagement led by the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program (ESP), which provides services to help customers realize the most value from their technology investments. In this engagement, an Architect helped a company assess business and IT strategy for several initiatives, and then designed training and conducted road shows to promote the adoption of new devices, applications, and new ways of working.


In this engagement, employees and management alike had been hampered by old technology when considering a vision for the future and deciding how best to perform work. The vision was constrained by obsolete assumptions. We demonstrated new possibilities to the business users, showing real changes in work techniques. Employees quickly became enthusiastic when seeing the technology come to life and understanding the options for transforming the way they work.

We began our work during a time when management changes were occurring. Consequently, our first efforts to promote our engagement stalled until new management was in place.

It soon became clear that the previous focus of our proposed initiatives did not resonate with the goals of the new CIO. We had originally considered methods for using a shared service model to build out and scale services so that the business could expand in the region.

The new CIO, who had experience transforming business services, was less interested than the prior CIO in our strategic guidance along these lines. To address the interests of the new management, we changed the focus of our participation. We began having conversations with the CIO about his prior successes, in which our products had played a role, and offered to help make the new strategy successful by first ensuring that it aligned with licenses held and could proceed from the state of technology currently in place. Then we focused on minimizing risk and accelerating adoption.

Teaming up

During this engagement, I worked as part of a very effective team that included an Architect (consulting services), an Account Technology Specialist (sales), and a Technical Account Manager (support). We worked closely together, though I was the single point of contact with the CIO. When the CIO needed something, I was able to relay the information to the correct side of our organization while presenting “One Microsoft” to the customer.

Assessing Streams of Strategy

Compared to a typical assessment using the Value Realization Framework, which supports strategy development, this was a short piece that transitioned more into a validation of the various streams of strategy, such as:

  • Improving communication and collaboration
  • Ensuring data sovereignty compliance for effective cloud adoption
  • Improving information security and modernizing risk assessment
  • Enabling mobility through remote access to increase worker productivity
  • Data center outsourcing
  • Desktop transformation

We created several position papers assessing the business and IT strategy of the proposed initiatives, which included topics such as the transformation of the document management systems, data center transformation, upgrading desktops, enabling communication/collaboration, remote access, improving security, and adding more cloud-enabled features.

We engaged with a variety of stakeholders to validate the positioning. We met with HR and the Change Management team with regard to new ways of working; and we met with the Chief Security Officer about preparing for cloud migration.

Creating RFPs and Reviewing Proposals

Some of the technology streams were already running: for these our focus was on helping accelerate and remove risk from the initiatives. For others, rather than conduct the work ourselves, we participated in helping with the initiative planning phases. For example, we helped create an RFP to select a partner to use to implement communication and collaboration initiatives. We then participated in doing Technical Quality Assurance (TQA) reviews of the submitted proposals.

Promoting Adoption

Although we are often only involved in initiative planning and delivery, we worked on a number of adoption and change management projects to help the business understand the new technology, prepare for deployment, and support the success of the initiatives. We performed this additional work during the value realization phase of the initiatives.

One of our first objectives was to counter obsolete assumptions held by employees and management when considering a vision for the future and deciding how best to perform work. Employees became enthusiastic when we demonstrated new possibilities and helped them understand their options for transforming the way they work.

Creating Custom Training Materials

We conducted persona analysis to identify and provide the most effective training for different roles at the business. We designed and delivered materials for presentation in a variety of local and remote settings, including face-to-face, online, videos, and self-service training. We also worked with our internal WorkSmart training team to provide useful “Tips and Tricks” sessions to the customer.

Using Apps as Incentive

One effective driver for employees was the collection of available tools and apps (such as currency conversion, mapping, and so on) that users could run on their new devices. We provided several team members from Premier and Microsoft Consulting Services to discuss, implement, and deploy a company app store that made available a number of approved apps from the Windows App Marketplace, as well as custom apps.

Presenting Road Shows

We worked with our customer’s Business Engagement leads to develop and conduct a series of road shows about the new technologies being introduced, since our primary goal was to help ensure that people didn't have a negative experience when first using the new tools.

To this end, we created a “road show” that we held at each of the regional offices. A hardware vendor supplied a variety of devices configured with the new software from which employees could choose. During the road shows, we guided employees in trying out the new technology, and showed employees how to take advantage of new features, including communications and collaboration.

Having worked in an environment that previously restricted the types of devices available, employees were very excited to be able to have a choice of computers, and we assisted employees in understanding the benefits of different devices, and the tools to use to increase productivity.

The road shows were focused on making people comfortable with the new technology, and aware of how to best to get value out of it. For example, if a user was concerned about a new ribbon in the interface, we highlighted how to accomplish tasks with it, provided helpful tips for using the new applications, demonstrated how to get around, and even showed how to use shortcut controls that were customized for the business.

After only a few minutes of hands on tutoring, with just a few pointers about using line-of-business applications in the new environment, employees gained confidence and enthusiasm for the changes.


Some aspects of this engagement that were particularly noteworthy, and from which I learned, were:

  • Bringing together the Architect, Account Technology Specialist, and Technical Account Manager delivered a more cohesive service to the customer and was crucial in achieving our success.
  • Directly engaging with the CIO was important in understanding the best way to deliver value. Our close involvement with the CIO also allowed us to represent the impact of our services on a day-to-day basis, rather than only through monthly status reports.
  • Because the real measure of our impact can be felt during Value Realization activities, it was refreshing to be able to deliver services during this phase, in addition to participating in the Assessment and Initiative Planning phases.

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