Collaboration Game Changer: Skype for Business Online and Microsoft Teams are keeping Mott MacDonald connected
With 16,000 employees scattered across 140 offices worldwide, Mott MacDonald tackles some of the biggest engineering, management and development challenges in the world. In their business, communication is the key to success. They turn obstacles into sustainable solutions and use their network of experts to open opportunities with connected thinking.
“Our business is highly collaborative,” says Ron Sattan, VP of North America IT and Global Infrastructure at Mott MacDonald. “We have expertise across the globe that needs to participate in a project or in an effort we’re designing for our clients.”
Office 365 proved to be the ideal platform for allowing this multinational firm to collaborate most efficiently. As an early adopter, Mott MacDonald took complete advantage of the full suite of tools within Office 365—from facilitating video conference calls via Skype for Business Online to sharing files through SharePoint Online and OneDrive. They are also looking towards the future with Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork in Office 365.
“The digital tools that we use today allow us to collaborate and see things in real time,” Sattan explains. “Our productivity has gone up substantially since we’ve adopted these types of collaborative tools.”
Skype for Business Online proved to be a real game changer, and cost-saver, by allowing true real-time collaboration, no matter the time zone. “It costs money to bring people from Singapore to London to the U.S.,” Sattan says. “We can now hold those meetings with almost no cost.” Beyond the talk and video conferencing functionality, the chat, file sharing, and screen sharing capabilities of Skype for Business Online have made instant communication and collaboration effortless.
These efforts are impacting the way employees work in and out of the office. “[Before], we'd have to send people to the project sites for prolonged periods of time. Someone might have to leave their home for six months to work on a project. Today, that could be reduced substantially, or eliminated,” said Sattan.
Looking ahead to Microsoft Teams
Mott MacDonald remains forward-thinking when it comes to optimizing productivity. Having experienced the benefits of integrated tools within Office 365, they are taking the next step in centralizing collaboration with the implementation of Microsoft Teams, the chat-based workspace in Office 365. Apps such as Word, Excel and OneNote can be accessed through Teams and tailored to fit the needs of each project.
“Microsoft Teams allows you to communicate, collaborate, work on content and get work done on any device, at any time,” explains Simon Denton, Business Architect and Microsoft MVP. Denton leads the Microsoft Teams workstream at Mott MacDonald. “The initial feedback that we’ve gotten from people has been outstanding. Teams is easy to use and it brings together the people, content and tools in one single workspace.”
Mott MacDonald is rolling out Teams to learn how it will keep their organization more connected. Paul Trower, Mott MacDonald’s Office 365 Service Owner, is excited about the possibilities, “We're looking to understand how we can use Microsoft Teams to aid productivity, to get teams working better together,” says Trower. “A lot of our teams are geographically disparate with staff members on different continents. And I'm hopeful that Microsoft Teams will help me knit teams together even more closely.”
Those working on a project can easily discuss relevant topics, review documents, hold video meetings and participate in screen sharing—all in a centralized environment that feels familiar from day one.
“The beauty of Teams is that it begins to bring all of those functions together in one place,” Sattan adds. “Being able to see conversations in real time and immediately jump into a voice conversation in context with the information and people is going to be amazing for the business.”
Security and scalability of Office 365
According to Denton, another reason that Mott MacDonald has gravitated to Teams was the reassurance around security that the product provided. From prior experience with Office 365, they trust and are familiar with the level of security and compliance that Microsoft provides. Mott MacDonald’s IT organization knows permissions are managed so each individual sees only what they are invited to, and all of the client’s data remains secure.
“Information security is absolutely paramount,” Denton explains. “Clients trust us for our integrity.”
Moving to the Microsoft Cloud provides multiple benefits. “We made a fundamental shift in our decision to go all-cloud, and we've built our connectivity across all of our sites globally using primarily public Internet connectivity,” says Sattan. “The fact that it's [Teams] in Microsoft's Cloud and able to operate at scale—something we weren't able to really do with our own systems inside of our data centers—really changes the picture. The experience is more consistent for all of our users globally.”
Regional Infrastructure Manager, Joe Chambers digs into the details. “We no longer have to run and maintain old servers and all those things that go along with an [on-premises] infrastructure,” he explains.
A competitive advantage
Ultimately, it takes the best software solutions available to be a leader in an industry that tackles some of the world’s most demanding projects. Denton points to the advantages of committing to the Office 365 suite, “It's a really tough, competitive marketplace that we operate in. If we can take advantage with technology that augments us in our competition, that's going to be good. It’ll help us attract not only the engineers of the future, but the engineers of the current. You'll see that we are a very forward-thinking organization.”
Trower summed it up this way, “If our greatest asset is our people, we need the best people. And if the best software encourages the best people to join us, that will make us more successful.”