Dentsu Aegis Network transforms global networking with Microsoft 365 Enterprise
Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) innovates the way brands are built through a global network of agencies. After deploying Microsoft Office 365, DAN gained a more productive employee network of its own. Using Microsoft Teams chat-based collaboration hubs, its virtual teams coordinate work across the regions. And thanks to the collaboration and business intelligence services within Office 365, media procurement employees expect to shave up to 60 percent off the time it takes to assemble media-buying reports from 14 countries.
Collaboration is akin to competitive advantage for Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN)—not surprising for a global company with the word “network” in its name. With an operating model of connected agencies where 38,000 specialists work across 25 time zones in 145 countries and represent more than 70 global, specialist, and local brands, improving collaboration is an ongoing objective. The latest step toward this goal—deploying Microsoft 365—ushered in a smart, digital, connected way of working that’s helping DAN serve clients with high expectations for top-quality digital and media content, and face new competition from large tech companies and non-traditional players. Microsoft 365 Enterprise combines the power of Microsoft Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility+ Security.
“Collaboration is one of the values of our organization that you see in play when we bring teams together across multiple markets, including people with different skill sets and from different regions, to pitch for and win work,” says Gideon Kay, Group Chief Information Officer (Interim) and EMEA Chief Information Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network. “We’re using Office 365 cloud communication and collaboration services to amplify our innate competitive advantage. By reducing the barriers to connecting the talents of our global workforce, employees can work better together for our clients.”
Providing a highly secure platform for creative collaboration
DAN employees work on a diverse portfolio of creative and media brands. And they now choose among many different Office 365 services to match their personal productivity requirements—all from one cloud-based suite of services. “Microsoft understands that people require different tools to do different jobs, and all the services you get with Office 365 reflects that,” says Patience Wootton, Product Owner – Office 365 at Dentsu Aegis Network.
More than 31,000 people at DAN now use Office 365 to access and share all facets of their work on their PCs, laptops, and other mobile devices. The company is deploying Office 365 ProPlus, a subscription to the latest Microsoft Office suite, as part of its Windows 10 operating system deployment. Employees are already taking advantage of their ability to install Office 365 ProPlus on up to five different devices with their single Office 365 license, which facilitates working from home and on the road. And to secure enterprise data while enabling this anytime, anywhere access to information, DAN is using the identity protection and mobile device management capabilities within Enterprise Mobility + Security.
To increase the impact and outcomes of their video calls, employees use Skype for Business Online. They share desktops, engage in whiteboarding sessions, and coauthor creative content to provide ideas and campaign deliverables faster to clients. Managers in different business groups use Microsoft Power BI to analyze information and present reports efficiently to stakeholders through intuitive dashboards.
Empowering productive teamwork
DAN teams have also minimized the time it takes to prepare pitches by using a combination of Microsoft Word Online and PowerPoint Online and sharing and accessing files from OneDrive for Business. “Employees work together to polish and curate content online, reducing the pitch development process from three days to a single three-hour meeting,” says Kay. “That’s a huge reduction in time and expense compared with getting everyone to sit in a room together. We’re using Office 365 to deliver a much stronger productivity capability around the business.”
And according to Victor Wingsing, Office 365 APAC Manager at Dentsu Aegis Network, the company has every confidence in the security of Office 365. “We bank on customer trust to maintain our business relationships. Office 365 offers built-in security and privacy services, reassuring us that we are able to competently protect our client and companies’ information and interests.”
Creating global conversations and boosting engagement
When DAN employees use Office 365 services to enable global cross-brand collaboration, it facilitates a transition to more collaborative work practices that reinforce the creative process. “Our global teams are working better together, collaborating, and innovating to deliver their best to our clients,” says Wootton. “We’ve seen Office 365 readily adopted throughout DAN because it facilities our behavior, rather than forcing us to work differently.”
With the average DAN employee age hovering around 29, employees have embraced the Yammer enterprise social network for engaging with each other across the widely-dispersed company. “When employees in Africa started a Yammer conversation about a new product release there and included a link to their case study, people in our Taiwan office said ‘Hey, we serve that client too,’ and they started sharing knowledge and tips,” says Wingsing. “Also, we’ve found Yammer to be great for asking questions in real time during our town hall sessions, where we use Skype Broadcast to reach hundreds of employees with quarterly updates. Previously, we sent this information out via email, and the field had no real opportunity to respond to it.”
As the first step to moving its on-premises intranet sites to Microsoft SharePoint Online, DAN has set up a global team site with a corporate news feed to keep employees current with the latest developments around the company. Sharing employee achievements and big wins on the Microsoft Office Video portal is another way that DAN uses Office 365 to promote employee awareness and engagement around the world.
Conversations between colleagues and clients also happen in a highly secure environment, accelerating the pace of business. The company’s previous file storage sharing system had a maximum file size of 315 megabytes. Today, employees securely shared deliverables, including large files such as videos and commercials, with their clients using OneDrive for Business. “We’re also building better relationships and delivering more personal service by using Yammer External Networks to chat with partners and clients,” says Wingsing.
Establishing a central heartbeat for projects
DAN continues to put collaboration front and center using Microsoft Teams, a chat-based collaboration hub that includes built-in interoperability with Microsoft Planner, OneNote, SharePoint Online, and Power BI. “We noticed a gap at our company and filled it with Microsoft Teams, which gives us an easy-to-use hub where we can chat and work together without having to switch between different products,” says Wootton. “As we move toward a more agile, conversational style of working, this form of digital collaboration really resonates with our workforce.”
According to Wootton, DAN is learning a lot about its employees by listening to the many reasons they prefer to use Microsoft Teams. Most employees choose the collaboration solution to foster cooperation across brands that are working for the same client. “By adding Microsoft Teams, we’ve definitely heightened global cross-brand collaboration. It provides the central heartbeat for our projects,” says Wootton. “With minimal internal promotion and after just three months, we have 600 employees in 20 different digital and media brands working in Microsoft Teams collaboration hubs. Previously, brands tended to work in silos, but today, they have one space where they can coordinate deliverables for the same client with real-time chat, shared files, and OneNote notebooks.”
Sunil Yadav, President, Amplify Asia Pacific at Dentsu Aegis reports that employees throughout his region use Microsoft Teams to better serve clients. “Our clients expect us to provide coordinated services across our brands and across geographies to provide them with multimarket strategies, and Microsoft Teams really enables that,” he says. “Our media procurement team members travel in 14 countries up to 50 percent of their time, but they all need to work with the same set of data. Now that everything is stored in a collaboration hub, they have one version of the truth to take with them when they talk to our clients.”
Microsoft Teams also expedites the creation of deliverables, both for management and clients. Yadav and his team member – Regional Managing director for Amnet, a DAN brand, used Microsoft Teams to co-author a PowerPoint presentation for the executive board—while they were traveling in different parts of the world. “My colleague uploaded the presentation to OneDrive for Business, I made comments in our OneNote notebook, and she edited the slides in real time,” Yadav says. “We coordinated the whole project through Microsoft Teams, and it took half the time it used to take us.”
Another compelling reason for adopting Microsoft Teams at DAN is to move away from Slack, especially as payment for Slack is required after employees reach a certain usage threshold. Other groups are more impressed with the security capabilities of Microsoft Teams. “One of our brand groups in Ireland switched from Slack to Microsoft Teams because it wanted a technology that was more secure, and anything that is part of Office 365 already comes with security capabilities built in,” says Wootton.
Improving processes through intelligent services
For those who prefer to collaborate in email, groups in Microsoft Outlook 2016 offer collaboration in a familiar environment. Five members of the media investment management team in the DAN Singapore regional office take advantage of groups in Outlook along with along with SharePoint Online and Power BI, to automate the monthly preparation of media-buying performance reports across 14 countries in the Asia and Pacific region. It created a group in Outlook for each country. Employees from each country submit their spreadsheets to their group, which includes a shared inbox, calendar, SharePoint Online team site, OneNote notebook, and Microsoft Planner.
“We used Power BI to pull data from each group and combine it into one view,” says Yadav. “This is a lot more efficient than our previous process, when people emailed their spreadsheets and managers had to hunt for them in their inboxes and then manually merge the information. We also set up alerts in Microsoft Planner every month so employees can make sure they submit their reports on time. And once we finish creating automatic import functions to move data from Microsoft Excel into a Power BI dashboard, we’ll reduce the time it takes to prepare the reports by approximately 60 percent—up to four or five days a month.”
Concludes Kay, “With Office 365, we’re experiencing a major workplace transformation. The boundaries of our organization are becoming more amorphous, removing the friction from collaboration to accelerate innovative brand development and enhance client relationships.”
By adding Microsoft Teams, we've definitely heightened global cross-brand collaboration. It provides the central heartbeat for our projects.