Matt Bywater (EDF Energy): Technology, Process & People – don’t under estimate the amount of time, cost and effort that is required to get the process and people part right! #entdigi #eds18

The preparations for the Enterprise Digital Workplace SUMMIT are in full swing. The key questions for the June event is about the refinement of the Digital Workplace and Employee Experience strategy. In order to prepare the discussions we are starting off with some speaker’s interviews within the next weeks. For the beginning we are happy to present the answers of Matthew Bywater, Digital Workplace Specialist at EDF Energy. He will be speaking at the June event about his lessons learned from rolling out a Digital Workplace at EDF Energy. In our interview we asking him about the backgrounds to his projects and his journey.

Q1: Matt – you will be speaking at our Enterprise Digital SUMMIT in June. The topic of your talk are lessons learned from rolling out a digital workplace at EDF Energy. What is the one key lesson that you will be talking about?

Matt Bywater: Hi Bjoern. I’m looking forward to the event in June, meeting people and listening to the other talks. I found last year’s event very interesting and useful. So to answer your question, there are lots of lessons we have learnt but the main one for me is that there is no right or wrong answer – you have to do what is right for you! There are an overwhelming number of options and solutions out there so it is vital that you understand your business and desired outcomes. Try some stuff – it’s OK to get it wrong, we have learnt a lot by piloting. Technology (20), Process (40) and People (40) – don’t under estimate the amount of time, cost and effort that is required to get the process and people part right. Technology is the easy bit and accounts for only 20% of the problem areas, process and people are the rest.

Q2: Before getting into the depth of the change efforts – could you please shed some light on the tech side of your project. What are the key building blocks of the digital workplace strategy at EDF Energy?

Matt Bywater: I will be talking about the process we have been through in understanding our business and desired outcomes and how that has shaped our Digital Workplace strategy which has the following core building blocks:

  • modern device – desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone.
  • modern O/S – Windows 10.
  • modern set of tools and applications – O365 providing core authoring, collaboration and productivity, as well as cloud based SaaS apps such as Concur, Success Factors, etc.
  • Single Sign On provided by a secure identify and access model.

All underpinned by solid infrastructure foundations – network (LAN/WAN/WiFi), Active Directory, Microsoft SCCM, etc.

Q3: What have been the key requirements and objectives for resulting in this tech setting?

Matt Bywater: Key requirements from the business are to be more mobile and productive both in and out of the office, as well as being able to collaborate and communicate more easily and efficiently both internally (within EDF Energy) and externally with our customers and partners. Our objective was to meet the desired business outcomes and where possible maximise the investment we have already made in technology.

Q4: Talking about engagement – how did you support the adoption of this new environment? Or what change efforts had to be taken to get the People and Processes aligned with the possibilities of Technology?

Matt Bywater: As I mentioned earlier as a key lesson learned, process and people has, and continues to be, the difficult part. A Digital Workplace Blueprint had a key part to play in the top down approach we have taken to understanding our business, desired outcomes and defining our strategy. The blueprint work involved a lot of conversations with stakeholders throughout the business to help them shape the vision. That way we are undertaking change with them, rather than forcing change upon them. By always linking change to their business outcomes they better understand the reason for change.

With the step change in modern ways of working we had to demonstrate the art of the possible to them, so they understood what their options were going forward. We did this initially by means of a pilot – we took an opportunity during a facilities move in 2016 to create a modern, model office we felt was fit for the digital age. This pilot was sponsored by our CEO and was something totally different to other EDF Energy sites in terms of the physical space as well as the technology used. I will be talking a little more about this in June.

We have many conversations with HR on how and where people work and with facilities on the design of buildings to encourage collaborative working following lessons learned from the pilot. We also find with our younger workforce that the consumerisation of Enterprise IT means they are ready to use new tools, rather than us trying to fit modern tools into a legacy process.

The shift in technology to the ever evolving Windows 10 and Office 365 has also highlighted the need for us to change our processes, structure and the way we work with our IT partner companies – there is a shift from traditional capitalised projects with big upgrades every 3-5 years to frequent, regular updates that occur as a business as usual activity. To help drive the adoption and change in ways of working we also recognise that we (Enterprise IT) need to change; this is starting with the creation of a Digital Workplace Centre of Excellence. We also recognise that the foundational work with the technology and supporting infrastructure needs to be in-place before mass rollout otherwise the user experience is poor and that impacts adoption.

Q5: You already mentioned the challenges with the Evergreen IT approach on the technological roll-out side – but isn’t this also a new challenge in terms of adoption and changing working routines?

Matt Bywater: Yes you are absolutely right. This is not a one-off activity but something we need to constantly work at. We have a lot of work to do in this space, but there a number of ways we are looking to address this.

One of the Digital Workplace Centre of Excellence responsibilities is product management for O365 and Windows 10. This involves looking at roadmaps and evaluation/assessment of new features and capabilities and to engage the business, HR and Security in that process. We control the rollout of new features, by default new features are turned off and rolled out in a controlled manner when we are ready – user awareness, readiness, training and adoption are all taken into account as part of this process.

We also have a pool of employees who are known as Company Makers and help get behind new initiatives. The Company Makers programme is unique to EDF Energy. It offers first chance opportunities to support key business projects and campaigns. It first began in 2013 after the inspiring London 2012 Games. Company Makers are scattered throughout the organisation and are happy to become the focal point of change, they can spread messages far beyond the borders of IT into all aspects of the company. They were invaluable in driving high levels engagement with previous companywide initiatives.

Our CIO has also introduced a mandatory initiative called #ZingyOnTour for all Enterprise IT employees. Employees take a number of days out of their normal day-to-day duties to spend with the business in order to get an understanding of our business, what’s going well and not so well. This is then shared on Yammer. This is also an opportunity to showcase and talk about new ways of working and what’s possible with the technology and tools we have.

Q6: What are your expectations for participating at Enterprise Digital Workplace SUMMIT?

Matt Bywater: I have attended a number of chalk and talk sessions and conferences as a delegate over the past couple years which I have all found to be very useful and interesting in helping me to make sense of what digital/digital transformation is, so I thought it was time to give something back and share what we have been doing here in the Digital Workplace team at EDF Energy – the process we have been through, some of the lessons learned and challenges that lie ahead. I really enjoyed last year’s event – the venue and format worked well, and I particularly liked the fact that it was informal and interactive. It certainly got me thinking! I look forward to meeting people, listening to what they have to say and learning something new!

We thank Matt for the exciting answers as well as his support of the event.

Meet Matt Bywater and other Digital Workplace practioneers at the Enterprise Digital Workplace SUMMIT – and save your ticket today!