When Swisscom decided to replace its telephone systems, which were ready for renewal, the company knew that it would be an emotionally charged project and one that employees would be hesitant to embrace. Swisscom used the Microsoft Enterprise
Strategy Program to develop an adoption process that focused on people and, as a result, successfully implemented Microsoft communications technology that increased employee efficiency and improved communications.
Swisscom is a telecommunications and IT services provider in Switzerland that offers a full range of telephony products and services for mobile, landline, and IP–based voice and data communication. The company serves residential and corporate customers,
including 6 million mobile and 1.6 million broadband customers. For its corporate customers, Swisscom IT Services provides IT outsourcing, systems integration, and managed workplace and data center services.
Swisscom watches the trends in telephony solutions and invests in a network infrastructure that will help it bring new technologies to its customers. The company wanted to modernize its own internal communication systems, so when its telephony service was
scheduled for renewal, including its 94 traditional, private branch exchange (PBX) phone systems, Swisscom decided it was a good time to evaluate a different approach to communications. “We have 20,000 employees spread across more than 100 locations,” explains
Ruggero Crameri, Product Manager at Swisscom. “With traditional telephony models, some employees spent up to two hours traveling between offices for meetings. We offer our customers better options for communication and collaboration, so it was time for Swisscom
to embrace a change internally.”
The company decided to replace its aging phone systems with a Unified Communications solution from Microsoft, including Microsoft Lync Server 2010 and Microsoft Exchange 2010. However, Swisscom needed to ensure that employees would embrace the change, which,
to some, seemed like a radical departure from traditional telephony systems. “Telephones have been our business for 150 years, and we were proposing taking everyone’s telephone away,” says Crameri. “To employees, we’re not just implementing a software application.
We knew that there would be an emotional response to this new way of working—those emotions required us to find a new approach to change management if we wanted to be successful.”
||By focusing on people and the emotions that go along with a dramatic change to the way they conduct their daily work lives, we saw a greater willingness from employees to adopt a new technology.
| Ruggero Crameri
Product Manager, Swisscom
In April 2010, as Swisscom prepared to roll out its Unified Communications solution, it decided to use the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program from Microsoft Services and put its business and employees—instead of technology—at the heart of the project.
Swisscom worked with a business strategy consultant from the Enterprise Strategy Program to develop a change in management approach that would alleviate employees’ fear of change and foster technology adoption.
Swisscom set up a team of 70 apprentices, called UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration) Specialists, as the first step of its technology rollout, in addition to more experienced UCC Geniuses. “A UCC Specialist went to every employee to train them,”
says Christa Engelmann, Business Strategy Consultant for the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program. “We offered hands-on instruction and, once the training was completed, we took away their old phones right there. We also provided a manual so that employees
had something tactile to reference.”
To further encourage adoption among employees, the company developed a video of the Swisscom CEO being trained. “We showed a UCC Genius explaining to the CEO how the system worked and, at the end of the video, we took away his phone,” explains Crameri. “It
was a perfect strategy to illustrate empathy, but to also show that it was a change that everyone supported.”
Swisscom also had a comprehensive change program to complement the initial training. It created online forums to encourage employees to share ideas, an email address dedicated to employee questions, and instructor-led online courses for advanced training
and experience sharing. It created surveys to gather employees’ reactions to the newly implemented technology, which both the team and the executives used to address employees’ concerns. The team also hosted drop-in sessions in each building to raise awareness
and help employees with additional training.
By October 2011, Swisscom successfully replaced 94 PBX phone systems, and 20,000 employees were using Lync Server 2010 and Exchange 2010 as their primary communication and collaboration tools.
Swisscom used the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program to develop a systematic approach to change management that has people, not technology, at its center. By using this approach, Swisscom has:
Increased employee efficiency. By implementing a Unified Communications solution and eliminating the need to travel to branch offices for meetings, Swisscom found that its employees gain at least two hours each week of productive working
time. “We helped save employees hours each week in travel time through the use of Microsoft technology,” says Crameri. “But the real benefit is that efficiency gains are compounded because 20,000 employees embraced the solution, thanks to the adoption program
that the Enterprise Strategy Program helped us create.”
Improved voice quality for communications. As part of its change in management approach, the telecommunications company offered employees several opportunities to provide feedback about the new technology. As a result, Swisscom identified
and quickly remedied problems that affected voice quality. “Instead of just implementing technology, we gave employees a voice with multiple feedback options throughout the process,” explains Engelmann. “Not only did employees feel involved, but their feedback
was invaluable in helping Swisscom fix system settings and improve voice quality of their communications solution.”
Developed a framework for future IT projects. Swisscom replaced 94 PBX phone systems in a matter of months. It attributes part of the success of the project to the change in management approach that the Enterprise Strategy Program helped
the company implement—that is, one that focuses on people, not technology. “By focusing on people and the emotions that go along with a dramatic change to the way they conduct their daily work lives, we saw a greater willingness from employees to adopt a new
technology,” says Crameri. “We will take the same approach for future IT projects.”
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