Mobilizing teams to work (and succeed) worldwide

Mobility isn’t about mobile phones these days. In a new era for IT, mobility refers to the global push toward connectivity, especially in the workplace. Smartphones and tablets are just as likely to be used to access the Internet as a laptop or PC and embracing this shift in mobile technology is crucial for any IT department.
Microsoft IT is embracing mobility while acknowledging that the process is not a simple one. Mobility means more than Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies and looking at information across various mobile devices, although that’s a good place to start. Mobility also applies to mobilizing business (i.e. conducting business through a mobile landscape). Corporate culture is rapidly changing with mobility, and being able to handle business efficiently throughout the change is crucial to keeping CIOs savvy and up-to-date in the best practices possible for their teams.
Bev Hess, general manager in Microsoft IT, has spent years managing global remote teams. Today, she supervises 150 people in 32 countries. Hess was one of about 30 recipients of the Microsoft Circle of Excellence Chairman’s Award in 2012 and she uses Microsoft Lync and SharePoint to communicate and direct her team effectively. She believes in the effective use of global collaboration that her team exemplifies. “We build collaborative products, and to do it successfully, we need global teams,” Hess said.
There has been some dispute recently about people working away from the office and what that does to productivity. Companies are making critical decisions about mobility that could affect their competitive edge with other companies down the road.
A recent survey done by Symantec (2013) shows that companies that are willing to embrace mobility (and the changes that come with it) are called innovators. And innovators are willing to take on the challenge and risks of embracing mobility in their workplace from BYOD policies to mobile business developments.
The survey found that embracing mobility came with a higher cost. While innovators are, indeed, spending more on their losses, from developments in mobility, two-thirds of the innovating companies said that it was still worth it. Why? Because greater productivity, efficiency and agility are all positive results of mobility.
The innovators saw noteworthy percentage increases (34% profit growth and 44% revenue growth) as a result of their efforts to pioneer mobility in their companies. Add to that a higher employee satisfaction rate and better retention rates, and now it may seem more obvious why mobility is getting so much chatter these days. The survey suggests that companies should begin to learn from the innovators and get the benefits of seeing how they work while minimizing risks.
Microsoft IT is an example of an innovative company, and the Microsoft IT Annual Report highlights mobility as well as several other facets of IT that pushes Microsoft to the forefront of where the IT industry is headed. Mobilizing different platforms and technologies is only the beginning.
Hess’ team is an excellent example of where we are headed. Her team has the flexibility and support to work from home or the office and the capability to be an international team because Microsoft Lync and SharePoint enable them to have meetings and share content halfway around the world.
“People who are successful working remote are more open to culture,” Hess said. “We help relay those cultural differences so we can build better products and services.”
Microsoft IT has embraced mobility in its business practices to enable global teams to communicate and successfully deliver, like Bev Hess’s team. Mobility isn’t about the latest technologies as much as it is about embracing the places that those technologies can take us. To take a look at how Microsoft IT is implementing mobility in their workplace and innovating the world of IT check out the Microsoft IT Annual Report.
The Microsoft IT Annual Report details the developments of Microsoft IT in 2013 in not only mobility but also in agility, security, digitization, ingenuity, and competitive edge. To see how Microsoft IT implement their best practices in the new era IT, view and download the IT Annual Report here.
Patrick O’Rourke, director, Office of the CIO
Microsoft IT