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How to Build a Modern, Secure Workplace Using HPE and Microsoft 365 Technology

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By Thomas Strasser, WW Distinguished Technologist - Microsoft 365, Intelligent Edge & IoT Services CoE

The digital transformation to a modern workplace is no longer the subject for futurists. The time has arrived when users are demanding environments that are dynamic, reliable, collaborative, untethered, and most importantly, secure.  In our discussions with CIOs, delivering an enterprise digital workplace is an IT challenge and one top of mind concern is the necessity for a high level of integration―particularly in a business climate that often matches the pace of change with that of emerging and disruptive technologies.

We live in a technology driven workplace and transforming from legacy to modern will present a set of challenges that can be overcome ―with knowledge, experience and a logical, planned approach.  Let’s look first at the three issues that affect a CIO’s plan for introducing the digital workplace to users:

 HPE20160817004_800_0_72_srgb.jpgData security is the number one issue for any of us.  We all want the same access on all our devices―personal or company-owned. How do we achieve that and maintain that necessary high level of security? Protecting data privacy is an important issue that has global implications. Governments are increasing regulations in this area, which can present new IT challenges, particularly for global enterprises because of the expanse of their reach. Of interest currently is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), scheduled for implementation in May 2018.  According to its website, “GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.” Research is showing that GDPR is causing a conflict for CIOs, as users are expecting more flexibility, working with a mixture of both company and personal assets and devices.

Data accessibility means consistent access to your data anywhere, at any time you like and with the device of your choosing. The modern workplace promotes a user-centric environment designed to improve productivity and customer satisfaction. That emphasis dissolves the frustration everyone has felt some time in their career when their laptop crashed and data was lost. Instead of sitting in frustration, users today can access the same file with another device. Does it matter where the data is stored? No.

Mergers, acquisitions and spin-offs are a fact of business life. But often the separate companies involved do not share the same technology platform and a cloud to cloud transformation becomes necessary.  I have seen this scenario with customers and have experienced it several times during my 20-year career with HPE. What I have learned is that delivering a single secure, productive environment is not easy, as competing technologies have different champions, often creating a chaotic IT environment. One company may be using Google Cloud, another could be using Box for their cloud storage. Insufficient internal and migration tools cause IT frustrations, increasing project costs and require the redirection of valuable resources to projects that often deliver poor results.  The downward spiral affects everyone. 

Looking for some relief, the CIOs we have talked to have shown an interest in consolidating diverse cloud platforms onto Microsoft’s cloud productivity suite, Microsoft 365 Enterprise, which includes Office 365, Windows 10 Enterprise and the Enterprise Mobility + Security toolkit.

The productivity suite is appealing because it delivers an integrated workplace experience for every employee regardless of whether they use PC/laptop, tablet or smartphone and provides them with consistent user experience across multiple devices. For the already stretched IT team, it means a simpler and more efficient management interface with a single Microsoft 365 administrative portal. Adding Windows 10 into the platform also enables the desktop and laptop estate to be treated much more like their new upstart siblings - the phone and tablet devices, ultimately meaning reduced work for IT and less support load to the end user, meaning a reduction in TCO.

They like the productivity benefits offered and their IT organizations agree the tools will simplify management. Still they have questions around cost-effectiveness and productivity gains.

The Chinese say that the longest journey starts with a single step ―it is the same for a digital transformation. When HP broke into two separate entities, HPE and HP Inc., both companies’ infrastructures needed restructuring and each migrated to Office 365. The migration of our global premise-based Microsoft email and collaboration workloads deployment to Microsoft Office 365 transformed our workplace. We faced logical challenges such as which data are suitable to be kept and managed in the cloud.  Our users were happy because now we could accelerate introducing new features and functions.  We can deliver a consistent workplace experience across multiple platforms. Transforming ourselves led to many positive outcomes and invaluable knowledge gain such as enables increased productivity, greater mobility and a cost-per-mailbox reduction by up to 30%.

Because we “drank our own champagne” (or “ate our own dogfood” as the saying goes), we developed competencies and skills to help customers thinking of doing the same. For example, we recommend that CIOs considering an Office 365 migration weigh these four issues: 

  • Network readiness
  • Directory integration
  • Client readiness
  • Support

We learned that our customers were eager for us to share our experiences. To address this compelling need, HPE developed a services portfolio that covers the full lifecycle of transformation to Microsoft 365 Enterprise. Of interest to IT organizations still considering the migration is the HPE Readiness Workshop for Office 365― a one-day event that: Leverages HPE’s experience, verifies that the scope fits your organization’s specific plans, identifies your priorities, and creates a high-level roadmap for the migration and adoption. Join us today!

Additional Resources:

 Thomas Strasser.jpgThomas Strasser, HPEAbout the Author: Thomas Strasser has over 30 years of professional experience specializing in delivering Unified Communication and Collaboration, Infrastructure transformation services. He is working as a Distinguished Technologist for Microsoft 365 in the Intelligent Edge & IoT Services Center of Excellence and is leading the WW HPE Pointnext community of Digital Collaboration technologists, establishing trusted advisor relationships with key customers and the development of new and emerging solutions designed to solve critical customer collaboration issues and communication strategies. He is certified as a “Microsoft Certified Master: Exchange” and “Microsoft Certified Architect: Messaging.”

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