Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW
Microsoft 365 enabled rapid remote working for New South Wales’
independent dispute resolution organisation, EWON.
"I would rate 4.5 out of 5 stars to Professional Advantage for their technical expertise, excellent project management, and sound account management."
Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services
Further to its initiative to modernise its IT infrastructure with Microsoft Azure in this success story, EWON has also undertaken a digital transformation with Microsoft 365. Their Microsoft Exchange Server badly needed a hardware refresh as did their SharePoint 2010 environment. Instead of heading down the on-premise refresh path which would have cost a lot more, EWON pursued the cloud option.
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Migrating to Microsoft 365
EWON turned to Professional Advantage (PA) as its Microsoft 365 cloud partner, with PA having shown their technical expertise, deep client focus, and capability across all Microsoft cloud platforms: Azure, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics. It made sense for EWON to choose Microsoft 365 for its office productivity solution; affordable not-for-profit licensing scheme; better connection with their Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Azure-based infrastructure; and the native apps that Microsoft bundles into their license packages.
Professional Advantage started with migrating over a hundred Exchange Server 2010 mailboxes to Microsoft 365. With their mailboxes now hosted on Exchange Online, EWON is able to improve on its foundational data security with data loss prevention (DLP), e-discovery, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and more—all built-in into Microsoft 365.
Enabled remote working within 48 hours
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across Australia, EWON’s primary concern was enabling their people to work safely from home, whilst trying to operate business as usual. With their mailboxes now in Microsoft 365, transitioning to remote working became a lot easier for them.
“We moved everything to the cloud when COVID hit, which enabled us to move 80% of our workforce to work from home within 48 hours.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Microsoft Teams played a crucial role in enabling rapid remote working and allowing their people to stay connected. Through Teams, EWON can run meetings online, and redirect some of the emails that could otherwise be better communicated through online chat. EWON also used Teams to ensure staff engagement and encourage a sense of togetherness.
“We wanted to help people who had challenges being connected with their colleagues. If they are working on their own in a tiny bedroom in their house, they can be very socially isolated, so we created social channels for baking, yoga, or pets.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Real-time collaboration has never been heard of before at EWON until Microsoft Teams was introduced. Their top executives who love folder structures in a file share have now adapted to seeing documents in Teams and quite comfortably collaborating with their colleagues at the same time. Microsoft Teams introduced a cultural transformation with the way they communicate and collaborate internally.
“We can use our phones to access Microsoft Teams, our documents, and run meetings as well. The chat just took all the email traffic out of my inbox which is beautiful!” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Delivering better responses with a self-service Knowledge Base and communications portal
The next step in the transformation was to remove the old and unsupported SharePoint 2010 Server environment. PA redeployed the EWON SharePoint Intranet using a communications portal on SharePoint Online. Called theHub, it enabled its people to:
The Knowledge Base is a 330-page wiki that is critical to how EWON’s Investigations and Call Centre operate. Its people needed to get quick access to content while on their phones and so Professional Advantage took these approaches to address it:
Laying the foundations for a data-driven and AI-powered busines
With Microsoft 365 at the helm of EWON’s cloud roadmap, it effectively laid the groundwork for its plans of becoming a business that is data-driven and powered by artificial intelligence
“Knowledge management is a critical success factor for us in order for the policy, research, or the awareness teams to develop strategies based on what comes through the frontline. The complaints, details, locations, demographics, nature of complaints, and who they are complaining against all goes downstream to the team. It is very clear that we need to use that knowledge in the best possible way.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Within the next 12 months, Bernadette Or sees EWON embarking on a Power BI project to replace its existing SQL Server Reporting Services. This will enable EWON to minimise the report analysis done manually in Microsoft Excel using advanced find or word search.
“We envisage leveraging Power BI next so we can create more dynamic, infographic reports, and can demonstrate our impact to the community better. I also imagine AI can help in the future; rather than wait till we get our data structure, we can pump AI in and it might result in a quicker outcome.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Read Next: EWON’s success story with leveraging the power of the Power Platform here.