|Focus on: Empower Employees, Optimize Operations
It’s been several hours since the words on your computer screen made any sense. A coffee mug you’ve refilled more times than you can count sits a few inches away. You glance at your watch—9:00pm—and it’s only Monday. You’re not alone. For many working adults, conversations about “work-life balance” are speckled with stories like this one. However, according to a 2017 study, 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and personal well-being is “very important to them.”
Thankfully, for the approximately 1,000 team members at public accounting firm, WithumSmith+Brown, PC (Withum), work-life balance isn’t just a far-away dream. Without a doubt, Withum takes pride in investing in their team. In fact, according to Withum project manager, Kevin Smith, Withum’s growth and success are attributed to the company’s strong culture.
“At Withum, our culture and commitment to providing a great work environment allow our team members to grow and thrive in their careers—and also have some fun while doing so,” says Smith.
The company’s family atmosphere is evident in every aspect, from offering flex-time scheduling, to organizing firm-sponsored theatre trips and baseball games. Team members leverage workplace platforms that encourage teamwork and camaraderie and enjoy access to multiple mentorship and training opportunities to support individual career goals.
Looking for a digital solution to keep team members connected
While Withum has always considered its unique culture one of their top priorities, collaborating and communicating haven’t always come so easily. With 14 locations along the East Coast from Boston to Florida—and another two locations hundreds of miles away—the company used to rely on in-house technology to share documents and files, make necessary information accessible, and keep their team members connected. And with the increase in personal smart phones and devices used for work purposes, the company wanted to keep their data even more secure.
Withum’s IT department set up a VPN to address the company’s connectivity needs, but the network wasn’t always reliable. The inconsistent technology made working from home difficult for Withum team members. Without reliable digital platforms or consistent connectivity, they often had to commute to the office for files or documents, ultimately preventing them from truly benefiting from the Withum’s flexible policies and emphasis on a healthy work-life balance.
To preserve the organization’s unique work culture and team-focused workplace strategy, Withum’s IT department looked to innovative technology for the answer. They needed a digital solution that would empower their team members, and optimize operations throughout the company. As the contract on their previous MDM solution was nearing its end, Smith and the rest of the IT team began exploring their options.
Completing a seamless migration on a tight timeline
With other Microsoft solutions like Azure already in use at Withum, choosing another Microsoft solution only strengthened their overall digital environment. After selecting Microsoft Intune in August, Withum’s IT team moved into the implementation phase. The organization’s November deadline gave them just two months to transition the entire company—all 1,000 team members, along with their personal and company-supplied mobile devices—over to Intune. That tight timeline also included testing and configuration processes, in addition to rolling out the new product.
Thanks to Withum’s hardworking IT team, the organization’s digital transformation was an overwhelming success. They completed the migration within their timeframe, and according to Smith, Microsoft Intune has already exceeded all of their expectations. Withum Service Response Team member Jason Bromberg shared the same sentiment, commenting on Intune’s connectivity capabilities and easy integration.
“We really wanted to have something in place that would help us manage our mobile devices in the best possible way, while helping us stay linked to our whole Microsoft infrastructure,” explained Bromberg. “Once we tested Microsoft Intune, we realized the integration with the rest of everything we used was really a seamless effort.”
Intune offered a user-friendly interface that made set-up and deployment a breeze, while providing the security Withum needed. Smith, Bromberg and the rest of the IT team can use Intune’s technology to push other apps internally, ensuring that team members throughout the business have access to the latest tools and services. Now that the solution has been implemented on mobile devices, the IT team’s next goal is to use Intune on workplace laptops to support Windows updates, and other apps and programs.
Enhancing the workplace with a suite of Microsoft products
Withum also benefited from optimizing other Microsoft products that easily integrated with their new solution. For example, Skype for Business was already being used throughout the firm to enhance communication opportunities between team members and their customers. But with Withum’s Intune deployment, Lead Tech Chris Paci introduced Skype as an application for mobile devices, improving flexibility and mobility across the firm.
According to Paci, Withum team members “are heavily using Skype for Business right now and collaborating a lot with Microsoft Teams.” With these communication tools, team members can interact and communicate with customers who also use Skype, in addition to working together more easily. As a result, the company delivers more efficient customer service by facilitating real-time dialogue, rather than relying on time-consuming email responses.
In addition to Intune and Skype for Business, the company is currently leveraging a hybrid version of Exchange Online. While some servers still remain on-prem, the IT team is in the process of moving everything over to Office 365’s cloud-based system. Though change is hard for any company, Withum’s IT team is confident the noticeable improvements will only increase as the company continues to explore their new tools.
“I can honestly say that we’re communicating better than we ever have,” Bromberg attests. “I foresee that the rest of the firm as a whole will recognize more improvements as time goes by.”
Fellow Service Response Team member Daniel Pierre agreed, commenting that Microsoft’s commitment to digital innovation is evident in their products. “With Intune, Azure, Exchange, and Skype, along with a multitude of other products, Microsoft should no longer be in the same sentence as their competitors. They stand alone.”
Planning for future digital innovation at Withum
The company’s mission moving forward is to stay up-to-date with their digital tools to keep Withum’s workplace as efficient and flexible as possible. Leveraging Microsoft’s cloud technology has helped tremendously with that vision.
“We use Microsoft to make sure our staff always have that mobile office, so wherever they go they can access whatever they need at any time,” says Smith.
Bromberg adds, “Microsoft has really hit a homerun here in terms of creating a suite of products that work together seamlessly. Microsoft should really be considered if your company is serious about growth and success.”
Withum believes deeply in the importance of facilitating an efficient, team-focused workplace environment, and with Microsoft products like Intune, Skype for Business, and others, the company continues to successfully empower their team members every day.