2022 in review: Trust, understanding and strong partnerships are key

By Daniel Almond, General Manager, Deptive

Someone famous once said that it is only when everything is uncertain that what is really important becomes clear.

With 2022 characterised by escalating costs both for businesses and consumers, a tight labour market and lingering supply chain issues, it at times seemed hard to know what issues to focus on, and what fires to put out first.

But the headwinds we battled this year convinced me of one thing – the importance of forging deep, trusting relationships with our customers. Our clients didn’t waver in 2022, doubling down on the digital transformation and modernisation programmes they know will give them a competitive edge in the short and long term.

We were extensively involved in business process automation projects, helped customers leverage products like Microsoft 365, Power Platform and SharePoint Online, and advised them on how to manage their IT infrastructure to achieve maximum quality of service and productivity. We understood what was important to each other and blocked out the background noise to achieve our respective goals.

That goes equally for our relationships within Deptive. We deepened our respect for each other and focused on what was meant the most to us, as a team and as individuals.

So much has happened in 2022 at Deptive, we thought it worth reflecting on some of the highlights of the year and looking ahead to what we can expect in 2023…

The modern workplace takes shape

Most businesses spent 2022 getting to grips with the hybrid working style that will likely define workplaces for years to come. Every organisation had to find the right balance of in-office and remote work as they left lockdowns behind.

They also had to find the right tools to keep everyone connected and on the same page.

“We’ve seen that the employee experience is now really at the forefront of our customers’ thinking,” says Andrew Pacey, Deptive’s Practice Manager – Modern Workplace.

“There is strong demand for intranets to foster connectivity and sharing, a place that can become a source of truth for news and information across an organisation.”

More and more organisations are flocking to Viva Connections, part of the Microsoft 365 suite. The platform unlocks a comprehensive employee experience for those embracing remote working – connecting intranets with Teams and providing an array of tools so that information is easily accessible, all in one place. People can find what they need quickly, connect via conversations or news articles as well as share important updates – making life easier than ever before.

It underpins Hononga, or “Connection”, the Viva Connections-powered intranet we helped create for Auckland-based financial insurance provider Fidelity Life. Hononga built on the SharePoint-based ‘Covid-19 HQ’ Fidelity quickly spun up in 2020 as an information hub to help people stay engaged and supported through extended periods of lockdown.

At Fidelity, Teams is now the go-to intranet resource that unlocks agile two-way engagement and on-the-go access. Thanks to Microsoft’s Power Platform technologies, all content undergoes quick review processes before going live – and is flagged for review every six months to ensure relevant information remains fresh.

To align our internal strategic goals and help customers achieve the same, we are gearing up to use Viva Goals – Microsoft’s objective-focused goal-setting solution. We have already initiated trials internally and will be ready to share insights from our journey with you in 2023.

The power of Power Apps

Many organisations are taking advantage of Power Apps to automate and modernise business processes, without committing to costly development.

“It’s all about automation, efficiency, visibility and enabling staff to access key applications from their smartphone,” Andrew says, “providing an experience they’d expect from apps they can purchase via app stores”.

We worked with Oceania Healthcare to build a Power App that helps streamline the process of requesting and approving new items of capital expenditure for the retirement village operator, which has assets worth $2.1 billion under management.

Oceania is so pleased with the outcome that it is now looking at what other processes could be streamlined using the Power Apps platform. This webinar we ran in conjunction with Jacquie Keller, Oceania Healthcare’s Head of Technology Delivery, is a great starting point for any organisation looking to explore how Power Apps can enable business process automation and extend the life of legacy software systems.

Building a solid foundation

The cloud and infrastructure side of Deptive had a busy year. Customers continued to pursue a cloud-first strategy, leveraging the scale and cost efficiencies of Microsoft’s Azure platform.

“The move to consumption-based cloud computing models has been a defining trend that accelerated during the pandemic and continues at pace,” says Tony Lyne, Chief Architect and Cloud and Infrastructure Practice Manager at Deptive.

Deptive is collaborating with customers to ensure they’re ready for Microsoft’s groundbreaking New Zealand data centre region, which promises lower latency and expanded data sovereignty options. Plus, Azure users will be able to take advantage of the latest innovative tools that make this versatile platform so powerful.

Elsewhere, says Tony, businesses are paying particular attention to the governance of their on-premises and cloud computing infrastructure.

“With their cloud migration well underway, they are looking to do things the right way. They want consistency, easy management and compliance,” he says.

Deptive has been helping the likes of Bupa, by understanding their IT strategy and co-developing 3-5 year technology modernisation road maps.

“By taking the time to understand our customers and their business challenges and goals we can align their IT strategy and create road maps for success” Tony adds.

The cybersecurity imperative

In 2022, organisations were presented with stark reminders of the tangible risks data breaches can pose – as Pinnacle Midlands Health Network, Optus and Medibank suffered major security incidents. Microsoft’s extensive ecosystem provides an invaluable layer of protection for customers, with its robust solutions such as 365 and Azure Cloud granting comprehensive safeguards against cyber threats.

“We have spent a lot of time with customers this year making sure they are taking full advantage of the security available to them under their Microsoft licences,” says Tony.

“With employees’ devices a key source of security exploits, we’ve also assisted customers with device management, allowing them to enable their workers for secure access wherever they are.”

Deptive’s managed services continued to prove an attractive option for customers wanting to focus on their core business, and leave the day-to-day management of their digital workspace to a specialist provider.

Our ‘Live Well’ philosophy

For Deptive founder and chief executive, Jason Poyner, 2022 was a year of growth, not just in business terms, but in the collective capabilities and spirit of the Deptive team.

“The pandemic was tough for all of us and we really had to lean on our Live Well values to make sure everyone got through it okay,” he says.

Wellbeing and personal development remain core pillars of the Deptive employee experience and 2022 saw new team members join the company, bringing diverse experiences and backgrounds that only add to what Deptive has to offer its customers.

“This is a company that doesn’t pay lip service to health and wellbeing. Everyone works hard but is encouraged to maintain a genuine work-life balance,” says Louise Heeney, a mother of six and former sports administrator who joined Deptive as an operations assistant in July.

A recent all-of-company gathering on Waiheke Island gave everyone an opportunity to spend time relaxing together, away from the bustle of the office.

“What I’m the proudest of at Deptive, is our amazing team,” Jason says.

“The genuine feedback from our customers proves how amazing they all really are. It’s been a big year for us, so it was wonderful to celebrate the year on Waiheke Island, and I know that we’re all looking forward to a well-deserved break,” adds Jason.

“I feel like we are better positioned than ever to help our existing customers leverage technology to solve business problems, empower the workforce, and keep data secure and new clients make the best of Microsoft’s platforms, tools and applications.”

That will all be equally important in 2023, with global events capable of throwing more curveballs our way. But tough times are when smart organisations get back to basics, focus on what’s important, and become leaner and more efficient operations.

That’s the opportunity now in front of Deptive and our customers.

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