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Case Study: How HCLI Thrived During the COVID-19 Pandemic with Microsoft 365

October 1, 2020
minutes read
October 1, 2020
minutes read

We take a closer look at how the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) worked closely with DTS to ensure a seamless transition to remote work during the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker period in Singapore, all the time maintaining operational effectiveness and saving costs.

HCLI: Leading Leaders

The Human Capital Leadership Institute is a centre of excellence that facilitates the acceleration of leadership development and strategic human capital management capabilities in Asia. Through its efforts, HCLI aims to develop global leaders with a strong understanding of leading in Asia, as well as to build Asian leaders with the ability to lead on the global stage.

As a leader of leaders, HCLI champions digital transformation. However, it also recognises the inertia of many companies to take the first steps. “Digital transformation can be a daunting task for an organisation,” said Ms Doris Sohmen-Pao, CEO of HCLI.“ Often, leaders might be concerned that the costs of transformation would outweigh the perceived benefits. However, the risks of remaining stagnant are too great, especially in the dynamic business environment we operate in.”

Ms Sohmen-Pao continued, "Today, against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic, more leaders understand the urgency of transforming their organisation. Like HCLI, forward-looking organisations that took steps before the crisis are reaping the benefits of being proactive in transformative initiatives. As a result, many of these organisations were able to remain in operation during the circuit breaker. Leaders today, more than ever, need to see that transformation is nota single event, but a matter of course.”

Understanding Needs and Choosing the Right Platform

As a leader of leaders, HCLI had a compelling reason to start its digital transformation journey early. As Ms Sohmen-Pao had emphasised, the urgency of initiating a digital transformation effort was an important message to impart to a new generation of leaders, especially those who were preparing their organisations to be future ready.

As a first step, HCLI planned to modernise its end-user computing systems. To that end, HCLI sought the services of Digital & Transformation Services (DTS), an offering of Trusted Services, to collaborate closely with HCLI to map out the institute’s efforts to modernise its systems.

There was also a need to review and enhance HCLI's security posture. Specifically, HCLI wanted to manage downloading and sharing of files on its BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) policy, document sensitivity labelling, and data access using Microsoft apps such as Outlook / Office.

Following this assessment of HCLI’s requirements, HCLI and DTS decided to adopt Microsoft 365 Business and also move all its applications, databases, and other backend system fully to the Cloud with Microsoft AzureAD.

Image credit: HCLI
"Leaders today, more than ever, need to see that transformation is not a single event, but a matter of course.”

A Platform for Transformation: Deploying Microsoft AzureAD and Microsoft 365

Adopting the Microsoft365 Business and Microsoft AzureAD was crucial first step in its digital transformation journey. Working closely with HCLI’s staff, DTS facilitated a seamless transition from on-premise systems to one that was fully connected and powered by the Cloud.

The first and immediate benefits HCLI enjoyed were enhanced communication and productivity using Microsoft Teams. Similarly, with Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft Teams, HCLI’s staff found collaborating on documents and projects to be effortless.

With "fully Cloud" systems, HCLI eliminated the need for owning and maintaining hardware, while having virtually uninterrupted availability of all systems. With the new security compliance and governance controls in AzureAD and Microsoft 365 Business, DTS ensured that HCLI’s new systems satisfied security requirements without additional tools and costs.

The DTS team also assisted with specific add-ons for video recording and automated transcribing functionalities for HCLI’s online lessons on Microsoft Teams, reducing manual workload on our academic and administrative teams.

With the experienced team from DTS, HCLI encountered surprisingly few teething issues onboarding our team and our clients.

Implementing and Updating Information Security Protocols with Ease

Being on the Microsoft365 platform also allowed HCLI to review and enhance the security of its data assets quickly. Specifically, HCLI wanted to control downloading and sharing of files on managed devices (mobile devices), document sensitivity labelling, and data access using Microsoft apps such as Outlook / Office.

During the COVID-19Circuit Breaker in Singapore, these organization-wide information security protocols were quickly updated by DTS, ensuring a smooth transition to a fully remote work environment.

Thriving Throughout the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker

By modernising HCLI's end-user computing experience and systems just before the COVID-19 Circuit Breaker in Singapore, HCLI was able to transit to remote working without impact on its business.

Specifically, implementing Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft AzureAD proved to be crucial in ensuring that HCLI continued to serve its customers unhindered during the COVID-19 circuit breaker period, where many businesses struggled to adapt to remote work. This provided HCLI with strategic business continuity capabilities to tide over periods of crisis.

The DTS Difference

In working with DTS closely through the implementation process, HCLI was able to smoothen and expedite its digital transformation journey while saving costs. The new systems also helped HCLI respond rapidly and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic. With Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft AzureAD, HCLI had an integrated toolbox of capabilities that will continue to help HCLI increase productivity, and remain future ready in the years to come.

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