XCentral: We explain why talking a ‘people-first’ approach to the Digital Transformation is essential for your organisation.

The conversation that has been dominating discussion in boardrooms, company foyers and conferences this year, has been the ‘Digital Transformation’. But if you asked everyone who is having this conversation what the ‘Digital Transformation’ is, and what it means to their organisation, you’d get many different answers.

This isn’t because people don’t know what the Digital Transformation is – it’s because it affects every part of the business, so people have different views on its relevance to their business and impact it needs to have on their employees.  

When we started planning for our own Digital Transformation we were clear on our objectives and our points of reference. Howard King writing in the Guardian gives a great starting point, saying that the Digital Transformation is:

“A whole-scale change to the foundational components of a business: from its operating model to its infrastructure. What it sells, to whom and how it goes to market. A transformation programme touches every function of a business; from purchasing, finance human resource, through to operations and technology, sales and marketing.”

The model that we’ve then used to plan for and drive our transformation comes directly from Microsoft. J.D. Meier’s Blog recently posted a ‘mental model’ for Digital Transformation that had been developed by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. It shows that there are four pillars, or areas to look at, for driving your Digital Transformation:

  1. Customers
  2. Employees
  3. Operations
  4. Products

Collectively, these four Digital Transformation pillars set the stage for transforming the business model. Organisations looking to generate new sources of revenue need to re-imagine their customer experience along with their value chain.

The reason Satya Nadella’s innovation team at Microsoft is using this model to communicate its thinking around the digital transformation is that it aligns with the approach being used by the Microsoft sales teams who are in the field with the customers, defining what experiences customers need to achieve, and making sure they get them.

Aligning the Digital Transformation with your own value chain.

XCentral is a customer-first, experience first organisation. This means that everything we do is aligned with delivering better customer outcomes, and experiences. We know that technology has the potential to support transformation in every part of any organisation, but you only get to experience its full potential if it aligns with specific Company Solutions, Service and/or Policy outcomes.

At XCentral we have a client engagement model that sets the framework for how we engage with our customers to support their digital transformation.

This client engagement model is important to our customer-first, experience first approach because it allows us to ensure our approach is aligned with successful customer outcomes.

  1. First, we actively engage with our customer’s senior management teams to plan an effective strategy for meeting their business challenges and opportunities. This means understanding how the organisation needs to empower employees, improve customer engagements, optimise operations and transform the products and services they deliver. We provide the thinking and advocacy they need to match the technology to these objectives, using fresh and innovative approaches.
  2. We’re then the trusted partner and ‘safe pair of hands’ that ensures the procurement, installation and activation is successful. In the digital world, this is a continuous process of discovery for our clients, because the people within the organisation are experiencing new features and benefits of the platforms, each day. So, at XCentral, we ensure a long-term technology adoption plan and build process, that continues to deliver the experiences that ‘Transform people and businesses with IT’. 
  3. Our team of Managed Services specialists continue to engage with our customers to ensure they get the experiences they were promised from the IT investment. It’s easy to simplify the role of Managed Services to simply ‘support’. At XCentral, our Managed Services team are client experience ‘specialists’, acting as our eyes and ears on our clients’ premises, and feeding essential insight and understanding back to our Advisory Team.

This whole customer-first, experience-first model means having an Advisory team (Professional Services), that can engage with our clients at both a strategic and tactical level, and a team of Client Experience Specialists (Managed Services) who can feed the insights and learnings from their day-to-day interactions with customers back into the Advisory team.

This completes the customer experience cycle, making our customer-first, experience-first approach an ongoing and continuously evolving engagement model, rather than a series of technology events.

Taking a people-first approach to the Digital Transformation. 

A recent study by Microsoft: ‘Embracing digital transformation: Experiences from Australian organisations’ explains that the organisations they studied typically ‘transformed the customer experience first, using data to win, grow and retain their customer base or better serve citizens. They then moved on to other areas, including empowering employees, optimising operations and transforming products and operations.’

Microsoft Australia’s Managing Director, Pip Marlow, commented on the findings: “The most digitally advanced organisations had several common elements but the role of people, in terms of leadership, culture and ambition, was the most pervasive.

“Our research shows successful organisations have leaders who embrace digital transformation and empower their people to innovate and fully explore the potential of new technologies.”

To show you how this needs to happen we need to take an example of a technology platform that has the potential to transform every part of your organisation. And the most ubiquitous platform currently available in the market is Microsoft Office 365.

Very few organisations realise the full potential of the platform they now have access to – a platform with incredible potential, not only to meet new challenges but to actively pursue new opportunities. The potential of Office 365 can only be achieved if you have a framework for adoption that gives your people the education, training and support they need to start using the platform and integrating it into every part of their daily lives.

Vala Afshar writing in the Huffington Post says: “Digital transformation becomes a way of business as executives and strategists recognise that change is constant.” And although the temptation for any organisation is to keep the focus of the Digital Transformation on the technology implementation, the focus needs to be on empowering your people, so they can deliver better customer experiences.

So, how do you do that?

XCentral and OnPoint Solutions

XCentral have aligned with OnPoint Solutions in a partnership to ensure a solid digital transformation adoption strategy is planned, built and supported.  Clearly articulating to individuals, the company and the wider community is a vital part of any transformation program.  OnPoint Solutions’ philosophy around technological change is that ‘No user should be left behind’: It helps empower employees to embrace change and a new way of working. 

Everyone must understand the ‘Why’ and ‘What’s in it for me’ (WIFM) in simple, clear and concise terms. Bells and whistles must have tangible benefits for a user to adopt and then embrace a digital transformation. 

In a recent blog by Kirsty McGrath from OnPoint Solutions, we see the Microsoft Office 365 platform as an evolving suite of services that can support any kind of digital transformation. When seen as a complete, interconnected platform, you realise that ‘Office 365 isn’t just Office in the Cloud’, it’s an evolving ‘evergreen’ platform that continues to deliver new experiences as your people’s expectations become more complex.


A user’s experience may start with an upgrade to the everyday familiar Office favourites, but after a short engagement with XCentral and OnPoint Solutions, users soon realise there are more expressive tools available, like Sway or Stream. People no longer transfer meeting notes into Word once they realise that using a fast, collaborative and paperless OneNote Notebook, with simple Outlook integration, is far more productive and effective. Collaboration and file sharing may start in Outlook between a few people in an office, but it soon evolves into ‘Working Out Loud’ with Yammer, ‘Working like a Team’ with SharePoint, and ‘Working Anywhere, Anytime and on Any Device’ with OneDrive.

One experience soon presents other opportunities, and partners like XCentral and OnPoint solutions are on-hand to ensure the experiences keep unfolding. This is how the digital transformation should be: continually evolving, and continually supporting change throughout your entire organisation. 

XCentral | Total sourcing for business technology

Providing end-to-end IT services from cloud-based applications through to your desktop, XCentral makes your technology challenges disappear and delivers the tools you need to transform your business. It’s simple, because we make it that way.

To discuss how we can help your business grow, contact us on 1300 881 113,
email info@xcentral.com.au or visit www.xcentral.com.au