Leading global agencies transform their workplace with Microsoft Teams

Apr 18, 2019 | clients | 0 comments


  • Client: McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe Group
  • Project type: Microsoft Teams Pilot, Office 365 Adoption and Change Management
  • Location: Global (Initial UK Based)
  • of users: 25,000 users globally
  • Industry: Global marketing services and communications

Part of the Interpublic Group (IPG) of Companies, McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe Group are two leading agency networks specialising in advertising and disruptive marketing for a range of clients and leading global brands.

McCann Worldgroup, comprises of 20,000 users united across 100+ countries, working with the likes of Microsoft, Coca-Cola, L’Oréal and Microsoft. MullenLowe Group, comprises of 7,000 users across 30+ global sites, working with the likes of Apple, Netflix and Etihad Airways.

McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe Group both have earned attention and accolades on behalf of the best brands and organisations worldwide – by championing integration and using the most innovative platforms and tools. Yet no matter the technology, both place people, culture and relationships at the heart of what they do, and with Office 365, and Microsoft Teams, they can now achieve this for their own workforce.

Project overview:

As organisations, McCann and MullenLowe were using a mixture of Google Suite, Slack, Box and other Shadow IT to undertake day-to-day activities. The businesses collectively made the decision to move away from multiple platforms to a single unified platform in Office 365.

McCann and MullenLowe needed an experienced Office 365 partner that could collaborate and partner with them, to take a holistic approach to the deployment of Office 365. It was made very clear from the off that this would not just be another “Failed IT Project” – as a result, a clear focus was placed on the user adoption of the solution to drive value from their investment.

Content and Code, a multi award-winning Microsoft Partner were engaged to plan an approach for employees to embrace the concept of a single, unified digital workplace.

Key challenges faced by McCann and MullenLowe:

  • Over reliance on Shadow IT
  • Office 365 investment had been made and there was a need to drive adoption and usage of Office 365 tools
  • Multiple tools being used had created information silos within the organisation
  • Gaining cultural buy-in to move away from Slack, Google Drive and Google Docs
  • Lack of a single platform for collaboration

All routes led to Microsoft Teams

McCann and MullenLowe were looking for a single platform that could better enable their employees to work together through close collaboration. This also extended to the requirement of being able to work directly with clients and better deliver client pitches collaboratively. With such a diverse range of roles across the organisation, Creatives, Designers, Sales and Operations needed a way to work more closely together

Having engaged Content and Code’s Client Success Team, a process of in-depth user research was undertaken in order to determine which tools and applications within Office 365 would fulfil both agencies collaboration requirements. Once trends in employee pain points were understood, all routes here led to Microsoft Teams.

Content and Code’s Client Success Teams laid the foundations for us. They created a framework for change utilising industry best practices. This enabled us to create a playbook to rollout Microsoft Teams on an agency by agency basis, efficiently, effectively and on message.

The question was, what would McCann and MullenLowe use Microsoft Teams for?

“We have invested in Office 365, the question is how can we roll this out within our organisation and realise the value of our investment?”

Following initial user research, Microsoft Teams was selected as the route into Office 365 consumption and adoption. With its chat-based workspace and instant messaging, easy share, edit and find features – Microsoft Teams offered McCann and MullenLowe one centralised hub that could take on the likes of Slack and Google Docs.

Both agencies understood that in order for the organisation to get the most from their Office 365 investment, they must use more than the usual business suite of Outlook, Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

This is where Teams comes in. With Teams, all a user needs to do is click the files tab and all files and documents are within easy reach. Or, if they have a meeting it only takes a click to join a conference call or dial in with a number just like in Outlook. Through the search feature a user can find chats, colleagues, threads or files within their teams, from one single location.

As an agency, another important feature of Microsoft Teams was mobile readiness and a consistent user experience across PC and Mac. With a varied estate of devices, a consistent communication and collaboration experience was essential, and Teams delivered.

Within Teams, there is also the functionality and ability to build custom connectors and bots for integration with Line of Business Applications which are integral to day-to-day operations.

User adoption of Teams

Following a period of in-depth user research, two pilots of 100 users from across McCann and MullenLowe were identified to pilot Microsoft Teams. As part of the Microsoft Teams initial rollout, Content and Code ensured that the pilot was a success by:

  • Running engaging ‘before and after’ workshop activities with Team Leads, Line Managers, Business Influencers to raise awareness and to create genuine desire for adopting Microsoft Teams.
  • Coaching Managers and Champions in order to bring like-minded individuals together to discuss use cases and identify value for themselves and their teams.
  • Delivering comprehensive Teams training, with further ad-hoc support offered through a dedicated “Ask an Expert” team.
  • Offered 1-1 support and drop in sessions on site in their London offices for those who wanted to know more or needed help getting started with the platform.
  • Creating promotional collateral and sign-posting users to Microsoft materials that could be re-used for wider Interpublic Group (IPG) agencies by creating a run book of activities – the framework for change.

A key requirement identified at the start of the project was for the agency networks to take the learnings and collateral used as part of the pilots to replicate this to the remaining Group agencies within McCann and MullenLowe. By providing the framework, leaders within the Groups could lead the charge in enabling on-going change and adoption activities throughout the wider agency networks of IPG.

Value and benefits of Office 365 / Microsoft Teams:

Following a process of in-depth user research, McCann and MullenLowe identified that the key success criteria within the Pilot was to reduce the volume of emails and make better use of meetings.

Time saving:

With the move to Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, McCann and MullenLowe have seen an immediate boost in their productivity and outputs. Teams across the globe are now able to collaboratively discuss and define purposes and agendas in advance of meetings enabling more effective and impactful sessions, adding value and saving a significant amount of time.

“Microsoft Teams is giving us valuable time back to our employee’s days, removing the need for excessive inbox and email management”

Teams provides real-time communication that exists outside the traditional short email back-and-forth. These kind of email exchanges flood your inbox and can often make it difficult to find the important information within a thread. According to both agencies, following the roll-out and adoption of Microsoft Teams, the organisation has saved on average 1-2 hours a day, per individual, of valuable productive time.

A key factor in this is the fact that Teams can be categorised according to topics and sub-topics (or teams) that make it much easier to organise multiple conversations across different subjects.

Both agencies have achieved this by creating specific internal feeds to manage their day-to-day workloads within Microsoft Teams. This helps cut down on time spent searching for information and other time-consuming and tangential tasks, while also boosting productivity.

By leveraging OneNote to capture client meeting and internal meeting minutes both agencies have been able to foster an environment for succinct and collaborate working.

Promoting an agile way of working

A key driver for the use of Microsoft Teams within both businesses was the ability to communicate and collaborate closely with anyone across the organisation, on any device. Due to the nature of the way in which both agencies work, it was important for any new technology implementation to actively promote the concept of agile working.

Teams allows employees to collaborate on documents and share within specific project teams regardless of their location. Teams has been seen to promote agile working which is integral to the day-to-day operations of the organisation. Throughout the project McCann and MullenLowe have also found that Teams has assisted employees who have had time off, or who travel for prolonged periods of time.

With Microsoft Teams, all communications, actions, files and documents are stored within one place. Project team members can also stay in the loop and new team members can be brought up to speed quickly. Something as simple as making use of the important messages flag to highlight business critical messages has also had a significant effect on productivity.

Both agencies have also found that Teams has allowed employees to work more flexibly across their working day and to travel and work.

For McCann the successful adoption of Microsoft Teams has opened up a real possibility for introducing further Office 365 tools such as SharePoint and OneDrive.

For MullenLowe, the integration of third-party applications within the platform – and other line of business apps – have created a single pane of glass into Office 365 to surface other productivity applications into a single location.

Streamlining processes with Office 365

“In terms of tools and operational procedures, with the rollout of Microsoft Teams, we feel as if we are finally moving forward as an organisation. This is what we now expect.”

Fragmented use of Google Docs, Google Drive and Slack within both agencies meant that stakeholders often felt like they had no clearly defined ways of working or operational procedures.

In terms of productivity, the tools that they were using were siloed and project teams could find themselves duplicating effort or often collating changes and updates from multiple files in different locations – often finding users were translating and transforming other Google Docs and other file extensions into Office docs.

Moving to Office 365 has gone a long way to fixing this problem. With the successful adoption of Microsoft Teams, McCann and MullenLowe are able to provide a simple, consistent and governable process for their teams work across their organisation. Office 365, provides modern, high impact tools to support the delivery of creative excellence for their customers.

“Teams is amazing and has genuinely changed my working life. I’m looking forward to getting everyone on it so I can work more effectively with our offices in the States.”

Moving away from Slack and Google Docs

Both McCann and MullenLowe utilised a variety of different platforms in their day-to-day operations, including Google Docs and Box for document management and content creation, and Slack as their close collaboration and instant messaging tool.

Following their investment in Office 365, the challenge for both agencies was to get their end-user bought into the technology and move away from Shadow IT.

For McCann, the move away from Shadow IT has allowed them to break down information silos across different technologies within their organisation. Office 365 has consolidated everything into a single unified platform. With Microsoft Teams coming to the market in 2017, both had found a readily available replacement for Slack that meant driving real ROI from their Office 365 investment.

Ultimately the move away from Slack allows both agencies to get more value out of their Office 365 investment. Moving away from Google and Slack, they have had a few cultural obstacles and resistance to change, however following the initial pilot, McCann and MullenLowe are now starting to see real adoption of Office 365.

From a central IT perspective, the move away from Shadow IT has seen a move to a more compliant and easier to manage ecosystem. Ultimately the move has improved the level of end user support made available, ensuring compliance and protecting critical corporate data.

McCann Worldgroup and MullenLowe Group are early on their journey with Office 365 and looking to expand

McCann and MullenLowe are among the first of the IPG agency networks to adopt Microsoft Teams and Office 365. As part of the Office 365 Adoption project, the collateral created has now meant that both agencies are now armed with the tools to promote and champion Microsoft Teams and the wider Office 365 to their users in separate agencies under the IPG Umbrella, creating a truly unified workforce.

Office 365 will continue to evolve for McCann and MullenLowe as they continue to introduce new features of Office 365 to build upon their adoption of Microsoft Teams.

Throughout the organisations, employees will continue to move away from Shadow IT, and will continue to have the freedom to contribute to global networks, collaborate across departments and benefit from a professional, information sharing culture.

Most importantly for McCann and MullenLowe, is the evergreen Office 365 will continue to add lasting value to their employees and ultimately their customers.

Complete Guide to Office 365 Adoption

Many organisations still struggle to get their employees to make good use of new technologies available to them. This guide will explore the top 10 mistakes that are commonly seen throughout an Office 365 roll-out and provide some simple measures that can be put in place to dramatically increase Office 365 adoption and usage rates.



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