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Friday, 28 August 2020 10:55

Microsoft supports GWA Group digital transformation


Australian-listed bathroom, kitchen and household fittings company GWA Group has used Microsoft to support a major digital transformation of its business.

Microsoft says GWA Group has shifted away from Google and into Microsoft 365 and Azure as part of its expansion plans and updated business strategy, with the digital transformation involving the wholesale transition of information systems to Microsoft Azure.

According to Microsoft the digital transformation by GWA Group has “set the business up for success as it expands into new areas and explores fresh opportunities”.

GWA (ASX: GWA) platform project manager Ryan Clarke, who was responsible for managing and optimising the company’s Azure based solutions, said: “Even for someone like myself with a technology background, you had to come in and retrain yourself on everything. We needed to transition across to something that was more modern, more easily adopted.”

“Give it a few years, we’ll be fully Azure,” says Clarke, adding that the company has worked with Microsoft partner the Cloud Collective on the transformation.”

Clarke said “moving to Azure and Office 365 meant an instant benefit for employees collaborating with other companies or suppliers”.

“When you’re on G suite and you’re sending Google Docs and you’re in Gmail, and then you’re getting back Word documents there’s always little bits that just didn’t work. It forced a lot more sharing of documents. As a result, shreds of company information were being left with suppliers and customers, making GWA uncomfortable about the associated risk.”

According to Microsoft, the move to Office 365 dramatically reduced that risk because information can be more securely accessed – and also sliced the time taken for induction of new employees - and instead of taking an hour and a half to train people on the company’s computer systems, new employees can be up and running with Office 365 in just 20 minutes.

Microsoft says that the digital transformation and migration to Azure meant GWA was able to rapidly and seamlessly switch to remote working when COVID-19 struck.

“Realistically, if we hadn’t had done that, just by luck, we would not have got through COVID like we have,” says Clarke, adding that “only GWA’s warehouse personnel physically went into work during the pandemic”.

Clarke said that even GWA’s call centre people – who are located across Australia – used Telstra Calling for Office 365 in order to work safely and productively from home.

“The whole modern workplace end-to-end journey was completed only a couple of months prior and allowed GWA to be pretty much 100 percent productive through COVID,” said Clarke.

Microsoft said the technology supported GWA’s global team of around 700 people - most in Australia - with around 150 in New Zealand, 50 in the UK, and a small team in China.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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