Shortly after the lockdown of Denmark, PFA Pension had to upgrade its digital collaboration platforms quickly. With the help of NNIT, Denmark’s largest insurance company managed to implement Microsoft Teams successfully across the organization.
When Denmark went into lockdown in March 2020, our everyday lives changed dramatically. Like many companies, PFA Pension had to send most of its employee’s home. The day after the lockdown went into effect, only 10% of PFA Pension’s staff remained at the head office in Copenhagen.
According to Lisbeth Løvschall, project manager at PFA, the new reality placed demands on both IT infrastructure and existing digital collaboration platforms:
– Our employees were used to working at the office and they were not experienced in holding virtual meetings to the same extent that they are today. Part of our journey has been implementing a digital collaboration platform that has made it as easy to collaborate as it was before the pandemic.
Achieving technical maturity
When Microsoft Teams was introduced as a digital collaboration tool at PFA in June 2020, many employees preferred using other tools such as Skype, which in the past had been the norm for digital collaboration. To ensure a successful implementation of Teams, NNIT was tasked to assist PFA in achieving a sufficient level of technical maturity and to ensure that the tool was tailored to PFA's work practices.
– At the beginning of the project, we were challenged by the fact that our underlying infrastructure was not designed to allow all of us to work from home and use video at the same time during meetings. It drained the bandwidth, explains Jes Rude Dragsted, Head of Architecture and Technology at PFA.
As Jes Rude Dragsted points out, the technical maturity particularly concerned the interplay between the IT infrastructure and the development of the software:
– When the pandemic arrived and we sent our employees’ home to work, NNIT helped us ensure everybody had VPN access. When NNIT joined this project, they helped us optimize our VPN, which allowed us to take full advantage of Microsoft Teams’ video capabilities and other new functions.
Close collaboration and input
In working with NNIT, PFA valued the close collaboration, the regular project meetings, and the expertise and competencies within various business areas:
–NNIT provided us with input regarding legal issues, for example, when the European Court of Justice ruled in the Schrems II case, as well as for technical matters within data classification, back-ups and much more. NNIT guided us throughout the process, which has contributed to significant progress of the project, explains Lisbeth Løvschall.
Employees want more
Since Microsoft Teams has become a part of everyday life for PFA employees, it has proven to strengthen both internal and external collaboration:
–Skype was primarily used for one-on-one conversations, and in Microsoft Teams there are many more features. Among other things, it works brilliantly when we need to hold meetings, with larger groups of employees, who now can see each other, says Jes Rude Dragsted.
The opportunity to hold customer meetings on Teams has strengthened interest, commitment, and enthusiasm around the digital tool. While employees initially showed resistance to the tool, they are now engaged and excited to use it in their work.
– The employees had a positive experience with Teams and could see for themselves how well it worked compared to Skype. When I show up for work on a Monday morning, I often have several emails waiting for me with new suggestions and questions regarding new updates in Microsoft Teams. They all want more, says Lisbeth Løvschall, and Jes Rude Dragsted adds:
– Another indication that the employees have bought into Teams include an article published on our intranet about the tool, which ended up being the most-read article during that period. In addition, we have reached more than 1,000 employees using Teams actively in their daily work.
Jes Rude Dragsted sums up the lessons that PFA has learned from the project:
–The project has shown us how important it is to maintain a permanent focus on the digital collaboration tools we use. In any case, we will continue to have a much greater focus on the application and development of our collaboration tools in the future. Standard off-the-shelf apps and those developed in-house will help advance the use of Teams.