Cue the classic TV infomercial - it's everyone's dream to just press a button and walk away, not having to worry about it again.
But when we're talking about modernizing your workplaces, using technology better, improving your employee experience, and automating processes, it's far from a one-button operation.
In this episode we'll talk through some of the misconceptions we've seen over the years as well as the mindset it takes to fully embrace the efforts behind building a modern workplace.
Mitch Herrema (00:06):
Everyone, welcome back to the Make Others Successful podcast, where we aim to make you successful in your workplace and in turn make others successful. On and on and on down the road. Today we have both Matt and Mike here. And what are we talking about today?
Matt Dressel (00:22):
We're talking about the set it and forget it mentality that we've seen a lot of places take when it comes to modern workplace intranets technology in general a lot of times.
Mitch Herrema (00:33):
Okay. So the idea that a lot of times if people invest in some sort of solution, it's like, okay, great, we have that taken care of and
Matt Dressel (00:43):
We don't need to look at it again.
Mitch Herrema (00:44):
Yeah. And it's maybe not that that easy. So where do we wanna start? Do we wanna start with what are some common areas that we've seen this happen historically?
Mike Bodell (00:53):
So I think in our last podcast we taught, we were talking about intranets, right? And I think that's a thing we've seen historically over years and years of working with organizations to help them stand up an intranet. It's always kind of been looked at as maybe an an IT cost or expenditure and they get a farm or a server set up and they do a few things and it's there, right? So then what happens? And so they kind of set it and then if they haven't assigned any responsibility for it, they forget it.
Mitch Herrema (01:23):
Yeah. And, and if you don't know what an intranet is, like Mike said, our entire last episode was all about what is an intranet kinda interchanges with an employee portal. So go there if you want to learn more about what an intranet is. But you're right, that's a big area where we've seen
Matt Dressel (01:42):
This. I think what you just said about installing servers is where a lot of this comes from a technology perspective. So people bought Windows 98 and they installed it and it worked. And as long as it did everything you wanted it to do, it was like, just why would I ever upgrade? Right. As long as my computers still run it and I don't have any reason to change it, why would I ever change it? Right.
Mitch Herrema (02:09):
Matt Dressel (02:09):
Not broke, if it's not broke, don't fix it. Yeah. Right. There's several problems with like, not necessarily problems, but there's several landscape changes that have happened that works. When I deal with my stuff now I buy something in the cloud that is going to change and I don't have any control over it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> right there is going to be modifications to how that works and I'm not in control of it. In addition, the way people are interacting with talent technology is very different today than it was previously in most jobs. Some jobs that's very similar, right? Like there are still places that, you know, you sit on Windows xp, windows not something you could probably still just keep, keep rolling along, right? Like it doesn't touch anything. It doesn't do anything. I'm, I'm thinking primarily like the manufacturing space, right? Like C n c, like if I have an automation thing that's been run in the same building, the same line, or working on the same line for 40 years and it's still working, maybe you don't need to change it, but that's the most people
Mike Bodell (03:09):
And well, the primary objective in that scenario is truly set it and forget it. Yeah.
Matt Dressel (03:13):
Cause they, they wanna just keep churning out that stuff.
Mike Bodell (03:15):
And in the modern workplace now where we talk about business process automation and things like that, like that is a core principle or tenant of that whole thing of doing those things so that you can create something and kind of forget it, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So that's, it's not that it doesn't exist or that it's still not a desire, but what I've just heard from you is, one, the landscape has changed. Technology is different. We're no longer installing something in a closet and walking away for five years until the next upgrade. Yep. and so because changes are being pushed on us, we have to be able to accommodate, adapt to them, right? Yep. And then the other thing is, you may create something that has value in your business, right? That was born out of some sort of IT budget, like standing up an internet. But if you just say, well, it's installed, it's up and running, right? And you don't maintain the content, for example, and you don't keep it fresh, right? You're really not gonna get value out of that except for maybe the first couple months.
Matt Dressel (04:10):
So what you just talked about, about that other piece, the way I'll like to think about it is when you're talking about software that is interacting with people and people, and it's integrated with the people's work, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> their mind work, not their hands work, not the I press a button and it does something. The I am engaged in this thing to learn something, to understand something, to communicate what my, what I'm thinking to someone else, right? That's gonna evolve over time, number one. Number two, when I'm looking for content, that content needs to be current, needs to be accurate, and it changes all the time, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so like an intranet, the other piece of what you talked about in your example about an intranet is if I spend, you know, let's say I spend a hundred thousand dollars with someone in it, we we're gonna go implement the best internet intranet ever.
We go implement it. That's great. Like you said, two weeks from that, if nobody's doing anything with it, it's irrelevant, right? Like, if I got done with that, but the leaders at the organization haven't changed their behavior to create the next news announcement and put it on the intranet, it's not gonna work. Right? Yeah. And when they come up with a brand new logo for the organization or a new brand internal branding for like maybe some sort of communication that they're doing, if they don't take the time to go update the internet to match that and to, to promote that, like you lost a lot of the value that you spent money to try to get. And the intranet is only one example. Yeah. I could do the same thing with teams, SharePoint
Mike Bodell (05:46):
Sites. Yeah. It just, it, it just occurred to me that so much of this is tied together with a lot of the methodology we used to help organizations adopt these things. Like teams, for example, there's a lot of people that in the last couple years were like, oh, teams, it's hot, it's the new thing. Our organization needs teams. A leader may have heard about teams and said, we should use teams that other company's using it. Let's use teams. What does that really mean for your organization, right? If you just have somebody come in and turn it on and it doesn't, you start using it. Like, you really need to be evaluating, are you getting value out of that? Are your people using it effectively? What's it doing for you? Right? And that the is 180 degrees the opposite of forget it.
Matt Dressel (06:23):
Right? So the other piece to that that you just said is that if I am simply trying to learn how to make it so I can press a button and a thing happens and a widget comes out physical or otherwise, right? Like I'm just trying to automate this thing, it is pretty defined, right? Yeah. People's use of technology in their day-to-day life for communication, collaboration is a spectrum. And it changes all the time. Once you learn how to do something well, you need to learn the next thing, right? Or you will learn the next thing, right? And you weren't ready to learn that next thing till you learned the first thing, right? And so, as an organization, you have people who might be brand new to the organization who don't have any of that knowledge, all the way to people who have a lot of knowledge and, you know, know a lot about it. You need to be constantly working to progress everybody's knowledge about all of these things all the time. Right? and the reason that's really important is because if you don't, you will end up in the case where a year later nobody's using the technology that you tried to implement, or
Mike Bodell (07:32):
The nobody or the onboarding material that you created to help someone learn how to use the thing that you built. Yep. That has now changed you. Like all of that stuff. It's changing all of the time.
Matt Dressel (07:41):
Yeah. All the time. Now, I also wanna be clear about this too. That doesn't mean that you should spend a hundred thousand dollars a year on somebody to be doing your intranet. That's not what it means. And in fact, our recommendation about a lot of that stuff is not to, you know, you want to bring in outside expertise to set up the framework and set up the, the base, right? But the, a lot of the work, it happens after that. And it, the most effective way to do that is to have internal teams manage and maintain and make that happen, right? Yeah. because they're gonna understand the context of the bus to the business and the context to the people. They're gonna know who it is we're talking about. They're gonna know the person that is, they're gonna have a challenge with it because they were on sabbatical for a month out of the thing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, they, you know, have a, a a an internal project that is taking them away and they don't have time to learn some of these things. So we need to spend more time with them, or we need to take this group and focus on them because the business needs them to grow or needs them to, you know, solve this problem. Right? They're gonna have that knowledge. That's where they need to be. But you need to have, you need to build support and see the value in that work.
Mike Bodell (08:51):
Yeah. And, and all of those things you just talked about are things that should be included in your calculation of total cost of ownership. A hundred percent. It's beyond just, did you stand this server up or did you configure this for me? Right? Yep. It's what involvement is my team gonna have in the care and feeding and making sure that this thing continues to provide value for the organization. And you should be doing those calculations very early before you put pen to paper, in my opinion, so that you can make a judgment call as to whether or not it's gonna actually result in real value for your organization. That's worth the squeeze, right?
Matt Dressel (09:25):
So Yes. And that is not an easy calculation to do. We did another podcast at Microsoft that does a lot of talking about this, about the champion model. That is one way to accomplish what we're talking about, right? Yep. the champion model is a model that tries to promote internal knowledge sharing and internal focus on using technology to make things more efficient and do your job better. There. I think there's a lot of other models that can accomplish the same kind of thing. A lot of it is about feedback and you know, trying to keep that, that churn going to try to keep this improvement, improvement, improvement. But it's hard to calculate what that's gonna be in. From my perspective, the most important thing is just the, the mindset shift, the, the cultural shift to say this is important. It is okay for, for someone to spend some time helping someone else figure this stuff out. It is important for people to understand it. A lot of people will boil it down to training so that, like the people who might be listening right now, they might be thinking, we do that. We do train, we offer training all the time, right? Training isn't all of what it is. That's one component, right? How do you know that you're training on stuff that's valuable to your users?
Mike Bodell (10:36):
What about as assigning ownership?
Matt Dressel (10:38):
Y Yes. Right?
Mike Bodell (10:39):
Matt Dressel (10:40):
Yeah. Who owns, who owns the things that we're, we're trying to do, right? Yeah. Who, who is watching what's coming out from these technology vendors across the board, not just Microsoft, all of them, about the next feature that's now gonna break the user experience that works for you, right? Like, you were using this tool, you love this tool, it's works for everything you need, but guess what? Next release. They just changed it. So none of it works. Boy, would, wouldn't it be nice to know that two months before it actually rolls out and your business is now broken?
Mike Bodell (11:09):
Yeah. You don't have to be surprised. Yeah.
Mitch Herrema (11:12):
Part of what comes to mind when I hear a lot of this is we have interacted with lots of clients over the years, and almost every time that we interact with someone who owns something or we're training or something like that, it's like their small sliver of their job. Yep. Right? Can, can you speak to that at all? Like, like what, where do you need to be before it's someone's like, full-time job? Or should it always be someone's part-time job? Or like, how should someone be conceptualizing this?
Matt Dressel (11:45):
So again, I think that's a really tough thing to answer. Absolutely. Across the board for everybody, you know, a large organization, they're, you're gonna have people like you're, the, the hard part in a large organization is getting enough of the right people with the right skillset mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, because at the larger organization, organization level, a lot of it people are gonna think this is an IT problem. And they're gonna forget about the end user and the, the change management and all of those other things. And so it's important to have multiple people with multiple roles and have them covered at the smaller level organization, you really just need to identify what's really critical and what your path is. Right? Like the reality is we say it's not set and forget it. And that's true. That's very true. But especially at a smaller organization, the chances are you're gonna get over the course of two, three years at a point where it's good enough, right? Yeah. Like, so there's another end of it, which is, it is good enough eventually. Yeah. Right?
Mitch Herrema (12:43):
Like, or at least portions of it is like, you're not changing your values every year or like the different things that could live on those things on
Matt Dressel (12:52):
Internet. Let's talk about an intranet. If once, let's say we roll out an intranet and you start out with news and, you know, mission and goals and HR forms, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, but you know, you really want to add policies and procedures and a community component and you know, some other things. So maybe you're working on that for the, for the next year or two years to get to a level where you're like, we are really, this is a solid intranet. It's really got everything we want at that moment. It is more like set it and forget it. In that really what you're doing is making sure you're putting out news, news content, making sure you're like, you're, you have some maintenance things, but you're not doing anything major, right?
Mitch Herrema (13:31):
Yeah. I've, I've used the, the car maintenance illustration before mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, right? You need to take it for oil changes. Yep. You need to keep it clean, you know make sure if you get any dents in the windshield or cracks in the windshield, you take care of it. Yep. But then sometimes you need new tires. Yes. Or sometimes there's bigger things that come along. Your transmission is going out and like that is kind of similar to how this whole process works.
Matt Dressel (13:59):
Very much so. Right? And the, and the making sure you're entering the entering news articles, updating like with the latest stuff for the, for the new year or the new, you know, all of those types of things. That's like the maintenance that you're doing all the time. And that is the, that's gonna always be there forever. The adding new modules, adding new components for a particular piece, like you were talking, you know, that's gonna happen. Initially it's gonna happen a lot cuz you're gonna want to get to a point where you have a, a a lot of these things solved. But then once that's done, you're gonna wanna work on collaboration. Right. An intranet is not collaboration. Yeah. So how do we collaborate and how do we improve that? Right. and then the same thing will happen with that. So let's say you start doing collaboration and you're like, we now understand how chat works and how, you know, individual file storage works. Awesome. That's really great. But what about team collaboration? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, what about external collaboration?
Mike Bodell (14:53):
Yeah. You're starting to get into the, the macro, right? The modern workplace macro level where the reality is you may get a good distance along the journey Right. And accomplish a number of those things. And then next thing you know, there's a new feature, Viva, for example, that rolls out Yeah. How do we use that? Yeah. Right? Or something like power pages. Yeah. Right. If you're in the, in the
Matt Dressel (15:18):
Business, what does that mean to me? How does it
Mike Bodell (15:19):
Work? Right? Yeah. And so that's,
Matt Dressel (15:21):
Let's, I wanna review that. So there's really a couple different facets. One is if you're looking at rolling out a particular component of what we would consider the modern workplace, so an intranet or communication, collaboration or file sharing or modern file sharing, you know, that's not set in Fred. Forget it in its own right. Because it's like, once you're done, number one, we always recommend incremental rollouts because its having a one year long project to roll out an intranet doesn't make like it's, it'll be out of date when you launch it. Right? Plus, so
Mike Bodell (15:50):
There's gonna be inter iterative intranet, iterative episode
Matt Dressel (15:53):
Internet episodes. Yeah. So, you know, in that case it's, you're gonna be keeping doing a little bit more, a little bit more until you're, you're done, quote unquote, right? But even when you're done, you're still gonna be doing that maintenance, right? Like it's, it's not it's not gonna be, you do have to have somebody that's gonna be continuing to update and and maintain that thing. So that's one end, end of it. So that's like I'm implementing one thing. Another thing is like, we're trying to modernize our workplace overall. So we're trying to do a couple of these different things, right? Once you're done with one, you're gonna be working on the next thing and the next thing. And if you're really trying to modernize your workplace, it's gonna be a long journey because by the time that you're done with that, you're likely gonna have to rework one of the other ones because there's gonna be a major change. And it, it doesn't, I don't want mean that to make it seem like it'll never end, but
Mike Bodell (16:40):
Matt Dressel (16:42):
So if you really want, if you are an organization today, like if you look at our, our modern replace scale and you're on the low end of the scale and you're a medium to large size business, it is going to be expensive and it will be a long time before you're all the way done.
Mike Bodell (16:56):
You know, what makes me feel like this could be really fun is it reminds me of things like World of Warcraft where you're building, building all these little
Matt Dressel (17:03):
Things a little bit more and
Mike Bodell (17:05):
It's all ultimately related to a mission to like take over the map. Yeah. Right? But you gotta keep all of these things going.
Matt Dressel (17:11):
Resources coming in, you have to
Mike Bodell (17:12):
Have and you have to pay attention to it and yet, right. And you have to make the right moves. And sometimes you make mistakes and you lose a hoard. Right. <laugh>. But other times you're successful. And I think to me, if you think of it in terms of that, and if you're at the level where you can be that person who's kind of directing and and deciding where your pieces need to be played it can be kind of fun.
Matt Dressel (17:32):
Yeah. So the last thing I, like I mentioned the two. One is you're focused on one. One is you're focused on overall modern workplace or employee experience is what some people call it mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So if you're looking at, at that, those are two things. The last is, I have all those things. We're on awesome modern workplace. We're our, you know, on the, the scale we're, we're, we've got everything sorted out. We know what we're doing. Right? Good for you. Number one. Number two, you still need to be watching what's going on. You still need to be watching because what's gonna happen is in three years you won't be moderate anymore. Number one and number two, every six months somebody's gonna, like Mike was talking about, somebody's gonna release a new component or a new feature, a new whatever that should get incorporated back in
Mike Bodell (18:13):
Or security threats change Yeah. All the time. Right.
Mitch Herrema (18:17):
Which is one of the conveniences of leaving it up to a cloud service that you don't have to manage. Right? So that's like one of the down, it's like weighing up.
Mike Bodell (18:25):
I love that. Yeah.
Matt Dressel (18:26):
But over you just said, do not have to manage.
Mike Bodell (18:27):
Right. Over the course of the last few years though we've seen people move from, you know, standard simple authentication to modern, modern authentication. Right. And using MFA or, and it's a lot of challenge, the authenticator app, right? All of that stuff has changed because of security threats that are, you know, ever changing. I,
Matt Dressel (18:45):
I wanna dive into this last, but Mitch, Mitch raised it and it, it's related but, but probably not directly to what we've been talking about. And that is, people think that because you've gone on to the cloud, I don't need to maintain it. I'm paying them to maintain it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, you are paying them to maintain the service, right. Not maintain your use of the service, your implementation of the service, your instance. Right. They're making sure all the, all of the web servers are all updated, making sure that, you know, there's no outages, backups are being taken, no security, security, like all that.
Mitch Herrema (19:20):
Some bigger stuff there is still security risks.
Matt Dressel (19:22):
Yeah. So their, their security is, you aren't gonna have somebody, we're we're guaranteeing that's not, somebody's not gonna hack and get your password out of our systems. Right. That doesn't mean that they won't look at your sticky note that's next to your screen with your password on it and be able, like that's not what they're offering
Mitch Herrema (19:38):
We're Right. Sending you an email saying, Hey, it's Microsoft here. Yeah. Click this. Can you just link? Yeah. Put in your password real quick.
Matt Dressel (19:43):
Yep. but, but it's like, there is that end of it too is that people think like in the setup from, forget it. Like that's the part of it I guess is, you know, if you are in the mentality we're buying this cloud service so I shouldn't have to spend all this money, you would be spending way more to get the level of service that you're get. Like the level of service that you get by getting going to almost any, you know, enterprise cloud service is way better than you would get at a way better price than you would ever get trying to do the same thing yourself. Sure. Like there's no question, but you still have to do the rest of it cuz they're not doing everything.
Mitch Herrema (20:18):
I feel like you're making me think along the lines of how everything is becoming a subscription now. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like there's there's some good and there's some bad to that. It can, it can make it feel like it's kind of a never ending
Matt Dressel (20:31):
Mitch Herrema (20:31):
Yeah. Yeah. But, but also it's, the onus is on them to keep it updated and keep it running. And
Mike Bodell (20:37):
You know what though, that subscription model has helped organizations to align their costs to value. And they can more easily make decisions in that moment as opposed to, to what does this really mean for the next five years? Yeah. Right.
Matt Dressel (20:50):
I think it also changes the mindset a little bit in regards to what we're talking about. That technology does have a monthly cost. Like it just does regard and I, and I, when I say that, I don't mean that you couldn't buy a server one time and keep it forever. Right. For five years, 10 years and then you don't have a monthly cost. The truth of the matter is it's, there is still a monthly cost mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you just don't see it as obviously, right. There is still a cost on a regular basis for maintenance, for management.
Mike Bodell (21:19):
I think the, I think the biggest, like when you talk about riskless subscription model, we're probably getting off topic now, but <laugh> I think the, the perceived risk or discomfort with it is once I've chosen that model, I'm kind of locked into it. Right. Once I need that thing, I have to have it. I can't ever get rid of it. And so then whoever I'm paying that subscription fee too, is that liberty to raise the fee. Sure. Right. Yeah. And, and that, that could be problematic maybe.
Matt Dressel (21:47):
Yeah. Yeah. We are a little bit off topic, but it's sort of related. It's a whole interesting end of the way technology has shifted over the last 10, 15 years. And how that works. And I like, maybe it's a topic for a future podcast cause I have thoughts about Microsoft's model, which is very much like package a bunch of stuff together and charge one fee. Largely and then, you know, alternatives which are highly specialized individual service spaces that you buy, you know, separately.
Mitch Herrema (22:15):
Yeah. We have that topic on our backlog. Like what's an honest conversation about bundling of products Yeah. And our, our perspective on, on that. Yeah. We'll save that for another day. But let's come up for air just for a second. Let's say someone's listening that they are interested in approaching this technology problem at their organization, but they're hearing what we're saying and it sounds expensive. Like, like it sounds maybe overwhelming or like they might not want to start it because it's not a one-time setup thing, it's a commitment to something longer. What would you say to them?
Matt Dressel (22:58):
I would say, first of all, there is a little bit of hyperbole going on in our conversation, right? People more often than not just make the assumption that it is, I never have to deal with it again. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and they never have the conversation. And so the most important thing, the most important thing here that anybody listening should take away is that you should be thinking about this. Lots of organizations are using their technology, internal technology teams people, they already have to accomplish a lot of what we're talking about mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. it doesn't have to cost a, a crazy amount of money, but you need to be thinking about it and doing something about it. Right.
Mike Bodell (23:38):
The other, the other thing I'll say is if you're already, if you've started down the road of Office 365 and you have licensed users, chances are you have a lot of things today that need care and feeding that you're already paying for. Yeah. And it's not gonna cost you more for those things. You just need to actually care and feed them.
Mitch Herrema (23:57):
Sure. Care for. Yeah. That's been one of our kind of angles lately is if you have a subscription that you're paying for and you're not,
Matt Dressel (24:05):
You should get some use out of it using
Mitch Herrema (24:07):
Matt Dressel (24:08):
The o the other thing I'll say about it is that cuz you, you asked like, you know, wow, this is maybe gonna cost a lot of money. It's, it's also recognition of a journey. If you want to mo completely modernize your workplace in a year and transform it like, and you want to implement everything Yeah. It's gonna be expensive. Yeah. Like, I don't, it doesn't matter pretty much matter what size company you are, it's gonna be very expensive because you're not talking about just adding a bunch of technology. Cuz quite frankly, technology doesn't fix that problem. Yeah. People fix that problem and you need to use the technology with the people to fix the problem. Right. And that's not a cheap thing. If you are looking to just, I want an intranet, it's not that big of a deal. Like yes, you have to do more stuff afterwards.
Yes, you need to be thinking about it, but it's not earth shattering. It's not you, you talked about the, you know, how much of a piece of a person's thing maintaining an intranet is not a full-time job for a 200 person organization. Right. you know, it's might be half their job, right? How but if you can't find half a person that can do this stuff, you have a completely different problem in your organization. You don't have anybody that cares enough about corporate communication and effective dissemination of information like that is a cultural problem. And you had the problem before and the technology didn't cause it.
Mitch Herrema (25:29):
Yeah. I think what you're reminding me of is a conversation we were I think having earlier today, which was aligning it to your business goals. If you have a goal where you want to double your size in the next year and you're not using technology well, it may play a large role in facilitating double size being able
Matt Dressel (25:48):
To do it. Yeah, a hundred percent. So
Mitch Herrema (25:50):
Like yeah, it might cost a lot, but like
Matt Dressel (25:52):
If the value is there
Mitch Herrema (25:53):
Yeah. If you can like look at that and say, oh my gosh, I see that's gonna cut down my time by 30% or something like that. Like the payoff is, is easily there.
Matt Dressel (26:03):
So in the, in, in this, well, let's take two other scenarios. So let's say you don't really have a growth goal to like increase the number of people, but you really want to provide more efficiencies and like you've already done a lot of growth, but it was maybe a little bit unsustainable because you're just, it's your go, go, go just make this stuff happen. In that model, same kind of thing, right? Like implementing these things can really have an impact on the sustainability of your organization. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, if you're an organization that is relatively like static, don't have any dis desires to improve or like to change size or change the bus, have a business goal that is like anything growth related and you're just trying to keep looking to what you're doing. I don't, I don't know that an intranet or even a modern workplace is super like, valuable to you. Let's,
Mitch Herrema (26:52):
Let's take us for an example. We're small. Yep. We're not like ramping on this huge major growth pattern. Like we don't, we're not gonna triple in size or whatever in a year necessarily, but I mean, it'd be great <laugh>, it'd be great. But that comes along with different problems.
Matt Dressel (27:09):
It's a, I mean you say that, but you say all of those things, but two people to an organization our size is 10, 20%. Yeah. Right. Right. Like it matters. Right.
Mitch Herrema (27:20):
But I'm saying it's not like we're reinventing things every day. Correct. We, we built our own internal internet which we actually wrote a blog about cuz it was kind of like eating our own dog food a little bit where it's like, hey, we need to sort it out our, our internet. And we did that. And now it's like a great tool and instead of looking at it as like an obligation, we almost look at it as a like opportunity. Like, I just went to a conference recently and I thought, wow, it would be great for me to go plug in some details about the conference and share it. And it was literally just a way for me to like facilitate doing that. It wasn't me caring for the internet, but it was knowing that that is my tool to use to spread to the organization.
Matt Dressel (28:10):
So you're, you're getting at why a lot of people call what we do employee experience. Yeah. Focused and that is regardless of whether or not you're growing, not growing, like what you're trying to do, using technology within your organization effectively and an intranet and communication collaboration can have a huge impact on the health and wellbeing, the feelings of your employees. And I would recommend that every organization should have this stuff. Like, you know, that like we, that's, we feel pretty passionate about this, but if you're a number cruncher and you're trying to look for only number solutions to this problem, if you're not an organization that is planning on growing or changing or doing something, you probably don't have a lot of communication that you really need to do. Right. And you might be happy enough with what it is. I wouldn't do it that way. Exactly what you're talking about. Like, we did it ourselves and we weren't growing. Like we weren't had didn't have a growth goal at the time. Right. Like, it wasn't like we were trying to add four people or anything like that. But we have benefited so much from having it and being able to have it as a place for our team, our small team that sit in one room together lots of times Right. To communicate and be able to come back to and reference and, you know, find all of that information. It's, it's been great.
Mitch Herrema (29:30):
Yeah. I feel like we've spent a fair amount of time talking about intranets and communication collaboration stuff. Let's maybe shift over to the, the business app side of things. Is there any different perspectives that you see specific to like building apps in an organization that leads to this conversation at all?
Mike Bodell (29:51):
I'm sure there's probably many. I think one of the things that pops into my mind when I think of, you know, building apps in no-code, low-code platform is you are giving up a lot of control over many of the things that you otherwise would've had in, in the previous world where you're writing code, deploying it to a web server, right? Doing all of those types of things. And in that regard, you're shifting a lot of the responsibility for some of those things, right? You're data availability, let's say, or the guaranteed delivery of messaging and and stuff like that. You're shifting that onto someone else, right? Yeah. In this case it'd be Microsoft. And so in that way you could say, well, those pieces are more set it and forget it. But the reality is you're then in a world where you're receiving pushes and updates and things like that from, from the cloud, right? And you have to be able to accommodate those things and those changes. And that stuff is changing rapidly in that world right now because so many more people are using it and they're starting to run up against some shortcomings or limitations of a platform that was in early stages. And so now those things are coming more fast and furious and so we need to be paying attention to those things. Yeah. a lot more than we, than we probably had when we owned the entirety of the solution.
Mitch Herrema (31:09):
Yeah. So, so a good perspective on that is like focusing maybe more on the new feature aspect because that movement is a little bit new. Like when, when we're thinking about what care and feeding looks like, it's, it's maybe more on the side of like, we had to build it one way because of X limitation and now it's like, how can we keep moving this, making this better with changes that are coming down the pipe?
Mike Bodell (31:39):
A hundred percent. Because there, there have been limitations that people have run into. They've gotten huge traction on user voice, for example, and Microsoft has actually made those things a priority and then changed them. So where you may have implemented a really ugly workaround before to get something to work, now there's something in place that will make it much more elegant, nicer for your users. And you should go take advantage of that, get rid of that old rusty thing that you built and, you know, use the, the new feature. And then in addition to that, there are just like anything that's relatively new, there are a number of things that you can use to enhance your user experience as they become available. New widgets and artificial intelligence and like receipt scanning and like stuff is gonna be coming, right. You know, more and more that you can do stuff with to make you know that user experience better with the apps that you're building for your, for your organization. So
Matt Dressel (32:32):
The the two things that I would say about it is using a power, the a system that is low code, no code, one of the points of the whole thing is that you can make changes on a regular basis mm-hmm. <Affirmative> that it's cheaper and easier for you to update and maintain and manage. Right? And number one, if you're not taking advantage of that, you're not taking advantage of one of the benefits of using the p using the low code, no code solution for doing the development, number one. The second is, which kind of goes to the concept of automations and business process and apps that may not be critical to the success of your, your business, right? Like in those cases, like you're, you maybe have a citizen developer doing that. Like you should be like, that's the whole point is to have them start to be able to help that in the case that I you built a solution that is core to your business is the lifeblood of your business, right?
Quite frankly, whether or not you're low-code, no-code, not low-code, no-code, whatever that is, you should be on a regular basis trying to figure out how to improve that mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. because you are going to get extra efficiencies number one based on like what, what Mike was talking about of new features, new components, new ways of doing it, number one. Second is businesses change. Like markets change how people work change, you know, we've, we've seen this in custom development that we've done. We've seen it in custom development on the, on low-code, no-code solutions. It's not very different, right? If it's just something that is helping you do something that's not super important to your business, like a little better. Yeah. Maybe it doesn't really matter. Don't, you don't have to worry about it. Maybe it is a little bit more set it and forget it. If you're talking about the thing that is the way that you make money as a business, you should be constantly trying to make that better as much as you can, looking for opportunities to make that better. And
Mike Bodell (34:19):
A lot of this feeds into the, like the iterative approach that we like to take mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. I had a client conversation today where we talked about should the application do this for you? Right? And his response was, oh, that feels like extra complexity and maybe more bugs. So our users will just do that. Right? So a manual entry of data versus triggering something to happen automatically. And that's okay. It's really okay. And I think if he's doing the right thing, he'll be reevaluating that decision in a couple months after users are doing that manually and saying to themselves, well, I, this is the same thing. I do this the same way every time all the time. Can we just make this automatically happen when this happens? Right. Right. And so that's a perfect example of that reevaluation, right? Yep. That you're talking about. And it's, and it's perfectly fine that you start with simple and what you think is enough to make it work, but recognize that you should be looking for those opportunities to make it better.
Mitch Herrema (35:21):
Yep. Is that what you see most often if a client comes to you and they want to build some sort of business process or app or something? Is that generally how you approach it? Is like, let's be do it simple and then add complexity Or like if someone's listening and saying, I want to, I want to do this thing, how much should they plan to, I'll call it invest in it after it's done. Like what, what would you say, what's my commitment after I have this thing?
Mike Bodell (35:52):
So that's a very interesting question and I think it depends on who you talk to because you're asking me my natural bent when somebody comes to me with a problem that needs to be solved is to solve it to the nines mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. Right. At least think of it that way in my mind and think of all of the possibilities that are there and how I could make it Sure. Do <laugh> and how I could make the world such a better place. Yeah. Right. Yeah. now that has to be kind of Yeah. I have to tamp that back. Yeah. Right. And I have to first recognize what is the, we've talked about mvp, minimum viable product, right? Yeah. What's the minimum thing that we need to make this workable for the scenario? And if you can identify that that gives you a good place to start and establish something that hopefully the customer can use or at least gives them something to ideate on. Yeah. and ultimately it depends on, you know, like when you talk about like scope or how big is that? How much should we really do? Getting to that first thing where somebody can actually put hands on something, touch and feel it and think about how it might actually impact them is the first thing that you need to do in any of that.
Mitch Herrema (37:03):
And I, I have to imagine after that it's like all is right in the world. Like all of a sudden it like opens eyes to what this thing could do and then it leads to the, what we've been having a conversation about, which is like, I want to keep investing in this thing, right? Because I see the potential. And so for complex business processes, I imagine that's pretty, it can
Mike Bodell (37:26):
Be scary too because people we're all creatures of habit generally, right? And once we're doing something and it works change can be scary. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and you don't necessarily like to be forced into a new situation. And so that's part of that conversation too, is bringing those people along, engaging them in those conversations to say, how do you do things today? Right. What would be really bad mm-hmm. <Affirmative> for us to do what wouldn't work? What would work? Right. What would you like to see? And have those conversations and engage as much as you can so that you can get that first working version as quickly as you can in front of them and get them excited.
Mitch Herrema (38:05):
Yeah. Okay. I feel like we've covered a lot of a lot of this topic. Is there any closing thoughts that we might wanna share? Any reassurances or inspiration or anything like that with someone who's thinking about modernizing their workplace?
Mike Bodell (38:21):
Yeah, I, my suggestion I think it fits with how we work with our customers is plan on doing a little bit of research, investigation, discovery planning, that type of activity before you embark on configuration, putting pen to paper building things Yeah. In an effort to like, yeah, it's gonna, you're probably gonna spend time and money to do that upfront, but you'll spend less time and money on those later pieces.
Mitch Herrema (38:49):
Yeah. I think that goes with our yeah. Discovery first approach, right? Which is like, Hey, why don't you spend 10% now instead of committing to a hundred percent and realizing it was the wrong thing. So lowering that level of risk.
Matt Dressel (39:05):
So the two things I would say is if your organization is currently looking at automating a business process, implementing an intranet, improving communication, collaboration and somebody is at all looking at it like, we're gonna spend this amount of money to solve this problem, generally speaking, that is not how that works. You spend that amount of money to get a certain way through that problem mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and you're gonna continue to spend money over a period of time to actually either internally or externally to completely work through that process. And I think that's important for people to understand. I think it's a general mind shift in how, you know, when you buy technology in general or, or when you're incorporating things into, you know, someone's work or changing the way people work, but people don't always think about it. They oftentimes think about, I'm going to pay these people to migrate my stuff from my files from on-premise to the cloud. Cool. That's $20,000 and that'll be done. No, it will not be done. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, like right. At a minimum, you better have training involved in that and you better have, you know a someway to understand what this new thing is gonna be, right. And how it works. And it is j that's just it. Like, I mean, the reality is I don't care what it is, people need to get outta the mindset that it is a one-time purchase. I'm buying this thing and I'm gonna get this outcome.
Mitch Herrema (40:39):
Yeah. As mu as nice as that would be, I think the whole intent is to show progress early, often and keep the train rolling in the right direction.
Matt Dressel (40:51):
Yeah. Whether or not that be, like I said, internally or externally. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Honestly, for most organizations, getting building up internal staff that can help move those things forward is where you want to be.
Mitch Herrema (41:03):
Cool. All right. I think that's all we've got for today. So thanks guys for joining me. We're, we didn't say it at the beginning, but we're in a new space. This is being recorded in a less noisy, you
Mike Bodell (41:16):
Probably saw me fidgeting with my phone a few minutes ago. I was toying with the idea of taking a selfie in our new space. Oh,
Mitch Herrema (41:21):
Yeah. Well, we'll, which I'm gonna do now. We'll like to post that, but it's yeah, we're, we're just down the hall from our other space, but it's a lot quieter and gives us some dedicated space. So excited about that. But anyway, we'll see you guys later. Cheers. Hey, thanks for joining us today. If you haven't already subscribed to our show on your favorite podcasting app, so you'll always be up to date on the most recent episodes. This podcast is hosted by the team members of BA Digital and special thanks to Eric Veneman for our music tracks and producing this episode. If you have any questions for us, head to make others successful.com and you can get in touch with us there. You'll also find a lot of blogs and videos and content that will help you modernize your workplace and get the most out of Office 365. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you next time.