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Making Collaboration Sweet: Insights from Mars’ Head of Digital

Jon Chong

Mars, Incorporated is a company with a proud 100-year history and a strong corporate culture. As early adopters of open offices, phone and video conferencing, you might think that moving to digital collaboration would be easy for Mars – but they have many hard-earned lessons to share.

Jonathan Chong, Director – Digital Workplace & Corporate Systems at Mars shares his insights into the importance of collaboration for businesses of any size, and reveals how collaboration is giving them the competitive edge.

Q: Why does a successful company like Mars need to focus on collaboration?

Mars is doing very well, but the business environment, the geopolitical climate and the public competitive landscape is changing and it’s extremely challenging. So we have to look for every bit of advantage that we can, and collaboration is one of them.

We’re trying to absorb and digest acquisitions, we’re trying to expand into new geographies, and really making the most of people’s knowledge, connecting them to other people, helping them be quicker and make faster decisions, that’s the way we’re going to achieve those objectives.

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Filed under: Strategy

In Digital Transformation, Culture Change Goes Hand in Hand with Tech Change

collaboration tech changeI’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years identifying the best approaches for that urgent enterprise topic of our time, digital transformation. When I first started, I often looked to top examples of organizations that have started the transition and made good progress (see sample case studies below.) More recently I’ve derived insights from my work directly with a number of organizations on their individual transformation journeys.

Ultimately, however, I have determined that the short answer is one that you might expect: There is no single blueprint for transformation that works well for everyone.

Instead, the right steps very much depend on the organization itself. We also know now that there are indeed common success factors we can apply, if we can adapt them to our organizations. Generally, I’ve found that the best method is to employ heuristics on an established framework that takes an organization’s industry traits, cultural inclinations, organizational strengths/weaknesses and uses a generative process to create a starting point for change.

The resulting adapted framework is informed by best practices and industry lessons learned so far. A good place to start for these is Perry Hewitt’s 10 best practices for digital transformation, which she developed when she was Chief Digital Officer at Harvard.

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Filed under: Collaboration Culture, Strategy

7 Steps to Developing an Office 365 Roadmap for Your Organisation

Collaboration_technology_roadmapThe importance of planning for an Office 365 implementation cannot be stressed enough- the time spent planning your roadmap could save you three times the effort you would eventually end up spending and cleaning up during implementation.

Confused as to where to start?

Here are seven steps to creating a high level Office 365 or online services roadmap for your organisation.

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Filed under: StrategyTagged with: , ,

Have You Created a False Goal for Your Collaboration Technology Project?

Collaboration Technology GoalI’m going to give you a challenge. Let’s imagine that your goal is “to implement [x piece of technology] to improve collaboration”. Not an uncommon goal. Now I’m going to ask you a question and you have to answer within 10 seconds. Ready? “How will you know when your project has been successful?”


Did you succeed? I’m guessing not. (If you answered “people are collaborating”, I’m sorry but that doesn’t qualify).

Now imagine you were in charge of getting your team to the moon. Although it may sometimes seem like an enterprise collaboration technology deployment is on par with a lunar landing, you’ll probably agree the moon landing is much larger in scope, cost and degree of innovation and engineering. Yet if we ask you the same question “How will you know when your moon landing is a success?” you’d probably be able to answer me in a snap: “We landed on the moon and we returned to earth”.

So why is one so much harder to answer than the other? The answer one of my four governance home truths: Continue reading

Filed under: StrategyTagged with: ,

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