The Breakfast Club – Cloud Collective Style

May 1st, 2017

by John Filippis, Strategic Engagement Manager, Quorum

If you are old enough to remember (like me) the title of today’s article may bring you to construct a visualise rebellious of 80’s teen stars Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. But instead of romanticising a B grade 80’s teen flick today (it was average even back then), I thought I would focus your attention on the star of today’s Breakfast Club.

The star in today’s breakfast club plot is: Change.

It is the word that everyone keeps revisiting lately in all manner of social, political and technological commentary. From everything that happens in the world, the one constant that continues to remain stubborn and persistent is indeed Change.

It appears that the world that we once knew, that world of stability then change then stability again, has become as distant a memory as the Tasmanian tiger. A few highly speculative and rare sightings may come to the surface but in reality, it is gone for good.

The new era of revolving and accelerating Change has many facets, some Changes have a gentle gradient whilst others are step functions and are both rapid and violent in nature.

Our technological world is much more susceptible to the gods of Change than most industries, in the blink of an eye what was once new becomes old and a long-established paradigm shifts dramatically once again.

The American moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer once eloquently remarked:

“In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

It seems that people everywhere are interested to understand how their peers foresee Change, manage it and more importantly how they adapt to it. It will come as no surprise to the astute, that while the lifespans of people have gone up, the lifespans of companies took a dive for the worst. How much of a “dive” you may ask? Try more than 50 years!

Per a researcher affiliated with Yale University, the average lifespan of a company listed on the S&P 500 Index fell from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years in the 2010s. Every day, we are bombarded with numerous stories of organisations that have become “collateral damage” in the wake of disruptive business models. Organisations of all sizes and in all verticals are susceptible to the slippery slope of market irrelevance due to disruption. It all comes down to a very basic law, it was one that Darwin in his Beagle had uncovered a long time ago, but it still applies in the digital age, that law is; “adapt or perish.”

So, if you’re in an established company, how do you adapt? How do you become a digitally driven enterprise that can not only survive but thrive the digital economy? How can you be a disrupter instead of being the disrupted?

In short, you must be agile to change many key parts of your business. The rampant speed at which technology is moving is determining the speed at which organizations must reinvent themselves within their industry verticals. As I have written before, this rate is no longer linear but exponential.

It seems that many like-minded people in the industry are also tuned into how to best deal with the unstoppable winds of change. Judging by the turnout at our recent breakfast event at the Telstra Customer Immersion Centre (CIC) in Sydney many are seeking answers to their questions.

The agenda for the breakfast event was Realising the Secure, Data-Driven and Productive Enterprise and it was a topical agenda that resonated with all the delegates that attended. Our keynote speaker for the event was Ian Heard, the Modern Workplace, Collaboration and UC Lead from Microsoft who opened up proceedings. Ian set the stage by providing the audience with a succinct and accurate portrayal of the modern enterprise’s operational landscape and business challenges. Ian’s keynote delved into the statistics and market trends that defined the key themes of Data, Collaboration, Analytics and Security which many organisations are grappling with.

Once Ian had set the scene, the delegates then broke off into separate sessions to get further insight and information on how the Cloud Collective is leveraging Microsoft technology platforms to address business challenges.

There were four sessions that were delivered throughout the morning that focused on the following areas:

  1. Skype for Business – Moving towards Cloud Communications
  2. Realise the Power of Analytics with PowerBI
  3. The Productivity stack: SharePoint, Yammer, Teams and O365 Groups
  4. Identity-driven innovations to stay secure and productive with Enterprise Mobility + Security

The Skype for Business session was delivered by Justin Morris, Modality Systems Country Manager and he talked through the benefits of Skype and how it is becoming a key enabler for the business that seeks to fully utilise it. Justin walked us through conducting cloud meetings, Skype Operational Framework, cost comparisons and ROI along with supporting case studies from Savills and Woods Bagot. According to Justin, Skype for Business provides so much more than just instant messaging, video calls and application sharing. Justin said that organisations should “start using the meeting functionality to provide a seamless and standardised user experience from the Skype platform”

If Skype for business wasn’t your cup of tea, Julio Acuna from Antares was serving up an alternative breakfast menu. Julio wowed the crowds on how PowerBI can make molehills out of data mountains. Julio showcased the ease in which various data sets can be translated into useful information and business intelligence all thorough PowerBI. In his demonstration, Julio connected to a variety of data sources both in the cloud and locally and transposed this data through the PowerBI dashboard capability. I really enjoyed Julio’s session, as PowerBI is one of the tools that can be a very transformative lens from which to view business data.

If it was too early in your morning to digest big data, Aaron Cunnington, Director from Antares showcased how SharePoint, Yammer and Microsoft teams add value to the productivity equation of the modern worker. With so many tools now available to people it can be a minefield to decipher which tool to use where and for what purpose. Aaron collaborated his way through O365 groups, Teams, Yammer and SharePoint with the lubricity of a Teflon based engine additive.

Aaron’s words of wisdom for productivity success to the delegation were “O365 groups and SharePoint is the underlying platform for collaboration and the key to success is in understanding which tools to use from the platform for the task at hand”.

Bringing the event home were myself and my colleague Anthony Mather, who took our attentive audience through the rise and importance of digital identity and how Microsoft EM+S may be leveraged to handle them. Digital identity is now becoming a more important aspect of our world, so much so that the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2016; had identified that the creation of a global digital identity standard (primarily driven by the financial institutions) was a must for realising future transactional efficiencies.

Anthony and I showed that by utilising Microsoft EM+S and architecting identity to be at the centre of the picture enables an organisation to have greater visibility and control of all aspects of the user experience. With EM+S controlling the device, the applications, the data and also the identity it allows everything to be cleanly organised through a central platform.

Everyone listened and nodded as we walked through everything from Multi Factor Authentication, Data classification and protection, Threat Analytics, Application Policies and a whole heap more.

As our session was drawing to a close, I asked each of the attendees what they learned during the event, they said:

“A lot to learn”

“Definitely given me food for thought”

“So many changes to think about”

So, what was the moral of the story post our Breakfast Club event?

Transform, Modernise and Adapt or…. Perish…

Remember Hoffman…“In times of change learners will inherit the earth”; so keep learning and adopting to change because the machine (just like in the Terminator movie) will not stop and it takes no prisoners.


Click the links below to download the decks for the presentations:

Reinventing Productivity Keynote

Workshop 1.1 – Skype for Business – Moving towards Cloud Communications

Workshop 1.2 – Realise the Power of Analytics with Power BI

Workshop 2.1 – Digesting the Microsoft Productivity stack: SharePoint, Yammer, Teams and O365 Groups

Workshop 2.2 – Identity-driven innovations to stay secure and productive with Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS)


To learn more about the Cloud Realisation Workshop, click hereYou can also register your interest and we’ll contact you to discuss your requirements in more details.