Harnessing Modern Tech to Evolve with a Fast-Paced Industry
As a leading provider of communications networks and digital and entertainment services, Telefónica operates in an industry synonymous with rapid change, where trends come and go quickly and opportunities in the market often have a short-term window. To meet the demands of this fast-paced industry, Telefónica launched an end-to-end digital transformation by adopting Microsoft 365 to support a new agile methodology. Telefónica’s digital transformation is all about speed—breaking down silos, accelerating the pace of business, and boosting the company’s competitive advantage. This strategy marks both an internal transformation and a shift in the way Telefónica offers services to customers.
Jaime Rodriguez-Ramos Fernandez, Director of Strategic Analysis at Telefónica, recognizes a unique moment in the telecommunications business. “The telecom world is colliding with the tech world,” says Rodriguez-Ramos. “More than anything else, Telefónica’s competitive advantage relies on moving faster. With Microsoft 365, we embrace a more agile way of working, with less hierarchy. As we collaborate across departments and work much faster, we can better grow our competitive advantage.”
“We have to prepare for change—transforming the workplace at Telefónica means providing the right tools so we can respond to industry trends and strengthen our collaborative, agile culture,” adds Enrique Blanco, Global Chief Technology Officer at Telefónica. “The need to evolve with our fast-paced industry motivated our move to Microsoft 365.”
Telefónica’s Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, José María Álvarez-Pallete, sees the workplace transformation as a complement to embracing AI to address customers’ rapidly changing expectations for service, like AI-powered in-home experiences.
“We already use AI to enhance our customer relationships, and we are really excited to work with Microsoft to further harness the power of AI services in Microsoft Azure,” says Álvarez-Pallete. The company sees the potential to increase productivity by automating daily tasks with bots created using Azure Bot Service.
“At the end of the day, these improvements reach our customers because they save time and make us more efficient as employees,” says Blanco. “Equipping our employees with workplace tools from Microsoft 365 helps us accelerate the pace of business, so we remain competitive in a digital market.”
A Digital Journey for Change
Telefónica’s journey to Microsoft 365 began several years ago when the company decided to standardize on a single email solution, eventually choosing Microsoft Exchange Server. “In 2013, Telefónica began the migration to Office 365 after consolidating all the mail solutions in a global Exchange platform,” says Blanco. “Before this, we had approximately 30 email platforms around the world.”
Next, the company introduced Office 365 as a global, standard productivity suite, adding OneDrive and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. To benefit from the enhanced security and compliance solutions within Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security, and to standardize on Windows 10, Telefónica deployed Microsoft 365.
“Telefónica and Microsoft have a long-term strategic relationship,” says Blanco. “We are a firm and vocal champion of citizens’ digital rights, supporting transparency and access for clients so that they can take control of their data. We consider data and user privacy, security by design, and ethical use of AI as key elements to promoting a human-centric digitization, and we know that Microsoft shares this vision with us.”
Telefónica achieved an efficient, trouble-free migration to Microsoft 365. “We migrated Telefónica Spain and Brazil in parallel at the rate of 2,000 accounts per night, with very few incidents,” says Antonio Martin Barranco, Global Workplace Transformation Head at Telefónica.
The company also took advantage of the expertise of Microsoft FastTrack and Microsoft consulting services to provide technical advice. “Our FastTrack engagement helped to guarantee the integration of new services, security functionalities, and a coherent transition to a modern, managed workplace based on cloud capabilities,” says Blanco.
The company is also migrating to Windows 10, with a goal to finish deployment in 2020. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity for continuous updates of new functionalities and security patches,” says Blanco. “So far, we’ve seen very good performance across different machines, and a rapid startup and shutdown that’s appreciated by our employees.”
Teamwork Across a Global Network
Operating in 14 countries, Telefónica faces a unique challenge—how to enable employees with the same up-to-the-minute connections it provides customers. The answer came with Microsoft Teams, rapidly emerging as the collaboration and meeting hub of choice at Telefónica. The company worked with Microsoft Partner Network member Barrabes to lead the collaboration strategy based on Teams. Today, Telefónica considers itself to be one of Western Europe’s most collaborative workforces, using the chat, document co-authoring, and calling functionality to achieve efficient, virtual teamwork.
“Telefónica achieved a huge change in collaboration, breaking barriers between employees in different geographies bringing work teams closer together in a great common user experience,” says Blanco. “Today Teams is fully deployed.”
At Telefónica, employees conduct business-building projects in Teams. “Before Teams, we had to integrate different aspects of a project that had been created in isolation from each other,” says Rodriguez-Ramos. “Now, a group of colleagues can build on the documents together and edit the project directly. This process used to take four weeks; now we can accomplish it in a matter of days.”
Once a logistical nightmare, organizing a meeting for up to 20 colleagues from several departments dedicated to various workstreams now happens seamlessly. “Executives easily coordinate off-site meetings in a highly secure, centralized hub for virtual collaboration,” says Rodriguez-Ramos.
Having a centralized workspace that the right people can access not only improves security—using Microsoft Information Protection, employees create rules that prevent them from sending confidential documents to the wrong recipient—but also makes it easier for people to get up to speed quickly when they join a project. Helmuth Corzo Gutierrez, Sales and Retail (Colombia) at Telefónica, is responsible for managing sales and customer service in Colombia. He uses Teams for scheduling, chatting with workgroups, making video calls, file sharing, and co-authoring.