Going beyond the ordinary—using Office 365 to thrive in a global market

Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Michael Pynch, technology partner at Wipfli.

Wipfli Pro pixI was drawn to Wipfli for the same reason that our clients are: the chance to work with a large, respected firm that feels small and personal. As an accounting and consulting firm, we are in the relationship business, and our firm’s culture of teamwork, communication and respectful, responsive client service is part of our heritage. We call it the “Wipfli Way.” I remember the days when driving a few hours across northern Wisconsin to make key decisions, face to face, was the norm. Today, Wipfli has 36 offices across the United States and two offices in India and we hold ourselves accountable to providing the same level of personal client service, and making business decisions, at digital speed. We are doing this by empowering our more than 1,700 associates with the mobility, connectivity and security of Microsoft cloud technologies, including Office 365, Microsoft CRM Online and the Azure cloud platform. It’s how we fulfill the Wipfli Way and thrive in a global market.

Using cloud-based solutions from Microsoft, we can engage with clients more frequently, providing immediate attention in order to deliver the responsive client service for which we are known. We are looking for “win/wins” with our clients by providing the same services with less direct impact on their schedules and reducing the days our associates spend in the field. We can work more efficiently and effectively by sharing documents using OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online and by conducting interactive Skype for Business video conferences. Now, associates in remote locations use Yammer to start conversations with their colleagues across the country, or around the world, to find better ways to enhance relationships or help serve a client. I like to say that with Office 365 we don’t have to fill our cups out of the same coffee pot to be able to collaborate effectively on behalf of our clients.

One reason we’ve been able to effectively operate and expand our team in India is because we can connect in real time with our .NET developers and technology consultants who work there. Thanks to Skype for Business, we can be productive on both sides of the world, all day, every day. Enhanced collaboration is not the only way we are looking to Microsoft cloud technologies to deliver the digital workplace our associates need to function at their best. We will be working with the Microsoft FastTrack program to take advantage of mobile device and application management services to cover both iOS and Windows devices, gaining a whole new level of security and compliance. With enhanced control over our mobile devices, we feel confident about deploying Microsoft CRM Online onto our smartphones. We can layer it with self-serve dashboards using Power BI Professional, which is part of Office 365. With easy access to resource management, sales performance and market analysis data, associates have the information they need, when they need it. The built-in security features that come with Microsoft will go a long way to reassure clients that their privileged information is safe. Internally, we will take advantage of Advanced Threat Protection to ensure safe links and safe attachments, another benefit of Office 365.

As a Microsoft partner with years of experience optimizing operations for our clients, Wipfli has a good handle on how to streamline business processes. Now, we are using Microsoft tools to realize our own goals for a more efficient, connected enterprise. With the most comprehensive Office 365 offering, we gain Skype Meetings with PSTN Conferencing. We expect to save a significant amount annually by reducing our reliance on our audio conference provider and GoToMeeting. We will realize even greater savings when we replace the 13 various phone systems we have accumulated through acquisitions with Skype for Business. We are also moving our test and development environments, website and other production servers to the Azure cloud computing environment to save time and money managing on-premises infrastructure.

Creating an environment that reflects the changing workplace expectations of our associates ensures that we employ and retain top talent. Not only do we reduce the cost of turnover, but our clients enjoy greater consistency, and our associates have better job satisfaction. This three-way win is a great example of the multiple levels of business value we get with Microsoft cloud technologies. The Wipfli Way just keeps getting better and better!

—Michael Pynch