resources. sequel presents.

13 December 2019

Cooking up the right Microsoft 365 comms mix

What does Microsoft 365 have in common with cooking?  

A lot more than you may realise according to Charles Fenoughty, Digital Media Director for Sequel Group, who drew the comparison to kick off last week’s Sequel Presents breakfast seminar.

Cooking is familiar to everyone; there’s a process for each recipe that begins with ingredients and tools. But we all know the best dishes aren’t the result of the latest kitchen gadgets, rather they come down to a chef’s ability to coax the perfection out raw ingredients. So too it is with Microsoft 365.

Sequel Presents guest speaker Simon Steers, former Digital Channels and Content Strategy Lead at Legal & General, and Senior Internal Communications Lead at GVC Group, suggests that – similar to a chef’s ability to bring out food’s greatness – the successful adoption of Microsoft 365 is the result of a communicators ability to find the perfect blend of art and science. A process he believes comes down to planning combined with precise implementation.

“The trap that a lot of organisations tend to fall into is that they look at each tool in isolation,” explains Simon. “Microsoft 365 is greater than the sum of its parts so that approach really misses an opportunity.”

According to Simon, user cases are essential to understanding what people are doing, how they are working and ultimately how you can improve their day-to-day experience. “It’s important to think about the culture of your company and the needs of your employees before you even start,” he says.

A process Steve Clarke, Communication Channel Manager for Virgin Atlantic, knows only too well. Steve joined Virgin tasked with the vital role of helping connect their disparate workforce – 70% of which don’t have access to a work laptop.

When he started three years ago, IT had recently invested in Microsoft 365, but once turned on no one knew what to do with it. And employee sentiment showed that they didn’t feel connected to Virgin’s values; an issue that boiled down to inefficient communication channels.

“It was my job to see how we could turn this around. As well as introducing Workplace by Facebook and starting the build of our new SharePoint intranet, one of the first things we did was build audience personas. This was a big job that took us six to nine months to complete but really helped us better understand our audience,” explains Steve.

“We found that most people could still do their jobs without digital workplace tools, so it was really about defining a clear purpose for each tool and technology as well as raising awareness and communicating how the tools could help them to do their jobs better and more simply.”


For Steve and the communications team at Virgin Atlantic, that meant drawing a very clear line between Workplace by Facebook and Microsoft 365; the first to connect and engage and the latter to inform and explain. Now, employees can locate the information they need to do their jobs quickly and easily while also sharing their ideas, thoughts and feedback and building quality work relationships with colleagues and managers.

The speaker’s top tips:

We’re working with organisations big and small on internal comms-led, IT-led and HR-led projects to help clients make the most out of Microsoft Office 365. Contact to request a copy of Sequel’s FREE 70-day adoption plan.