Navigating the Digital Era: how norbrik is responding to the technological revolution


As we witness a movement towards greater connectivity and automation, the impact of the digital revolution is becoming increasingly apparent. With the development and adoption of new technologies rising on an unprecedented scale, consumers are now being enabled by on-demand information, paving way to new levels of customer expectations and experience. As a result, the proposition of hyper-personalization, on-demand consumption and instant gratification is assumed as the baseline for a valuable offering. Businesses who compete on traditional approaches often struggle, with the rapid digitization, availability and customization of service offerings becoming the new norm.

So, what does this mean for established businesses leveraging traditional methods?

With the rate of digital penetration far-exceeding business capacity to respond, established firms are now faced with the risk of disruption by new market entrants as traditional business models are being washed out by technologically advanced paradigms. With many incumbent firms equipped with digitally-native entrepreneurs who hold strong understandings of market disparities, these disruptors have shifted the competitive markets by building services based on an understanding of consumer behavior, preferences and expectations. As a result, long-standing firms are now being forced to go digital or go home, with many startups assuming strong market positions within their respective industries.

So, what must businesses do?

They must either adapt or die.

Given that executives see strategic value in competing, leaders must continuously rethink their business models, operations and services, ensuring that the needs and expectations of consumers are brought to the forefront of all operations.

While small and large enterprises who engage in the technological revolution experience immense growth opportunities, these advantages are only conceivable when strategic leaders align and adapt their business models, organizational structure and business capabilities to the digital landscape.

So, how is norbrik responding?  

Focused on continuous improvement, norbrik has been responding to the demands of the digital age by constantly refining its core services, products, and capabilities in order to reflect current market trends and consumer demands.

To cater to the vast needs of our clients, we look to consistently expand our services to areas of emerging significance, providing our customers with relevant and cutting-edge insights, tools and technologies that support their growth.

Specializing in four key domains, we currently offer our expertise in strategy and architecture, data management and analytics, business application and productivity. To learn more about our capabilities, read the infographic below or contact us at info@norbrik.com.

 

How norbrik Uses Office 365 to Deliver Its Core Capabilities and Services

In today’s era of rapid globalization where the barriers to entry are increasingly marginal, businesses are faced with mounting pressure to sustain high levels of operational growth and competitive advantage by means of process automation, improvement and management. As new technologies and innovations come to the frontline, organizations compete on the proposition of greater operational efficiency, advanced product quality, lower operational costs, and greater service.

Being a leading provider of business productivity, the Office 365 suite brings together a range of tools in support of organizational growth, sustainability and efficiency. By integrating productivity technologies, this suite assimilates collaboration and automation solutions, enhancing performance agility and eliminating waste activities.

As business technology experts providing consultancy services, norbrik leverages the promise of Office 365 applications to deliver capabilities that promote and support process automation, improvement and management. Aligned with Microsoft competencies, norbrik renders its useful services in four fundamental areas: digital strategy, data management and analytics, business applications, and productivity.

Here’s how we use Office 365 to successfully deliver our capabilities and services:

Digital Strategy

In the face of aggressive digital disruption, organizations are increasingly participating in rapid digital transformation in a bid to remain profitable and competitive. With disruptors shifting the competitive markets, executives are often faced with incredible pressure to overhaul their operations with technologies that offer minimal value-add.

The outcome?

With the cost of investment outweighing the potential benefits of the technology, efforts expended to digitally re-engineering organizational operations renders highly ineffective. Given the unprecedented rate of digital transformation, businesses thereby risk facing market penetration by unconventional disruptors.

Reimagining business processes through digitalization goes beyond the act of embedding digital technologies to resolve process problems. Rather, the success of such enablement lies in a clear and integrated digital strategy that is in alignment with your organizational objectives, people, technology and culture. Therefore, with value realization being contingent on the integration of digital technologies, as the growth of digital adoption accelerates across all industries, we can anticipate that those who neglect the value of an effective digital strategy risk being ‘washed out’ by new entrants that disrupt the marketplace with their advanced business models.

In understanding this, norbrik offers specialized strategy development in line with organizational needs, objectives and structure, helping businesses remain competitive and experience top-line growth amidst the disruption.

By digitalizing data, applications and processes, assessing the existing technical infrastructure, and aligning the technology and application services to the business goals and missions, norbrik ensures seamless digital integration into your business and its operations.

So, how does this relate to Office 365?

With advanced new technologies transforming the nature of competition, norbrik leverages the promise of Office applications to help businesses achieve digital maturity and compete effectively within their markets. In operating on such applications, norbrik works to deliver personalized strategies by finding opportunities to digitalize, consolidate, optimize and automate both organizational data, processes, applications and infrastructure.

Through the immense capabilities of Microsoft Flow, PowerBI, Dynamics 365, SharePoint, Teams, and many others, our team offers a range of on-premise and in-the-cloud solutions, with strategy development focused on supporting your customers, employees, services, operations in the long haul.

Data Management and Analytics

As we immerse into the Information Age, data has become a widespread commodity, providing both incumbents and disruptors with enormous opportunity to lead the marketplace. However, given the fragmented, incomplete, and unstructured nature of siloed data, we are now seeing a rising demand for integrated analytics technologies that promotes data-driven insights and enhance the decision-making capabilities of corporate institutions.

Offering some of the most intelligent applications in support of analytics and data management, Office 365 empowers executives with data aggregation, advanced analytics, and data visualization tools, leading businesses into rapid transformation. In doing so, organizations are equipped with enormous potential to unlock hidden insights and uncover process inefficiencies and opportunities.

To support businesses on their quest for greater operational effectiveness, norbrik offers data management and analytics capabilities, utilizing Office applications and Microsoft technologies to help organizations compete and gain actionable insights.

Through applications such as PowerBI, Flow, PowerApps, Excel and Microsoft Reporting Services, norbrik delivers interactive operational reports, analytics solutions, live dashboards, and data management solutions for highly effective organizational operations. Relying on an approach focused on high-level collaboration between clients and consultants, these solutions are extensively driven by the capabilities and offerings of Microsoft technologies and Office applications, with a range of tools employed to understand, validate, verify, model and interpret data.

Business Applications

With every organization hosting a unique value proposition, business applications play a fundamental role in delivering tailored value. As the operational needs of organizations begin to vastly differ, the value of developing or acquiring applications that support the specific needs of business functions can be highly favorable in driving organizational productivity and operations.

While we previously saw a preference for packaged, off-the-shelf software solutions, as organizational processes become increasingly complex and specialized, the opportunities of custom business applications are being widely recognized.

To deliver these capabilities, norbrik uses the competencies of Office 365 cloud services and Microsoft Azure to develop web-, mobile-, and custom-based applications. Through the capabilities of Microsoft Flow, PowerApps, PowerBI, SharePoint, Teams and OneDrive, our consultants deliver solutions of profound intelligence, connecting them to end-to-end business processes.

With Office 365 equipping Microsoft users with innovative and intuitive instruments, norbrik leverages this platform to create tailored offerings with powerful integrations, connectivity and functionalities.

Productivity

Playing a fundamental role in driving value, businesses are constantly looking for productivity solutions that a) enhance collaboration and b) generate the greatest outputs from the smallest inputs. As the efficiency needs of modern enterprises grow, there becomes a greater demand for high availability, mobility and scalability of productivity toolsets.

The Office 365 suite offers a range of business productivity applications and tools that enable extensive collaboration via secure content sharing, group email, instant messaging and social network provisions. By leveraging the promise of cloud, this complete productivity suite provides remote access, mobility and availability on a large-scale spectrum, offering businesses a platform to foster greater organizational and inter-departmental collaboration.

With productivity directly associated with increasing profitability and satisfaction, Microsoft’s proposition for Office 365 demonstrates a potential for executives to lead their businesses into new levels of operational efficiency and innovative practices.

Providing services in the area of productivity, norbrik leverages these in-the-cloud offerings to deliver on a range of content sharing solutions, intranet packages, workspaces, and instant messaging capabilities. In a bid to reduce the average cycle time, norbrik operates on the competences of SharePoint, PowerBI, Flow, PowerApps, Teams, and OneDrive, among many others, to provide highly connected and collaborative solutions.

For more information on our services and capabilities, please contact us at info@norbrik.com.

 

How norbrik’s Business Process (BP) Forms for SharePoint Can Help Optimize Your Business Processes

As organizations shift gear towards increased agility, process automation, and mobility, the need for operational efficiency has become extensively pervasive in today’s corporate environment. Optimization goes beyond the act of simply purchasing a suite of tools or software. Rather, it involves understanding complex business processes, recognizing opportunities for waste reduction and efficient resource utilization.

While a vast majority of companies claim to be pursuing growth and business process optimization, the complexity of tools out in today’s market have made it wildly difficult to achieve optimal outcomes. Even simple business processes are deemed too costly to automate. Yes, while these tools may be embedded with powerful capabilities, deploying automation often requires rigorous training and capital.

Although business process management suites provide immense opportunity for advanced integration and workflow management, organizations typically only require a subset of the features offered to solve their business process issues.

On one hand, companies are investing in entire suites while only using a fraction of what is purchased. On the other hand, in a bid to gain their money’s worth, businesses are overcompensating by focusing on a single complex process that consumes most resources and budget.

The consequence?

Too much time dedicated to one complex process that leads to many lessons learned but yields lesser value than originally expected.

So, this fuels the question: Why are companies spending so much money on BPA and BPM packages they know aren’t providing complete economic and organizational value?

The answer lies in the fact that there are currently very limited tools that offer what norbrik is now offering.

norbrik’s Business Process (BP) Forms for SharePoint, which operates on the Office 365 suite, utilizes a uniquely customized toolset that offers highly configurable support for most common business processes today. By designing a precisely targeted set of tools, these forms have been developed with configurable dependencies in order to combat the unique intricacies of standard business processes.

Here’s how norbrik’s BP Forms can help optimize your business processes:

Improve productivity and performance through accelerated approval process

In an era of ubiquitous digitalization, the implications of manual documents can almost be detrimental to organizational productivity and performance. Why? Because time is money. Businesses are continually seeking new or improved ways to increase productivity while simultaneously minimizing time.

With norbrik’s BP Forms, companies are able to expedite their digital workflows. This intuitive tool is integrated with inbuilt email alerts and document processing dashboards, which seeks to enhance productivity and performance through process monitoring. With the automatic generation of email notifications, businesses can expect to decrease the time between document distribution and document completion, thereby accelerating the approval process.

While some businesses may be stuck with a sequential flow to document approval, this tool offers parallel approach for efficiency.

Improve workflows through operational reliability and stability

It’s a fact that every organization has business processes. And every business process contains a demanding set of forms and documents, which go through multiple levels of approval. Manual processes are inherently error-prone and encourage redundant workflows with steps often inadvertently missed or answered in incorrect formats. This is essentially why businesses are moving towards greater automation.

So, how can norbrik help?

By allowing process owners to stipulate clear guidelines and parameters, norbrik’s BP Forms are remarkably designed to support the document approval process. With the instilment of dependencies, this tool can optimize your business processes by embedding a level of control to ensure forms meet the established protocols and standards.

In eradicating the risk of noncompliance, norbrik seeks to deliver a degree of robustness, supporting managers and executives in their quest for information reliability, integrity and accuracy.

Opportunity for continuous process improvement

What differentiates norbrik’s BP Forms from other instruments in the market?

Well, it’s the ability to engage in continuous process refinement through accumulated knowledge application.  This tool offers process owners the opportunity to effortlessly reconfigure business processes, with aggregated knowledge and insights being easily applied to templates.

Here’s how it works:

At the end of each process, templates are stored in a BP Forms repository for feedback and future reference. Managers are able to apply learnings from these processes and easily reconfigure templates to minimize inefficient or meaningless activities. By frequently accessing, analyzing and refining forms, organizations can overcome the deficiencies and drawbacks of prior processes and thereby continually strive towards process optimization.

Reduce overheads and labor costs

In the long term, process automation, decreased overheads and labour costs go hand in hand. By offering a tool customized to the most common business processes, norbrik’s BP forms can help firms decrease expenditure while simultaneously increasing process efficiency and value. By minimizing the margin of error and eradicating the need to purchase complete suites that often render useless, this tool can save your company both money and labour efforts.

Want to know more about our BP Forms? Email us at info@norbrik.com.

Here’s Why You Should Migrate Your Documents to Office 365

Document access is key to being a productive organisation. No matter what the location, staff should be able to access company resources and they need to be able to do that on a variety of mobile or static devices.

True, organisations have their own servers, and staff can log in to access data and files in the office. But that’s not the same as being truly mobile and reliable. Then there’s the risk of a virus attack or the office server breaking down. Scheduling backups, virus renewal, maintenance, storage capacity, IT repair fees – taking responsibility for your own servers takes up time and energy.

The answer to this question of convenience and mobility is the cloud, where files are stored online and accessed by anyone with an internet connection and a password.

Office 365 is a Microsoft cloud-based business productivity suite that includes many applications. One of these is file sharing, through SharePoint. SharePoint can store organisational resources, team resources, or individual documents.

Here are a number of reasons you should make the move to Office 365 in 2018.

Programs and data stored in the cloud

One of the biggest gains for mobility with Office 365 is that no one in your team needs to have a program or app stored on their device. This means no cumbersome program downloads, purchasing individual registrations or update installations.

Instead, the tools everyone needs – Word, Excel, PowerPoint – are accessed via the cloud. So if a staff member is on holiday and needs to find a document urgently, they can open their iPad and access the file because OneDrive and Word are right there in the Office 365 cloud.

It’s as if every internet enabled device you pick up has magically got exactly what you need on it.

Safety in the cloud with Office 365

Cloud services, like those Microsoft uses for Office 365, typically store at least three copies of each piece of data in different places. This means all three copies would need to disappear at exactly the same moment to lose that data, which is near impossible.

In addition, the companies that operate cloud services have access to better encryption than any office-based server system could install. It’s like the difference between your home’s security and a bank’s – the big data organisations can afford to do it better.

And if all you and your team needs is an internet connection to access documents from any device, there’s no reason to back up work on a USB drive and carry it around. With cloud-based storage, the internet itself becomes a giant USB drive for your data. Wherever you and your team members are, the data’s there too.

Location and storage

With Microsoft SharePoint on Office 365, you can store, organise, share, and access information from any device with an internet connection. SharePoint takes over the role of the old file server in your office, and adds collaborative functions.

One problem with a server-based file system is that everyone has their own idea of where files should go. Someone might decide to file client documents under surnames, someone else does it by company name, another chooses location.

While you can also use OneDrive for file storage, it lacks the collaborative tools of SharePoint. That might not be an issue if all you want to do is store files securely on the internet.

Office 365 indexes files with a powerful search engine that provides search capability across entire Office 365 suite of products or a targeted lower level search. Finding documents is enhanced by metadata that can be used to filter results.

Versioning and file recovery

Sometimes many people have access to a document or spreadsheet and update it at random intervals. How do you know if you are looking at the latest version? Office 365 comes with document management features such as version control and recycle bin recovery.

Users can update a document without having to worry about overwriting and losing someone else’s update or previous version. The previous version of documents can easily be retrieved and restored.

Document users tend to keep a copy of the document within their area, leaving multiple copies of the same document on the office server. Office 365 can track these so that you always know which version you are using.

Check in and check out with office 365

If you want to make changes to a file on a site and you want to make sure no one else can edit it, you can ‘check out’ the file, as you might check a book out of a library. While you have the file checked out, you can edit it online or offline, then check it back in when you are done.

On the other hand, because everyone can see the same document online, Microsoft 365 makes collaboration easy. If one viewer edits then updates a doc, everyone logged in to Office 365’s program can see that change immediately.

There’s no need to make duplicate versions of the document and disperse them to the team, which leads to confusion.

Working with Microsoft ‘Teams’

Apart from SharePoint, another collaborative application of Office 365 is Teams. When you migrate to Office 365, you can use Teams to form working groups, then stay connected to your teammates with chat, calls and meetings within your team and in private or small group conversations.

Schedule and join online Skype meetings with HD video, VoIP, and dial-in audio conferencing options. Share your files, apps or desktop in online meetings and review the important moments later with transcriptions of recorded content.

Migrate your data in batches

When you migrate files to Office 365’s OneDrive or SharePoint, you can set the number of concurrent migration batches by using SharePoint Online PowerShell or third-party migration tools.

This means batches of files can be sent across to Office 365 as you need them, rather than all at once. Why is this useful? Because if all your organisation’s files are in transit at once, staff will have to wait until the entire process is complete.

By migrating in concurrent batches, the go-ahead can be given to access certain files once they have safely migrated. Meanwhile, staff can access those files still left on the old office server awaiting transfer.

Say goodbye to the server

Which prompts the question: What do you do with that old file server? Well, it’s not needed anymore, so the existing server can be re-purposed or retired. It won’t be long before it’s forgotten and your entire organisation will have adapted to working online with Office 365.

So, make 2018 the year to go online with Office 365. Files are critical to any organisation, and it pays to thoroughly prepare and have a good understanding of your existing content, a fit-for-purpose structure and design on Office 365, a pragmatic migration plan, a training plan, and a good governance plan.

This all might sound a bit too challenging, but not to us! Norbrik has helped many organisations make a smooth transition to Office 365.  Speak to us about a complimentary workshop to discuss your situation and how our File Share to Office 365 Migration Package can get you up and running on Office 365.

 

How an Intranet Can Make Your Organisation Stronger

How an Intranet Can Make Your Organisation Stronger

An intranet keeps members of an organisation informed. What they need to be informed about is up to them – and that’s the beauty of an intranet. A well-designed intranet makes members of an organisation self-sufficient by giving them access to data that helps them do their jobs better.

But an intranet is more than just a place where people read company announcements. It’s also a knowledge hub, where people find tools and best practices, learn, find people, explore new ideas and form new relationships.

In this post we’ll look at the advantages an intranet brings, and how to keep it dynamic over time. But first, let’s talk about what should an intranet have.

What should an intranet have?

Intranet has come a long way from its early days of simple HTML pages with announcements. Today, it is part of a broader social networking system. A common mistake made when starting with intranet is to want it to do everything and lose sight of what is important for your organisation. So it’s important when starting out to define what you need the intranet to do. For example:

  • I want to find latest news and events within the organisation;
  • I want a place to easily locate policies, procedures, forms and templates relevant to me;
  • I want to be able to perform searches across all information sources, both inside and outside the intranet;
  • I want to be able to collaborate with my team to work on projects and activities;
  • I want to be able to submit and discuss ideas and innovations;
  • I want to be able to share information and be notified, like on Facebook.

The list above requires many different technological concepts to deliver the intranet capabilities desired. It includes web content management, search engines, collaboration networks, document management and enterprise social networking.

Depending on your users and budget, it could make sense to leave out collaboration and enterprise social networking in the first stage of roll out.

Good command of the technological concepts is needed to plan, design, build/configure, roll out, training, and for governance.

Lack of experience could make your implementation a costly learning exercise. Expert consultation from the early planning stage will save time and money.

How an intranet can benefit your business

The intranet should ultimately be adding value to the business, just like everything else a business does. If the value to business is not measurable, we should ask ourselves why we are doing it.

Below are key metric areas that can be used to measure an intranet’s business value.

Savings. How much time have we saved? Time saved on waiting for other people to provide information. Time saved in searching for information.

Efficiency. Is more new business generated from being proactive and quick to respond? An intranet should eliminate or minimise risks, because response times are faster and staff can be more proactive. Users can collect and report on data and improve processes more easily.

Knowledge retention. The intranet should store knowledge that is independent of people or teams, knowledge that stays with the organisation when people move on. Opportunities are created by having this knowledge available to everyone.

Innovation. People will have more time to explore innovative ideas, thanks to the time savings an intranet delivers. Opportunities are created by innovative thinking.

Reinvigorating your organisation via intranet

An intranet links members within an organisation; often it’s the browser default homepage, seen by everyone when they log in to the net. Although seen by everyone, content is produced by a team, often from HR, Marketing, or Corporate Communications.

If the intranet is to be a way for people to find out about their organisation, it must be representative of the real-life problems an organisation faces, as well as its achievements.

You need regular feedback on the intranet, especially at the start. Is it making a difference to employees’ lives? Is its style too formal? Too casual? Is it addressing issues or candy-coating them?

Intranets take us beyond email newsletters

A company may store its media kit online in the intranet, its HR policies and frequently used document templates. No one should be using an out of date letterhead when they have access to the intranet.

Multiple employees can access the same digital reference databases through the intranet, as well as exchanging internal emails and messaging.

Meeting times can be reduced with the intranet since issues can be resolved in an intranet discussion group. Successful project workflows can be recorded to be used again for future projects.

Then there’s the social side of things: birthdays, barbecues and lunchtime soccer fixtures can be added to the intranet.

Sustaining interest in the intranet

To sustain interest in the intranet, senior management have to buy in. It must be regarded as a touchstone for the company’s policies, projects and reference data.

Encourage senior management to communicate announcements through the intranet so that it becomes ‘required reading’ for all staff.

Employees stop using an intranet if it’s hard to use or when data and information are out of date. If it doesn’t help staff do their jobs, they will revert to the old ways of working.

To highlight the intranet’s possibilities, ask staff to work through a model project. Have someone well-versed in the system to guide them through, ensuring that they use all the features from the start: calendars, chat, document searches, group discussions.

Taking the first step to your intranet

Perhaps this has inspired you to search out the possibilities of an intranet for your business, one tailored to suit your industry or profession. If so, the norbrik Intranet Package comes with pre-developed components for cost and time savings.

Based on the new, improved SharePoint platform, the norbrik template can incorporate your branding and comes with knowledge transfer and user guides. A built-in Calendar flags key company events and project deadlines.

norbrik’s Intranet Package is the most elegant way to coordinate your staff and, most importantly, keep them informed. After all, the key to good business decisions is communication.