Defence O365: A Beyond 2020 Success Story

June 16, 2020 – Defence Stories

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for implementing innovative IT solutions within the Department of National Defence and across the Government of Canada, demonstrating just how much we rely on our IM/IT systems to fulfill our mandate.

Since mid-March, much of the Defence Team has been granted accounts for Defence O365 to enable remote work and reduce the strain on the Defence network. The success of the rollout of O365 demonstrates the capability of the Information Management (IM) Group, who are leading an IT transformation that will continue serving the department beyond this pandemic response period.

In line with Beyond 2020, this initiative has leveraged internal partnerships to develop cross-organizational engagement. Defence O365 is a collaborative, cloud-based tool that supports remote work by facilitating collaboration through chat and video meetings, co-authoring of documents, and access to familiar and new Microsoft tools. We’re equipping our people with an industry standard digital work tool, enabling personnel to experience a new and more digital way to work.

In collaboration with the IM Group, Assistant Deputy Minister (Data, Innovation, Analytics) (ADM(DIA)) onboarded the entirety of its small staff to Defence O365 under a pilot within 48 hours of the Deputy Minister’s direction to DND employees to remain home. Following this early success, IM Group has continued supporting onboarding across the department, and with the assistance of ADM(DIA), has set up an O365 Power User Community to provide peer-to-peer support. This is an enormous undertaking for a department with such a large number of personnel, many of whom are dispersed across the country.

The dynamic and collaborative process between ADM(IM), ADM(DIA) and other DND/CAF organizations, demonstrates the value of close and collaborative working relationships. This initiative has shed light on the benefits of pooling talent to affect organizational change, and demonstrates the Defence Team’s ability to adapt quickly to fluid and uncertain circumstances. Going forward, the two organizations will continue to test and pilot various new digital technologies that will enable the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces to thrive as an agile, inclusive and equipped workforce.

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