AIB extends its relationship with Microsoft to further develop a digitally inclusive and flexible cloud platform that empowers employees with new ways of working
There has been a seismic shift in employee expectations, with flexible working hours, a desire for a more positive work culture, and strong health and wellbeing policies all top of mind for employees. It’s clear that there is no appetite to revert to the pre-pandemic ways of working, and nor should there be.
It has now been two years since the ebbing and flowing of restrictions began and hybrid working was accelerated at scale. Now is the time for leaders to consolidate their learnings and implement the necessary tools and infrastructure to make remote and hybrid working a success this year and beyond.
AIB Group Director of Enterprise Technology and Cloud Engineering Graham Fagan highlights the bank’s journey to becoming a cloud-enabled organisation with a long-term view of technology and a clear perspective on the end user capabilities and requirements. Also vital are the right partners as the cornerstone of successfully enabling employee collaboration, and a seamless workplace experience.
He said: “Prior to the pandemic, we were already implementing an ambitious strategy to digitise our communication and collaboration capabilities that connect our employees across the business. Working with Microsoft, we were able to create a fully integrated cloud-based solution, bolstered by advanced security solutions in line with the regulatory environment. Microsoft also supported us with a widespread adoption and training programme that has been invaluable for our people in our digital transition.
“The results of this overall programme meant that we were in a strong position when the pandemic occurred, enabling us to scale our solutions across the business and keep employees connected from day one. However, at that time, AIB was not a major user of laptop technology, and we therefore quickly managed the rollout of over 8,000 Microsoft Surface devices, allowing employees to collaborate and connect remotely using Microsoft Teams. The biggest benefit is that having already had Microsoft cloud services in place, we had access to an integrated ecosystem, rather than having to work across a series of partners to create an eco-system that worked for us. This has enabled us to implement a range of smart solutions to deliver a frictionless user experience for staff.”
With a strong foundation in place, AIB is now focused on working with Microsoft to spearhead the use of technologies designed for a hybrid work environment, ones that bridge the digital and physical while ensuring every employee can engage and contribute, regardless of where, when, or how they’re working.
AIB’s Deputy Chief People Officer David McCormack highlights the strategic approach taken by AIB to deliver a best-in-class hybrid working model that enables inclusivity, well-being, and flexibility. He said: “When the majority of people moved to remote working at the onset of the pandemic, we could not have foreseen the changes it would bring to our ways of working. As we now navigate new ways of working, we are maintaining a hybrid working model that encompasses the benefits of remote working, while also giving employees the benefits of in-person time with their own teams and the wider organisation.
“AIB’s Future of Work programme, which has defined our hybrid model, encompasses three key areas – people, technology, and property. This integrated approach ensures we deliver a fully optimised hybrid work model aligned to our property strategy and footprint, enabled by best-in-class technologies and progressive people policies and principles.
“Competition for talent is increasing, and we must continually strive to differentiate our offering in the face of unprecedented levels of disruption in financial services. The new hybrid model brings opportunity to recruit a more diverse range of candidates not restricted by geography.
In order to deliver on this ambition into the future, AIB and Microsoft are working together to create a more integrated and collaborative work environment for employees. The evolvement of Teams and the future integration of capability such as Viva will help achieve this.
Microsoft Viva has been designed by Microsoft to help empower employees and deliver an improved experience in terms of how they engage, find knowledge, and learn. Additionally, enhancements to Microsoft Teams are making it easier and less distracting to establish a personal presence for those joining hybrid meetings from within a conference room. Being seen and heard is essential to an inclusive meeting environment, as is reliability, and such enhancements to the Teams platforms are crucial to providing this seamless experience.
Guiding AIB’s approach are the Four C Principles: Connection, Communication, Collaboration and Curation. From the ability to connect remotely and communicate both in person and virtually through an in-office Microsoft Teams experience, AIB is also focused on curating bespoke approaches for different teams based on their needs and interactions.
Graham continues: “From a technology perspective, culture is maintained across the business by keeping people connected to the bank, ensuring that collaboration is as rich and reliable as it can possibly be. Through our use of Microsoft Teams, we have strong connections across our hybrid working environment, either in-office or remote. And we’re excited about the added momentum Microsoft Viva can bring to employee collaboration, learning and well-being as we move forward.”
Learn more in Microsoft’s Hybrid Work: A Guide for Business Leaders