SES improves meeting culture with Viva Insights and Power BI

Global satellite operator SES wanted to transform its meeting culture with Viva Insights and Power BI. With Xylos’ expertise in Microsoft 365 and change management, SES developed a human-centric strategy that provided insightful data on work habits and enabled informed decisions.

The customer | SES

Have you watched any live events or sports games on TV lately? If so, it was probably  thanks to SES. Headquartered in Luxembourg and with offices in more than thirty other countries, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit satellite constellation. 

None of this would be possible without the efforts of its motivated employees in an efficient digital workplace. To achieve this, SES deployed Microsoft Viva Insights with the Workplace Analytics component a few years ago. It would allow SES to use workplace data to improve employee wellbeing.

The challenge | No more disruptive meeting culture

One of the key influencers of employee wellbeing that SES had been paying increasing attention to, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, was meeting culture. They understood that with Viva Insights they were on the right track – and with David Giles, Director of Programs, they had impressive change management and Viva expertise on board. However, there were some challenges they wanted help with.

First, SES needed to develop an airtight, compelling change management plan(powered by Viva Insights) to improve the meeting culture. One that would get particularly wary works councils in certain countries 100% on board.

Second, they wanted to ensure that complex data from Viva could be analyzed and visualized as accurately and effectively as possible with Power BI reports, to address important business questions.

In other words, they needed an IT provider with strong Microsoft 365 and change and adoption know-how. Through the recommendation of Microsoft Belux, they found Xylos.

The process | The virtues of human-centric IT

Getting the change management story straight

SES is a big believer in technology in service of people, both outside and inside the workplace. Therefore, it was important for the board and David Giles to provide a clear view on how the insights would serve employees. For example, to help understand works councils that the Viva journey was about wellbeing, not a performance monitoring effort.

The scope of the current Viva deployment deals with organizational insights. It analyzes meeting habits on a macro level. Xylos change consultants supported David Giles in preparing his presentation to the board and works councils by clearly spelling out what Viva Insights is, and what it can deliver.

Their input made it clear that Viva Insights, based on aggregated, de-identified data, provides objective answers to an organization’s questions about its own work habits. For example:

  • When do people work, collaborate with colleagues and meet – within and outside official work hours?
  • What are the time spans between collaboration moments?
  • What is the amount of fragmented work hours due to meetings?

The presentation input also clarified where exactly the data is stored and what types of access can be given to people in the organization to use this data appropriately and develop overall employee wellbeing.

Delivering with Viva and Power BI

A second aspect that brought  Xylos into the picture was the hands-on approach to workplace analytics. David was already quite happy with the reports generated by the standard Power BI dashboard. At the same time, he realized that he could go a step further with the help of a Power BI expert. He wanted to visualize insights that clearly answered pertinent business questions for SES’s corporate decision makers.

Xylos’ Senior Power BI Consultant, Frank Bastien showed David some of the basics of Power BI automation. In addition, Frank built very sophisticated reports that allowed David to test certain assumptions. But as David Gilestestified to Microsoft, it also helped him and SES to look beyond existing assumptions. They were deeply impressed by the richness of the first Power BI reports. The data they were collecting addressed important questions they hadn’t considered.

Why meeting-free Wednesdays work

Great insights lead to out-of-the-box thinking. One rather unusual initiative that was advocated by Xylos and which proved successful for SES was the introduction of meeting-free Wednesdays.

One observation from the Power BI data was that SES employees generally have fewer meetings on Wednesdays. From the perspective of making it easier for people to focus, Frank came up with the idea of meeting-free Wednesdays.

With Power BI, he and David were also able to accurately predict the impact it would have. As a result, the SES Director of Programs was able to ensure that the hours no longer spent in meetings on Wednesdays, would not trickle down to Thursdays or Tuesdays.

The result | Improved wellbeing and productivity

David isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. On the contrary, he has set himself the goal of giving 100,000 hours back to the company (per year). He is well on his way.

With the technical expertise and help of Xylos’ Power BI specialist, David is able to categorize meeting hours and track key metrics on workplace collaboration. Meeting culture and well-being scorecards show the breakdown of meeting and collaboration data by organizational department. This allows management to consider actions to take and guidance to provide, and has led to what can only be defined as a culture of empowerment.

For example, meeting-free Wednesdays have resulted in 60% of employees reporting improved well-being. 70% of employees also reported feeling more productive. The latter turns out to be more than a feeling. Data shows that meeting-free Wednesdays result in a gain of 2 hours per week… per person.

The SES case proves that Viva Insights is much more than a data tool. With the right change management approach and technical expertise, it is an absolute game changer. Xylos is extremely proud to have been part of the SES Viva journey so far.

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