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Microsoft Digital Advisory Services

In the digital era, every insurance policy, every car, every refrigerator, every factory floor have components that are purely digital. Every company’s and organization’s future depends on how they embrace digital technologies to create new value. To see your company through the lens of digital is to see business opportunity differently. You are a digital business. 


To succeed in the digital era, organizations turn to Microsoft Digital Advisory Services. Our Digital Advisors bring their expertise, as well as Microsoft’s resources, experience and innovation, to empower organizations to reach their digital aspirations. We partner to drive a program of change to build our customers’ digital business.

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Culture creates acceleration on Nedbank's Digital Fast Lane

Rochelle Mountany

Rochelle shares her experiences working with team Nedbank to reimagine Wealth Management services.

Culture creates acceleration on Nedbank’s Digital Fast Lane

As highlighted in Satya’s new book, “Hit Refresh,” culture is the key to digital success. Technology is necessary but won’t make up for a culture resistant to trying new things.

I have observed this while working with Nedbank, one of the largest Financial Services companies in South Africa, over the past two years. Nedbank has been a forward-thinking organization for a long time. A few years ago, together with Microsoft, Nedbank took its first steps to reimagine the customer experience when it rolled out the Branch of the Future. That project enabled them to meet three goals – increase retention, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce their carbon footprint.

Nedbank didn’t stop there. With an organizational culture that supports continuous exploration of new ideas in Financial Services, the company has created a programmatic approach dubbed the “Digital Fast Lane.” The Chief Digital Officer leads Nedbank’s Digital Fast Lane, which fast-tracks innovation projects to succeed and double down, or fail fast.

As the Microsoft Digital Advisor to Nedbank, I have worked with them on driving a program of change to build their digital business.

Most recently, the team took the Digital Fast Lane to generate ideas and reimagine client interactions at Wealth Management Services within Nedgroup Investments. The idea was to focus on one specific area to prove out a capability. Wealth management requires balancing the expectations of high net worth individuals, who at times want high-touch service but also need their questions answered quickly and efficiently when the need arises. The team created Eva, the Nedgroup Investments bot, to answer wealth management customer questions such as how to move money into or out of an account. By providing multiple channels, Nedbank meets the clients where they are, putting their convenience first.

I’m very proud to be a highway engineer on the Nedbank Digital Fast Lane team, directly helping this Financial Services leader set itself up for Digital Transformation success – in the Branch of the Future, Wealth management, and beyond.

For more details on this project, you can read the Nedbank Wealth Management case study:

When your goal is to be the most livable city in the world

Mark Butterworth

Learn how Mark works with Auckland Transport to propel the city to reach its goal of “Most Livable City,” in the face of a population doubling in 25 years.

What does it mean to be the most livable city?

What does it mean to be the most livable city? For Auckland, New Zealand – where I live and work – our aspiration is that residents and visitors can get anywhere, easily and predictably, even as 800 additional cars drive onto its roads every week.

I am Mark Butterworth, and I work at Microsoft New Zealand in Digital Advisory Services.

For Auckland, meeting increasing demands is no small feat. Auckland’s current population of 1.5m could double in 25 years. To meet the demands this will make on the city, Auckland Transport needs to lead innovation in the digital world, and it is achieving this goal through several initiatives. Two of the initiatives are customer engagement and congestion management.

Auckland Transport are undertaking significant projects within the city that impact everybody that lives in and around Auckland – not only customers. @AucklandTransport has systems in place so that they can respond effectively to real time events happening in Social Media, and manage feedback that comes through satisfaction surveys. With a single view of customer, Auckland Transport can respond in a personalized way and provide integrated access to different transport services such as parking, permits and public transport cards. Auckland Transport are making significant inroads into improved customer engagement, and have experienced a dramatic increase in their speed to market for new digital services.

While Auckland Transport delivers 83 million public transport trips per year, it also sees room for improvement since the number of new cars on the road per week is outstripping the growth of residents in Auckland. 78% of all commuters travel by car, 95% without passengers.  Lastly, as the number of cars increases, 30%+ of congestion gets created by drivers looking for parking.

The future of congestion management for Auckland Transport lies in reducing wait times for public transport to optimize the throughput, predictability, and total travel time for public transport passengers. Using IoT data, along with routes, traffic lights and intersections, Auckland Transport can identify and resolve congestion-causing events in the city quickly.

As the Digital Advisor for Auckland Transport, one of the aspects that I’ve seen make the biggest difference to its digital transformation is increasing agility. The organization is using fail-fast methods, which is helping it reach its goals faster. They are also training and empowering their staff to grow into the cloud-based service model. They are building the capabilities in-house to lead innovation.

Stay connected with Auckland Transport projects by visiting their Facebook or Twitter pages. Or better yet, come visit Auckland and experience what we think will win the “most livable city” in the near future.

To learn more, watch this video:

The seven elements of successful digital transformation

Anya Minbiole

Anya from the Digital Advisory Services team shares a few common characteristics of successful digital transformation engagements.

“What got you here, won’t get you there” – has never been truer for companies.

By now, all of us are customers of, or employees of, companies that have embraced digital transformation. These companies have decided to define their businesses by what is possible, instead of what has made them successful in the past.

I’m Anya Minbiole, and I run programs supporting Digital Advisors. I am inspired every day by stories of Digital Transformation, but when I describe it to others, I realize there are often large differences in what that means to different people. What is Digital Transformation for me? One convenient way to think about it for a company is to ask, “What if 20% of our revenue in 2020 had to come from products and services that don’t exist today?” A public sector entity may ask themselves “What if 20% of our budget had to be spent to support citizen services we don’t offer today?”

When I look over the projects that our Digital Advisors have led with organizations this year, I see some patterns in their success stories, including:

#1 – Successful teams think big
Open up your mind, question your assumptions, visualize your idea of the future, and start your planning from there. It can take days to really place yourself in your vision of the future, and groups can fall short of “re-imagining” when they don’t think far enough ahead.

#2 – Success comes when bold thoughts lead to concrete action
Once you envision the future, be it 10, 20, 50, maybe even 100 years ahead, there is a cliff looming in front of you. A strong vision paired with an actionable plan is a key to success. Our team in India collaborated with Amway India to envision, then create, a real brick-and-mortar store.

#3 – A fingerprint is not a Touch ID
When you work on a transformation of a customer, product or employee experience, don’t lose sight of your audience’s perspective. Some projects miss the mark when they de-emphasize human experience design. As an example, my friend bought a digital scale the other day that – as an option – doesn’t display your weight. Instead, once you define your ideal weight or goal, it displays how far you are from your goal. The scale eliminates the mental math that has followed most weigh-ins since time immemorial. This example illustrates how even existing technology can power new experiences that delight customers. Are you putting enough focus on user experience design? At the end of the day it’s not about technology – whether existing, or cutting edge – it is about what effect it will have on its users. Focus on creating cutting-edge human experiences.

#4 – Plan and celebrate quick wins
Wins inspire a team’s confidence, and reduce some of the pressure that groups can feel when they’re given the responsibility of innovating. Place small bets that move you towards your vision of the future – not to be confused with incremental improvements. Fail fast and experiment, and uncover the next billion-dollar idea. An example of this is the Human Telemetry project led by one of our Digital Advisors in Italy, which experienced a series of successes that support the team’s much larger plan for the future.

#5 – Nurture and build the capability in house
You might be surprised to hear this from a vendor, but the best success comes when you can develop the in-house capability to think forward, evolve ideas, fail fast or double down, and move on. Successful companies nurture the group by isolating them from the bureaucracy that can riddle large organizations. Then, nurture the capability within an organization by ensuring it is not subject to traditional measures of success. Part of Beckton-Dickinson’s success has been ensuring the organization infused innovation into its DNA to continuously advance its goals.

#6 – Think broadly about the human supply chain
The smartest people on the planet for our particular projects are probably not working at our companies. Now, more than ever, we must find experts that can air-drop in to support our projects. We can also find incredible talent at all parts of our organizations – so look high, look low, and look outside for just-in-time insights.

#7 – Think like a disruptor
Remember that your competitors aren’t asking for permission to encroach upon your business. Think about your company as if you’re starting from scratch – what would you do if you wanted to compete with your own organization?

Read the full blog:

Microsoft Digital Approach

DREAM:  Imagine and envision your Digital Transformation journey. Your Book of Dreams.
DESIGN: Recruit and form your Digital Transformation team to create roadmaps for the journey ahead.
DELIVER:  Bring your Book of Dreams to reality as you continuously dream, design and deliver. 

Digital has increased the speed, and changed the way, in which companies build and reinvent themselves. To remain relevant in the next decade, you need an organizational structure with a digital culture at its core, a digital platform, and a digital approach to innovation.


The Microsoft Digital Approach to innovation gets results. We bring the commitment and competency to institutionalize the digital culture and digital platform on which you’ll generate new revenue streams and thrive. Microsoft Digital Advisors help you and your team dream and envision your desired future, consider value and alternatives, and prioritize them. As we design, we create a joint team and refine the ideas, identify dependencies, and eliminate roadblocks. The team then continuously delivers innovation as this process, supported by the culture and platform, goes from its first success to an embedded, systemic approach.


For more information, contact your Microsoft Enterprise Services Account Representative. 

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