A brief illustrated history of cross-government collaboration in Microsoft 365

From: Technology in government
Published: Tue Feb 20 2024

The Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) is passionate about improving user experience and recognises that external collaboration is key to enabling the Civil Service to run efficiently and effectively. CDDO, NCSC and several government departments partnered with Microsoft to produce guidance that enables those government departments who use Microsoft 365 to seamlessly work together delivering better outcomes for their users and the people they serve.

In this captivating comic, you can follow the story of Anna and John, working at the Department of Government decades apart. Discover how configuring digital tools, such as instant messaging, free/busy calendar availability and live document co-editing, enables better collaboration and creates a more positive user experience.

View the comic in a larger format - a brief illustrated history of cross-government collaboration in Microsoft 365.

Comic strip 1 is set in 1983, depicting animations of a personal assistant to a senior civil servant being asked to organise a meeting with heads of other departments in 1983. It also shows the personal assistant making phone calls to multiple private offices to look for availability.

Comic strip 2 is still set in 1983, shows the same personal assistant making multiple phone calls to gather availability for a cross-departmental meeting until late afternoon; the personal assistant also realises to have some numbers wrong so they decide to visit some heads of departments' private offices in person.

Comic strip 3 continues to show the same personal assistant in 1983 confirming a meeting time to her senior, who unfortunately is not available. The personal assistant is hence frustrated as they need to contact all the private offices again to arrange an alternative timeslot.

Comic strip 4 fast forwards to 2018, showing a personal assistant arranging a cross-departmental meeting: they cannot see the live calendar availability across government hence they need to arrange it via email and send several ping-pong messages to find a suitable time-slot. It also shows the personal assistant calling another private office over the phone as their email was unanswered.

Comic strip 5 continues in 2018 showing the same personal assistant a few days later confirming the meeting details. They look frustrated by the delay and wonder if returning to contacting private offices over the phone would be more effective.

Comic strip 6 is today in 2024 showing a personal assistant of a senior civil servant booking a cross-departmental meeting by looking at real time calendar availability online: they instantaneously find a suitable slot and move on to other meaningful tasks.

The comic ends with a superhero in cape looking out at the skyline.

Be a part of our story! Read the full Microsoft 365 Guidance for UK Government: External Collaboration (opens externally) and connect with the dedicated OneIT team at oneit@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk for tailored support and clarifications.

Company: Technology in government

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