NATS Case Study

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  • Significant operational cost savings
  • 4,500 team members connected through new digital workplace
  • Hundreds of hours of time freed up

NATS saw their internal operations transformed – moving from an outdated, clunky system to a modern digital workplace – resulting in significant time and cost savings across the organisation.

Our specialists provided a full digital solution to empower NATS staff through improved workflows, easier access to the crucial information they required, and a seamless way of working.

The Landscape of NATS

NATS may not be a name you instantly recognise, but they’re a vital organisation in the UK. As the largest provider of UK air navigation services – handling 2.5 million flights (and 250 million passengers) in and out of the UK every year – NATS plays a pivotal role in keeping the UK airspace running smoothly and safely.

The 4,500-strong NATS team includes a significant amount of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) and Air Traffic Control Engineers who are responsible for looking after the airspace surrounding the UK before and after aeroplanes are in the airports’ airspace. The NATS team has also had considerable impact on the environment through reducing CO2 emissions by over 55,000 tonnes annually through innovative airspace design.

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The challenge facing NATS

While NATS are used to cutting-edge technology to control the skies above us, their internal systems were lacking the same pioneering approach – instead working with outdated and cumbersome technology. This caused numerous issues for staff, including limiting their ability to perform their roles and day-to-day tasks productively.

The current NATS intranet was built on a SharePoint system over a decade old and staff were working on virtual desktops using the old Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. The problems with all this were endless; search functions didn’t work, pages were not mobile responsive, content was duplicated, load times were slow, staff were locked out of files if colleagues were using them.

Simply put, digital has changed a huge amount over the last 10 years, so working with such old technology was just not compatible with the demands of modern working. This was demonstrated further as the operating system was also not adaptable to the cloud.

The challenge? To find a way to transform the NATS systems and processes into a streamlined, efficient digital workplace – while also ensuring they’re prepared for any way technology could advance in coming years too.


Our solution for NATS

We worked closely with NATS to understand the full extent of their current challenges and explore what their teams needed from a system.

To enable their teams to work effectively, NATS needed an intuitive solution that would allow staff at all levels to collaborate with one another, source the correct information when they need it, and could also be accessed from mobile devices.

To create a solution tailored to NATS individual requirements, we broke it down into different stages:

  • We collaborated with stakeholders across the organisation to develop a solution that would deliver in all the right areas. From here we developed and implemented a fully strategy (including training plans and materials) to help users understand what they’d be getting from their new digital workplace
  • NATS traditionally heavily relied on InfoPath within SharePoint to customise forms and bring together different data sources. However, Microsoft announced InfoPath would be phased out by 2023. Taking a proactive approach, we worked with NATS to move away from InfoPath and instead embrace the newer technology of Power Apps with Power Automate, while also leveraging Microsoft Forms
  • The next step was to transition NATS’ intranet from SharePoint 2010 across to a Unily based platform. With over 27,000 pages of content, this presented an opportunity to analyse which pages were used most, remove duplicated pages, reorganise page structures, and also implement content tags to make information easier to locate

Where NATS’ teams had previously experienced disjointed ways of working, inconsistent communication, and an inability to find the right information at the right time, they’re now able to put their time to better use through a complete digital overhaul.

Teams across the entire organisation

can spend less time sifting through slow systems or irrelevant content, and can instead complete tasks quicker, easily collaborate, and work far more productively on a day-to-day basis.

Through smoother internal systems in place – and improved workflows and processes – NATS has gained significant operational cost savings alongside the increase in work efficiency.

How this helps NATS in the future

Fully embracing a digital transformation, NATS has seen most staff adapt to the new ways of working – with high rates of employee adoption for Windows 10, Microsoft 365, alongside the new Power Apps and Unily system.

Our support for NATS is on-going as we continue to guide them into the future and offer expertise in all digital areas – ranging from web part migration to modern hub sites.

As technology continues to evolve, NATS can feel confident their new systems are able to handle any upcoming demands of the modern workplace and will be adaptable for whatever challenges may lie ahead.

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