Showing posts with label Lync. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lync. Show all posts

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Server Upgrade and Online Collaboration Speeds Patient Care in Malaysia Hospitals Columbia Asia

"Having a fast, reliable server platform has a direct impact on patient services. Doctors can assess, investigate and diagnose much faster because they have patient data instantly at the fingertips."
Yogessvaran Mohantas
Columbia Asia Sdn. Bhd.
Project Management Office, Team Lead

International private healthcare company, Columbia Asia, needs exceptional server and database infrastructure for its highly-advanced core hospital information system. In 2013, they redeployed this core system using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and helped medical staff share system data more easily and securely with Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based email and video conferencing. Now, medical consultations, specialist discussions and patient treatments all happen faster.

“It used to take two minutes to create patient files: now it takes only few seconds.”
Yogessvaran Mohantas
Columbia Asia Sdn. Bhd.
Project Management Office, Team Lead

Business Needs
Hospitals all over the world want to integrate health and management systems, so they can improve patient services and accelerate decision-making. The challenges are huge, however. Integrated health systems need server operating systems and databases that are not just fast, but exceptionally reliable. Clinical staffs need instant access to patient data and the ability to rapidly and securely collaborate with medical and administrative staff – wherever they are.
Columbia Asia, which is based in Malaysia, has a particularly acute need for robust infrastructure. The company has a single, central, custom-built hospital information system called Care21, which manages patients, operating theatres, staff scheduling, finance and all medical records emphasizing on constricted data security systems. As Care21 is used by virtually all staff members, performance is absolutely critical.
Care21 was originally deployed on Windows Server 2003, with Microsoft SQL Server 2005 for the databases. However, as patient numbers grew, so did the complications. “Doctors were scanning more CT scans and MRIs onto patient records, while administrative staff demanded greater visibility and more detailed reports,” says Thavaseelan Kanasan, IT Infrastructure Executive. “As a result, applications became slow and patients experienced delay.”
At the same time, IT managers needed to minimise the disruption caused by IT maintenance and upgrades. “Disaster recovery took too long and monthly back-end maintenance became very difficult because we had to ask staff to revert to manual processes,” says Seelan. “And if we needed to take our Active Director Identity management offline, access was temporarily impossible.”
For clinical staff, improving communication and collaboration was a top priority. Doctors and other medical staff wanted the ability to access their email from anywhere and securely back up files they kept on their laptops. They also wanted desktop video conferencing and the ability to share CT scan images with consultants, so they could improve clinical collaboration and speed up decision-making.
Most important of all, executives wanted to minimise risk. “We backed up hospital data, including email, every day, but the operation took 30 minutes and we could theoretically lose a whole day of data,” says Mr. Giri, Database Administrator, Columbia Asia. “Care21 was capable of doing amazing things and our staff loved it but we had to make it easier for them to manage and help medical staff maximize the usage of it.

“Managers can focus on operations because applications are more reliable...”
Thavaseelan Kanasan
Columbia Asia Sdn. Bhd.
IT Infrastructure Executive


In early 2013, Columbia Asia executives decided to upgrade the server operating systems and databases at 10 hospitals and deploy new cloud-based collaboration tools.
With the help of Malaysian systems integrator., Columbia Asia tested Care21 on a new platform comprising Windows Server 2012 R2 with Hyper-V and Microsoft SQL Server 2012. Besides improved performance, this also means the company could migrate virtual machines live onto different clusters and replicate the live environment in two to three minutes.
New features in SQL Server 2012 also allowed the hospital to improve data backup and free up databases for more detailed and widespread analysis and reporting. “The AlwaysOn feature means I can permanently synchronise each hospital database. Consequently, the maximum amount of data lost is only 0.001% of daily inputs,” says Vijayaraghavan Yedhugirinath, Database Administrator.
Working with systems integrator, Columbia Asia deployed Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 in a succession of ultra-fast deployments. Deployments took just 10 weeks in each hospital, followed by two weeks of testing. “There were no delays and no postponements—it was a very impressive performance,” says Seelan. “Everything went according to plan despite a tight timeline.”
In addition, Columbia Asia began replacing staff members’ on-premises email with the cloud-based Microsoft suite; Office 365. Besides Outlook email which staff can access from any connected device, this includes SkyDrive file storage, so they can easily save and retrieve documents via the cloud. It also includes the unified communications tool, Lync Online, which enables staff to join video conferences and share documents live from any connected device.
Latter, Columbia Asia began deploying the enterprise social tool, Yammer. This creates a social-media platform inside an organisation, and enables employees to create profiles, list specialisations, create groups and broadcast requests for information. Within Columbia Asia, staff members enthusiastically using it to broadcast status updates and share clinical information across the hospitals.

“...This make a big difference to them: if our core systems are 99.99% reliable, then downtime is no longer a worry—half of their headache is gone."
Thavaseelan Kanasan
Columbia Asia Sdn. Bhd.
IT Infrastructure Executive


With a swift, problem-free upgrade to Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012, Columbia Asia has made all its clinical systems safer with high security data protection, reduced the risks of data loss and improved reporting. With cloud-based communication and collaboration tools, staff members work more productively, sharing knowledge quickly and efficiently across 10 different geographical locations.
Reduced patient waiting time
Now, Care21 works noticeably faster. Doctors can open patient files and examine scans at the touch of a button, while admission staff are able to process registration quickly. “It used to take two minutes to create patient files: now it takes only few seconds,” says Yogessvaran Mohantas, Project Management Office, Team Lead. “Having a fast, reliable server platform also improves patient services. Doctors can assess, investigate and diagnose much faster because they have patient data instantly at the fingertips, so patient waiting time is reduced.”
Rapid, secure collaboration
Doctors can also share data more easily, because they have instant access to online collaboration tools. “With Lync, our medical staff can share presentations with each other, call for group meeting with colleagues from different hospitals and observe others’ desktops,” says Yogessvaran. “SkyDrive is extremely useful because each staff member can securely store their own data in the cloud and then retrieve it from home or wherever they are working. More importantly, our data is secured. Doctors don’t lose email or documents if their devices malfunctioned.”

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It gives an easy access to sophisticated reporting. Any hospital staff who want to analyse data be it doctors, pharmacists or marketers can now enjoy stress free experience. “With SQL Server Reporting Services, our staff can research data more extensively and generate reports without slowing down Care21,” added Yogessvaran. “For example, our accounts team generates daily financial reports, which they couldn’t do before. Now, they can even analyse data anytime they need.”
Increased confidence in IT
IT staff can perform the maintenance and upgrading without causing downtime. As a result, hospital managers have greater confidence. “Managers can focus on operations because applications are more reliable,” says Seelan. “This make a big difference to them: if our core systems are 99.99% reliable, then downtime is no longer a worry—half of their headache is gone.”
Better prospects for expansion
Within the next two years, Columbia Asia plans to open two more hospitals in Malaysia and two in Indonesia. According to Seelan, their rock-solid server platform provides an invaluable platform for this expansion. “With a new server operating system it means we can open these new hospitals more efficiently and reliably,” he says. “Whatever challenges we might face in the future, IT will not be one of them.”

Solution Overview

Customer: Columbia Asia Sdn. Bhd. 

Customer Size: 6000 employees 

Country or Region: Southeast Asia 

Customer Profile 

Established in Kuala Lumpur in 1994, Columbia Asia is an international private healthcare company that owns and operates 24 multi-specialty hospitals in Malaysia, India, Vietnam and Indonesia. The hospitals provide healthcare services to approximately 400–500 patients a day. In Malaysia, Columbia Asia operates 10 hospitals in Peninsular and East Malaysia. 

Software and Services 

 Microsoft Server Product Portfolio 

 Windows Server 2012 R2 

 Microsoft SQL Server 2012 

 Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 

Microsoft Office 365 

 Office 365 Exchange Plan 1 

 Office 365 E1 

 Office 365 E3 

 Technologies 

 Hyper-V 

 Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services 

 Active Directory 




Wednesday, 2 March 2016

KPJ Healthcare Streamlines and Upgrades IT Operations With Microsoft Office 365 and Cloud Solutions

KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Malaysia’s first homegrown and largest healthcare group has chosen to implement Microsoft’s Office 365 and Cloud solutions to upgrade and modernize its overall IT infrastructure for its entire network of hospitals in Malaysia and Indonesia.

KPJ is one of the leading private healthcare providers in the region. Embarking on many initiatives to improve the quality of care for patients, KPJ faced a major challenge to identify and implement an effective IT infrastructure across its hospitals that will enable it to make vital management decisions. KPJ turned to Microsoft to overcome these challenges and found a complete end-to-end as well as cost-effective solution, employing a hybrid of on-premise and cloud-based solution. The Group will also deploy 5,200 Microsoft Office 365 and 2,800 Pro Desktop licenses across its hospital network for a truly holistic IT environment.

Solution Overview

Product and Services

Microsoft Lync Server
Office 365



Organization Size

Large (1,000 - 9,999 employees)



“KPJ Healthcare is adopting cloud computing, and we have identified Microsoft as key partner. We look forward to working together to continue our quest for an improved healthcare system.” —Dr. Mubbashir Iftikhar, CIO, KPJ Healthcare

Business Needs

Like many providers in today’s consumer-driven world, KPJ Healthcare strives to improve how its physicians and staff interact with each other and with patients. The organization has adopted new technologies such as electronic medical record systems so patients can view their own medical histories and doctors can share data in different facilities.
Previously, KPJ communicated with a disparate mix of private-branch exchange (PBX) telephone, text messages, email, and online instant messaging from Yahoo and Google. Without a centralized collaboration environment, doctors and other staff lacked a single point of communication, which often delayed responses, compromised productivity, and negatively affected the patient experience.


KPJ adopted Microsoft Office 365 to use Microsoft Lync Online instant messaging and web conferencing. With an intuitive, user-friendly interface and integration with Microsoft Outlook, Lync Online helps KPJ staff communicate more efficiently, and Lync Online interoperates seamlessly with the healthcare provider’s existing teleconferencing environment, Telehealth. As KPJ adopts other components of Office 365 such as Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, it will develop a complete collaboration environment.

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By adopting Office 365 and Lync Online, KPJ Healthcare has developed a unified communications environment that will help it work more efficiently and improve healthcare delivery. Benefits include:
  • A centralized, comprehensive collaboration package
  • Reliable integration with existing line-of-business applications
  • Familiarity and ease of use for staff
  • Enhanced patient experience


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Healthcare Provider Gains Robust, Compliant Email; Avoids 83 Percent of On-Premise Cost

October 16, 2014
Compliance with federal requirements is a challenge for medical professionals, as new laws, new technologies, and new ways of working continually call for new solutions. Excel Anesthesia, a 26-physician group, found a long-term solution for secure, compliant e-mail in Microsoft Office 365. By choosing Microsoft, the practice also avoided 83 percent of the cost of an on-premise solution.
  • “Given the crucial issues surrounding compliance, we asked our attorney—not just our techies—to evaluate Office 365. He told us that we couldn’t do better than to choose Microsoft.”
    Michael Walsh, M.D.
    Excel Anesthesia
    Head of Compliance
  • “Given the crucial issues surrounding compliance, we asked our attorney—not just our techies—to evaluate Office 365. He told us that we couldn’t do better than to choose Microsoft.”
    Michael Walsh, M.D.
    Excel Anesthesia
    Head of Compliance
  • “Given the crucial issues surrounding compliance, we asked our attorney—not just our techies—to evaluate Office 365. He told us that we couldn’t do better than to choose Microsoft.”
    Michael Walsh, M.D.
    Excel Anesthesia
    Head of Compliance
Business Needs
It can be difficult to meet federal privacy and security requirements for IT when your workforce isn’t just communicating over a protected local area network, but also wirelessly over mobile devices. And it can be even more difficult when your workforce is 100 percent mobile, 100 percent of the time.

That’s the challenge that faced Excel Anesthesia and its Head of Compliance, Michael Walsh, M.D.
The company’s 26 anesthesiologists don’t work out of offices; they work in hospital operating rooms and other surgery and out-patient facilities, and travel constantly among those locations. They have to coordinate and update schedules, review patient files, and communicate and collaborate with colleagues, all on-the-fly. Combine the issues of mobility with those of compliance with HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act of US, and other regulations, and few healthcare providers face greater challenges than Excel Anesthesia.
For the past 18 months, Walsh has led a practice-wide effort to upgrade compliance procedures. Ensuring secure email—which often contains private health information (PHI)—has been a key focus. That means more than just securing email transmission; it also means securing email storage. Even when messages are transmitted securely—which can’t be assumed with free, public email—those messages remain only as secure as the PC or mobile device on which they then reside. With physicians often using their own computers and phones, standardization, let alone security, can be elusive. And the risk is immense; the cost of mishandling PHI can run into the millions of dollars.
Excel Anesthesia had no computer servers to support email, and it was reluctant to invest in the hardware and maintenance that an on-premise email system would require. While it wanted to keep costs low, it also wanted a solution that was highly reliable and available. Its practice had reached a critical size and was continuing to grow. It couldn’t wait any longer to address the email situation.
Fortunately, it didn’t have to. Its technology provider, introduced the company to Exchange Online, the email solution included in Microsoft Office 365.
Office 365 for business provides virtually anywhere access to Office applications, enterprise-grade email, file sharing, conferencing, a public website, and more. Varying combinations of service are available through a series of subscription options.
“Given the crucial issues surrounding compliance, we asked our attorney—not just our techies—to evaluate Office 365,” says Walsh. “He told us that we couldn’t do better than to choose Microsoft: it stands behind its products and will likely be around to provide that support for many years.” Most important from a compliance perspective, Microsoft signed a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Excel Anesthesia. That means that Microsoft—not Excel Anesthesia—takes on the risk stemming from compliance gaps in the technology.
Consultant helped the company to deploy Office 365—along with encryption and passcodes—on the mobile devices that its physicians already used.
The practice introduced its physicians to Office 365 in phases, starting with Exchange Online, since email is such a common, essential function. Links in email messages provided introductions to SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

With guidance from Consultant, the practice used SharePoint Online to roll out a robust compliance program with online policies that replace traditional, often inaccessible, hard-to-update “black binders” containing pages of regulations and policies.

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Excel Anesthesia now has the secure, reliable, and cost-effective compliance solution it wants—with a new level of business agility as an added benefit.
Robust Compliance with 99.9 Percent Uptime
The company now tracks compliance tasks automatically and has a central, online location for collaboration among members of its compliance committee. And it spots and corrects chart deficiencies in half the time it used to take.
“The Microsoft data centers behind Office 365 provide levels of security, fault tolerance, replication, and backup that we couldn’t afford on our own,” says Walsh. Microsoft also provides a financially-backed service-level agreement with 99.9 percent availability. Security in the cloud with Exchange Online means that the practice has no on-premise servers to fail, to be stolen, or to be lost during office moves.
Subscription Avoids 83 Percent of First-Year On-Premise Costs
With Office 365, the practice pays a low subscription fee--$8 per month per user—instead of buying and maintaining its own servers. That saved it 83 percent of the first-year costs for on-premise email. Excel Anesthesia pays only for what it needs, and can expand its subscriptions to support continued growth.
“Getting compliant email was our priority,” says Walsh. “We were concerned about cost, but knew we had to spend what it took. With Office 365, we got compliant email and low cost. We didn’t expect that.”
Agility Supports Broader Collaboration
The practice used to choose only local vendors and professional services firms—people it could meet with frequently, and on short notice. But some of the providers that it wanted to work with aren’t in Dallas—such as Anesthesia Compliance Consultants, located hundreds of miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio.
That firm was using Google Docs until Walsh and his colleagues showed them the Microsoft alternative. The consultants made the move to Office 365, and for many of the same reasons that convinced the practice. Excel Anesthesia is now the firm’s client, and the two hold web and video conferences several times each week, without any concern for the vast distance between them.

Solution Overview

Product and Services

Microsoft SharePoint Online
Office 365



Organization Size

Small (1 - 49 employees)


United States

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

G&J Pepsi Strives for Operational Excellence with Microsoft

 Slashed licensing fees, reduced implementation costs and proved ROI

G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, Inc., the US's largest independent Pepsi bottler, consistently looks for ways to improve its operations to drive business growth, and is an IT standard-bearer in the bottling and distribution industry.

Like many companies fighting for market share, G&J Pepsi's Chris Witzgall, Vice President of Information Systems, is constantly exploring ways that technology will drive operational efficiency throughout the company's 11 locations in Ohio and Kentucky so that he not only reduces costs, but supports sales, marketing, production and other departments in order to grow revenues. G&J focuses mostly on the activities that impact their core bottling and distribution centered businesses. Then they collaborate with a small number of partners to outsource non-strategic commodity workload.

With the help of a consulting company., G&J Pepsi's IT team removed workloads by moving email and collaboration tools to the cloud using Microsoft's Office 365. They boosted their ability for real-time from anywhere on any device communication with LyncEnterprise Voice. Furthermore, they added Windows Azure to enable disaster recovery from the cloud. Then G&J outsourced the support of Office 365, Lync Voice, and a major piece of their server infrastructure to Outcousing company. By shifting some processes to cloud computing and outsourcing others, G&J Pepsi became more agile and efficient.

The transition allowed Witzgall's small IT team to stop maintaining, monitoring, patching and fixing the complex configuration problems with these workloads. By shifting to Office 365, G&J avoided spending $30,000+ in future hardware and software upgrades needed to support the latest version of Exchange.

"We were spending many hours a month on Exchange patches, backups and maintaining storage for the virtualization environment," Witzgall said. "Email is one of those areas we feel is more of a commodity service, and any time we spend supporting it is not time well spent."

Witzgall has worked with consultant on multiple projects to automate G&J's infrastructure. He views consultant as an extension of his IT team, and the partnership allows him to service the company's 1,600 employees with a small IT staff. In fact, the first time Witzgall engaged with consultant to explore moving to the cloud, consulting company recommended waiting. “G&J had already upgraded their infrastructure to the latest releases, their infrastructure was solid and running well – so it made sense for them to wait until the next major revisions were released in the cloud before they migrated,” says President of cloud consulting company.

The consultant team walked Witzgall through possible options for migrations and technology that would allow G&J employees to access information from any device with a single sign on. Consulting company  then gathered information to help Witzgall make the business case for moving the company's email to the cloud and adding Lync and Azure.

Pre-Assessment Analysis Reveals Cost Savings 
Consulting company completed a technical assessment to make sure G&J could easily move to the cloud, and then a business assessment to make sure that such a move aligned with company business objectives. Consultant also provided a detailed hard cost return-on-investment report demonstrating how the new technologies would help G&J not only save money but give employees tools to help them operate and communicate more efficiently.

Pre-Assessment Analysis : G&J Pepsi also received a written plan explaining how to get ready for a cloud migration and a project plan outlining who would own what part of the migration to make sure everyone was on the same page. The process also includes documentation on how to set up the new system, how to cut users over and a communication plan IT managers use to tell employees what is going to happen and when. Consultant also provides end user training guides so employees know how to use the new system’s functionality.

Consultant's role was to manage the project, build the redundancy and failover capability and ensure there was no data loss in the migration to Office 365.

Because Consultant carefully watches Microsoft partner incentives, consultant was able to alert G&J Pepsi to funding from Microsoft that allowed G&J to reduce the consulting costs of installation by 75%. Additionally, Consultant helped G&J secure and utilize 100 free licenses of Office 365 and a promotion that offered an 80% cut in the retail cost of Office 365 licenses, saving G&J Pepsi's $100,000 over three years.

"The implementation was very smooth," Witzgall said. "Consultant handled the initial set up and testing, which was crucial. Then they helped us get the first set of users up and going, and we took it from there, with consultant acting as a resource when we needed it."

Moving to Office 365 allowed G&J Pepsi to eliminate $1,500 in annual spam filtering costs and another $2,500 in annual maintenance for Symantec Enterprise Vault, which the company used for email archiving. The move to the cloud-based system also freed up about 3 TB of storage, and it allowed G&J to give everyone in the company access to email with Microsoft’s low cost kiosk emails plans. HR will be streamlining their processes with this new digital communication channel.

Lync Drives Internal and Partner Collaboration 
The bulk of G&J Pepsi's 1,600 employees work in 11 locations in two states. In addition, many employees work from home, and the salesforce operates in the field on more than 300 routes. Because of the dispersed work force, G&J needed a more robust and mobile friendly collaboration system. Consultant helped them upgrade to the latest version of  Lync Enterprise Voice, which give them a new level of functionality including better mobile access and enhanced web meetings.

Upgrading to Lync 2013 "allows people to participate in meetings easier, and access corporate information in real time," Witzgall said. Mobile employees previously printed information from their laptops or had to drive around looking for good wifi Internet connections if they wanted to participate in meetings while they were traveling.

Now, they can provide customers instant information from their devices of choice and join meetings from their smartphone, tablet or other device no matter where they are, and no matter what operating system their device uses, he said.

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Azure Allows On-Premise Integration with Cloud Applications 
Like many companies, G&J Pepsi needs its technology systems to be highly available and redundant. As part of building that redundancy, Consultant showed G&J how using Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform would provide them with disaster recovery for its critical authentication workloads.

 Those workloads include Active Directory for user authentication, Directory sync for synchronizing users and groups between their on premise network and the cloud, and Password sync, which allows users to have single sign on abilities for their desktop computer and web applications.

"Azure's infrastructure as a service allows us to have full functionality to authenticate users without on premise equipment, so if we lost our datacenter, our employees can still fully communicate," Witzgall said.

With Azure, resources are readily available and accessible, user authentication requests are quick because Azure sits in the same data center as Office 365, and companies do not have to build the hardware or obtain software licenses to run it from their own data center.

From Blocking & Tackling to Proactive Business Decision-Making

 Removing basic blocking and tackling technology maintenance tasks like email, backups and worries about disaster recovery allow Witzgall and his team to think more about how they approach the business and how they can make employees more productive.

"One of the biggest benefits is that Office 365 allows us to give our sales team all the information they need to get their jobs done," Witzgall said. Coupled with Lync, employees have "the tools they need to make a sale and to make more sales. Without a productive sales team, the company isn't going to grow." G&J continues to grow their partnership with  Consulting company. “They are on our same wavelength for outsourcing and being efficient. The consulting company continues to find ways to gain funding for us and use technology even if it means less revenue to themselves,” concludes Witzgall.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Coca-Cola Enterprises used Microsoft SharePoint Online to Advance Productivity

“Microsoft gave us an incredible platform that allows us to do a number of things, beyond hosting our portal. It provides workflow management and team collaboration across geographies and time zones.” John Key, Assistant Director Communication and Collaboration Technologies,CCE 

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) employs approximately 72,000 people in 431 facilities around the globe. Much of its workforce is mobile with 55,000 vehicles and 2.4 million coolers, vending machines, and beverage dispensers. With increasing competition in the marketplace, CCE needed a more effective way to collaborate with its employees, to increase its productivity, to enable better flow of information and to create more time for sales persons to engage with customers. Its worldwide presence required employees and executives to spend numerous hours on the road every week, travelling to internal meetings. With Microsoft® Online Services technologies, CCE can save travel expenses through online meeting tools and collaboration platforms that span time zones and geographies.

 Country or Region: Worldwide
Industry: Consumer goods—Retail

User Profile 
Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) is the world’s largest marketer, producer, and distributor of nonalcoholic beverages, which it delivers with the industry’s most effective marketplace execution. 

Business Situation 
CCE’s increasing competition was resulting in declining revenues. This required company executives to launch a new strategic direction, mandating a platform to communicate and engage with all employees.

Microsoft deployed a hosted worldwide intranet, messaging and collaboration tools which are accessible to all employees from any device, enabling employees to boost productivity and time with customers.

 Productivity and customer focus
 Companywide intranet
 IT transformation
 Effective remote teams
 Deskless worker access


Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE: “CCE”) is the world's largest marketer, producer, and distributor of Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola Enterprises’ growing product portfolio includes the world’s greatest brands and beverages which they deliver with the industry’s most effective marketplace execution. Today, they serve 419 million consumers throughout North America, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, and the Netherlands. They employ approximately 72,000 people and operate more than 431 facilities, 55,000 vehicles, and 2.4 million coolers, vending machines, and beverage dispensers.

The Business Challenge 

Coca-Cola Enterprises faced strong competition from other beverage companies and needed a way to work more effectively with their customers and partners. This required innovation and a new way of doing business within the corporation. In 2008 CCE acknowledged their current communication platforms were no longer enabling the innovation and collaboration required to take them to the next level to compete in an increasingly demanding economic environment.

Communicate with all Employees: CCE required a centralized platform on which to promote the company’s initiatives. Its messaging was based largely around e-mail, which was unable to reach its largely mobile workforce. Chairman and CEO John Brock and CIO Esat Sezer agreed that in order to evolve the company culture and improve customer relationships at CCE, the leadership team needed the ability to communicate with all CCE employees, especially those managing day-to-day operations in the field. Most of the diverse CCE personnel work in a distributed manner. Employees in manufacturing facilities had limited access to the corporate network. The mobile employees of their delivery fleet who are on the front line with the customers, making sales and positioning the CCE products in store environments, also lacked convenient access to company e-mail and content. Additionally, CCE needed a way to drive action and information to all employees in their business by role. Current infrastructure did not allow for this, making it difficult to find appropriate content in a timely manner.

Kevin Flowers, Director of Enabling Technologies, says, "John Brock, our CEO, challenged us to find better ways to connect all of our employees. He asked us to create a unified way to reach all of the field resources for more than 400 locations in the U.S. alone, SharePoint Online addressed those challenges and helped us launch from a legacy infrastructure to a solution which provided better business value to all of our people."

Deliver a Unified Collaborative Workspace and Corporate Intranet: Taking on a new project like building a corporate intranet was exciting, yet daunting, as IT resources were engaged on many other initiatives as part of their transformation journey. IT considered leveraging partners to address their messaging needs and wanted to expand this to include the development of their corporate intranet. Both solutions needed to support mobile devices to reach employees in manufacturing facilities and the field.


With many older systems, CCE had several partners providing dozens of communication and collaboration solutions. CCE saw an opportunity to optimize its infrastructure by broadening its relationship with Microsoft. With the implementation of Microsoft Online Services, which includes Microsoft SharePoint® Online, Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft Office Communications Online, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting, CCE consolidated and streamlined its IT partnerships and enhanced its focus on providing value to the business. CCE deployed its corporate intranet on SharePoint Online as its primary collaboration platform, which included content management, enterprise search, workflow, line of business integration, and rights management capabilities. In its assessment of whether to upgrade its current platform or transform the company to a hosted model, CCE considered options presented by several major software and service providers. CCE desired a partnership where it could utilize its enterprise software on premises with integrated software services in the cloud, and turned to Microsoft to execute upon its objectives. Planning for the project began in mid January 2008 and was completed by mid May. Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft SharePoint Online received “service acceptance” by July and user migration for both began in September.By the end of 2008, 23,000 users had been migrated to Exchange Online, 30,000 users were on SharePoint Online, and 10,000 users had migrated from IBM Sametime to Microsoft Office Communications Server for instant messaging. It added Microsoft Office Live Meeting for Web and video conferencing in April 2008. 


Initially, Tim Smith, the Chief Information Security Officer at CCE needed to be convinced that Microsoft would provide security measures that matched or exceeded CCE’s stringent requirements. Visiting the Tukwila data center, Smith was impressed by the virtual and physical security provided by Microsoft, as well as the third-party SAS 70 audit reports that Microsoft uses to monitor security compliance. Tim Smith, CCE Chief Information Security Officer, says, “Step one in getting comfortable with giving our data to Microsoft was visiting one of their data centers. To understand the physical nature of what they’re doing to safeguard not only their own information, but also CCE’s, gave us a great sense of comfort that Microsoft has thought of all the right things.”

A fundamental shift occurred in how CCE viewed Microsoft services and capabilities running in Microsoft data centers, not as an outsourcing arrangement, but as a security-enhanced extension of CCE’s own enterprise network.

The Right Information at the Right Time CCE decided to use Microsoft integrated communication and collaboration tools to streamline communication across its entire organization. A critical component of the corporate intranet portal at CCE was the integration of SAP user role information into its on-premises Active Directory® service and its Microsoft SharePoint Online environment. This will allow CCE to target the right information to the right employee based on roles outlined in SAP. By integrating SAP data into SharePoint sites, CCE employees can access data through recognizable Microsoft Office programs, giving employees the ability to make information for business operations easy to find, share, and update. Previously, CCE did not have a common solution that enabled document management. Documents that needed to be shared with colleagues were housed in shared folders on network drives, sent via e-mail, or stored in team rooms, all of which were limited in access, version control, and searchability.

Ease and Effectiveness of Collaboration Seeing the business need and the ability to increase its communication and collaboration capabilities, CCE was able to move very quickly to execute the migration. Lauren Sayeski, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, says, “We had a massive change agenda that we were trying to communicate to the organization. We had a lot of objectives with this project, but the two primary ones were a better way to communicate with our employees while at the same time driving effectiveness and efficiency.” Content management features on SharePoint Online include version management, workflow management, and rights management, all of which enable seamless collaboration across geographies and time zones. John Key, Assistant Director of Communication and Collaboration Technologies, says, “To have one source of the truth is very important as teams start to form across the globe. You want to be sure you always have the latest version of the document you’re working on. SharePoint Online makes that possible.” 

Knowledge Sharing and Social Networking CCE’s executive communication prior to its new corporate intranet was historically top-down. With its Microsoft SharePoint Online intranet solution, it now has open dialogue with employees communicating to leadership and with each other. Sayeski says, “We focused on ways for employees to comment back to the organization as well as communicate with each other. Now we have the ability to post comments on the intranet and create team sites. We’re finding that employees are talking to each other and using each other’s resources, sharing knowledge. We launched our first CEO blog last year and in the first five minutes had more than 40 responses back. That’s just the beginning; we know that the intranet can be so much more powerful as a place of action.”


Productivity and Customer Focus The Microsoft solution enabled CCE to bring new technologies to everyone in the company, providing them with the information they need, where and when they need it most. Microsoft SharePoint Online has been embraced by employees across the company. Within four weeks of enabling users to create team sites, there were over 800 requests for sites focused on business priorities and customer-facing business teams. Tom Barlow, Vice President of Business Transformation, N.A., says, “From a business transformation perspective, we have a lot of projects underway which focus on revenue generation and cost savings. Through the use of SharePoint Online, we’re able to educate our team so that they can find information and establish interdependencies across the different projects. SharePoint allows us to code and manage information so that we can get it very quickly.”

Worldwide Collaboration 

CCE now has a robust intranet portal to support worldwide collaboration and communication of corporate strategy. Two consulting company designed the custom intranet and collaboration solution respectively on top of Microsoft SharePoint Online. One consulting company created the compelling visual design with a user-based enterprise portal workflow. The other consulting company designed and developed custom SharePoint features in accordance with Microsoft development standards and best practices, as well as provided guidance to CCE regarding the deployment and configuration options available in SharePoint Online. Sayeski says, “When you have a workforce like ours, 72,000 strong and geographically dispersed, that may or may not have access to technology, it can be a challenge to ensure that the message of the organization is getting through with the clarity and the speed that you want it to. We focused heavily on the use of video, particularly with our CEO, to ensure that some of our most critical messages were being captured in a way that the audience immediately understood. So combining the power of video with the intranet gave us the ability to touch many more people.” 

Powerful Search with Enterprise Content Management 

The corporate intranet also serves as a central location for things like CCE’s HR process improvement and self-service HR portal and provides a communication platform for CCE’s desk-based workers. CCE has also increased employee engagement and education around corporate responsibility and sustainability through the portal content, thereby addressing the cultural change initiative. Sayeski says, “There have been some particular areas where we’ve seen that concept of two-way dialogue playing out very well. One is in our corporate responsibility and sustainability efforts where employees are sharing—actively sharing their own ideas and their own solutions within their own facilities about ways they’re generating energy effectiveness.”

Through the intranet, CCE employees are eager to be part of the company direction and dialogue. Brett Kirkland, Collaboration Architect, says, “The SharePoint Online search engine is ten times better. It allows us to make items more discoverable, to check them in and out, and surface particular items that we consider pieces of content that should rise to the top. The SharePoint solution also gives IT more control and governance over what content is published and how it is ranked and profiled in search.”

Key says, “Microsoft gave us an incredible platform that allows us to do a number of things, beyond hosting our portal. It provides workflow management and team collaboration across geographies and time zones.” 

The Road Ahead

In phase II, CCE will be expanding the Microsoft footprint to reach an additional 42,000 deskless workers who work in the field or in sales/distribution facilities. These employees do not have computers but will be enabled in phase II to have access to the intranet via Microsoft SharePoint Online through computer workstations at their facilities. Additionally, Microsoft is co-developing a sales force automation system that will further take advantage of SharePoint Online and enable local merchandisers to be more efficient in getting the things they need into the outlets and stores. CCE will also be using Microsoft Office Communications Server desktop voice and video for multi-user applications and adding more than 10,000 BlackBerry users. 

Kevin Flowers concludes, “There was huge excitement and energy around the CCE partnership with Microsoft. This has been one of the best IT partner projects CCE has experienced, and we have the added value of a longer IT roadmap with Microsoft than if CCE had built the solution on premises. This project has exceeded our expectations from an IT standpoint, showing how well an organization can lay a foundation and transform the way people communicate in a large company.”

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