Wednesday, 7 October 2015

M3 Marine Group Marine Consultancy Charts a New Course to Global Productivity with Cloud-Based Tools

M3 Marine Group staff did not have the access to emails and documents needed to support the global expansion envisioned by founder Mike Meade. Then he subscribed to Microsoft Office 365. Today, brokers reliably access archived emails for market trending to build better deals, and consultants collaborate better in virtual teams to expedite reports—two essential steps toward building a global business that stays true to its service-oriented roots.
  • “We can build a global company and stay true to our roots as a service-based business because we’re using Office 365 to support productive virtual teamwork around the world.”
    Mike Meade
    M3 Marine Group
    Chief Executive Officer

As one of the busiest ports in the world, it’s not surprising that Captain Mike Meade chose Singapore as the headquarters for his company, M3 Marine Group. Meade worked as a ship’s captain before trading in his sea legs for senior management positions in the corporate world. However, his experience dealing with major oil companies and offshore marine engineering service providers is just one reason for M3 Marine’s success.
“Our brokers are veterans in the industry who use their experience to broker deals that build lasting customer relationships,” says Meade. “On the consultancy side, we are well-known for our expertise in designing computer-controlled ship positioning systems and the relevant documentation, especially FMEAs [failure mode effects analysis].

Defining a Vision for Growth

Today, Meade envisions M3 Marine as a global company. “I want to broaden our base, first by opening an office in Australia and then expanding to the Middle East,” he says. “We will populate those offices over time, always with a focus on delivering best-in-class service and gaining repeat business.”
To achieve this goal, Meade needed to reevaluate the technology his staff uses every day. “I looked for productivity tools that would amplify the core competencies of the brokerage and consultancy sides of the business,” he says. “We need communication and collaboration tools that work on any device across any time zone so that we can function as productive, virtual teams. That means we need easy access to corporate data and customer information, no matter where we are in the world.”

Choosing Microsoft Office 365

Meade knew that cloud-based IT services would be the most cost-effective computing platform for his company. “We tried Google, but we didn’t like the interface and it didn’t do what we wanted; we tried a ship broker’s proprietary database and messaging service, but it didn’t perform to contract,” he recalls. “Then, in 2012, I went to a luncheon hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce Small Business Group. I met our IT provider, and I learned about Microsoft Office 365. Things at M3 Marine haven’t been the same since.”

Business Tools that Just Work

M3 Marine worked with IT provider to migrate to Office 365 and the seamless transition for all 30 employees was the first indication that the new cloud-based business communication and collaboration tools lived up to Meade’s expectations. Today, all M3 Marine employees are using the same up-to-date Microsoft Office programs as part of the cloud-based suite of services.
“Each of us can deploy Office 365 ProPlus on up to five computers and devices, saving me licensing costs,” says Meade. “And with Office Web Apps, we will be able to work with Outlook, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel programs on the go, using any browser.”
Meade begins his day by checking email on his PC at home. On his way to work, he stops for coffee and logs on to the corporate network using his laptop. Then, he’ll use a PC at the office during a meeting. Later, he’ll take his laptop to talk to a consultant about a report. “It’s that seamless transfer from one location and one device to another and knowing that I’ll always have access to up-to-date information that’s made me productive, no matter where I go,” he says.

Reliable Email, Better Customer Service

Today, brokers are negotiating better deals in chartering, ship building, and sales and purchases. They are also building better customer relationships. That’s because with Office 365, brokers gain reliable, ubiquitous access to email, contacts, and shared calendars. Now they can search archived emails to benchmark indexes so that they can provide better advice to customers about market trends.
Weekly downtime due to someone’s overflowing archived emails that blocked the network is a thing of the past. “If staff can’t work because email is down for two hours, that’s a massive cost to me; almost as much as my annual IT burden,” says Meade. “So maintaining that reliability and productivity—with Office 365 we haven’t had a moment of downtime—is key to growing my business and saving money.”

Effective Virtual Teams

M3 Marine consultants provide a range of technical and commercial consultancy in the oil and gas space along with concept design of computer-controlled ship positioning systems called Dynamic Positioning. The team can deliver their reports quicker thanks to improved virtual teamwork using Office 365 sophisticated document versioning capabilities and cloud-based document storage. In this data-centric business, these reports are a key deliverable that M3 Marine customers rely on for FMEA of their computer-based ship dynamic positioning systems.
“Four or five consultants can contribute to a single 1,000-page marine report, including drawings, schematics, and charts,” says Meade. “Using team sites in SharePoint Online will streamline virtual teamwork and document collaboration to more quickly deliver the massive reports that they develop for our customers.”

GoToMeeting Free Trial

Business Platform for Growth

With Office 365, it’s easy to simplify the process of hiring new employees. When Meade hired a new general manager for the brokerage business, all it took was a few minutes to furnish him with a laptop and an Office 365 account. Today, everyone at M3 Marine is well equipped to help Meade achieve his vision of expanding from one of Asia’s largest independent ship broking and marine consultancy houses to a global operation.
“I’m using Office 365 to build a global network that supports real-time collaboration through web conferences, instant messaging, desktop sharing, emails, and calendaring, and breaks down the barriers of time and space to boost productivity and customer service,” concludes Meade.


Professional Services

Organization Size

Small (1 - 49 employees)



Monday, 5 October 2015


PETALING JAYA, Weds, 30 Oct   40 companies participated in the Medical Benefits and Man-Days Loss Survey by The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) throughout 2014, which found employers lost about 591,199 man-days last year and paid RM50.12mil for outpatient expenses, and paid an average of about RM4,475.36 and RM762.27 per employee for hospitalisation and outpatient treatment respectively. 
MEF President Y.Bhg. Tan Sri Azman Shah Dato’ Seri Haron, in launching the latest ‘MEF Survey on Medical Benefits and Man‐Days Loss’ here today, said that the findings provided a valuable insight into the challenges faced by employers in terms of improving productivity and managing the cost of doing business.

 “About 81.2% of the companies surveyed projected that the cost to provide medical benefits will increase for the upcoming year, and 91% stated that increases in medical cost was one of the reasons that lead to the increasing medical cost, followed by rising of insurance premium (65.3%), increasing outpatient care cases (45.1%) and increasing hospitalisation cases (43.1%),” said Tan Sri Azman. 
“We must improve the situation so that we are able to improve our productivity. It is critical as we lagged behind our competitors,” he said.
In terms of man‐days loss, the survey indicated that the number of man‐days loss were due to the employee’s failure to report at work or being absent from work when they are scheduled to work; such as visits to clinics, sick leave, prolonged illness, lateness, and absent without leave. 

“In 2014, the average wages paid per day for sick leave taken for non‐hospitalisation was RM390.66, while medical expenses paid per day for sick leave averaged RM165.41,” he said.   
Also present at the launching ceremony were MEF Vice Presidents En. Abdul Wahab Abu Bakar and En. A. Ramadass, Honorary Treasurer Tn. Hj. Mohammed Amin Aziz, Council Members Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Mohd Noor Ismail, Tn. Hj. Razali b Dato’ Hj Rahmat @ Ali Mhd, and Executive Director Datuk Hj. Shamsuddin Bardan.  

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.

GoToMeeting Free Trial

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.

GoToMeeting Free Trial

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.”

New : Microsoft Office 365 Business Essential / Enterprise E1
Microsoft Office365 Business Premium / Enterprise E3

Friday, 29 May 2015

Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium upgrade path

We have been talking about upgrade path for Microsoft Office 365 Business and  Office 365 Business Essentials.

Today, we going to discuss about upgrade path for Office 365 Business Premium. 

Office 365 Business Premium is a plan for combination of both Office 365 Business and Office 365 Business Essentials. This mean you want both Microsoft Office and Email Outlook Exchange.

Of course, you get 1TB of One Drive for Business per user for backup and Disaster Recovery, which is effectively unlimited storage for backup and sync with your hardware for Disaster Recovery. 

If your company want Microsoft Access, or Self Services Business Intelligence like Powerpivot etc, or Hybrid deployment. Then, your company can upgrade to Office 365 Enterprise E3 Plan

Alternatively, your company can add other standalone online plan. Like Microsoft Project Online, Visio Online or Dynamics CRM Online etc.

Exchange Online Plan 1

What if you intend to subscribed for or currently using Exchange Online Plan 1?

By adding additional USD1 per user per month. You can upgrade to Office 365 Business Premium, which you have SharePoint Online, Lync online, Yammer and you have 1TB of One Drive for Business per user

Or if your company want to included Microsoft Office. Then, your company can upgrade to Office 365 Business premium. Then your company can add stanalone plan like Microsoft Project Online, Visio Online and Dynamics CRM online.

A comparison of all Office 365 plan with Exchange Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 as follow :