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Johnson Controls: powering global innovation with Office 365

Today’s post is written by Colin Boyd the CIO of Johnson Controls

CIO JCIJohnson Controls is powered by innovation: ever since we began operations in 1885, our products-from the original electric thermostat invented by Warren Johnson to the advanced batteries we make for hybrid and electric vehicles today-have defined our reputation for creative thinking. So, as the CIO, I’m always looking for technology that will enable our employees to connect with colleagues, partners and suppliers to share ideas and spark new ways of solving problems for our customers.

We selected Office 365 as our global communication and collaboration environment to foster the kind of innovation and responsiveness that develops new products and improves customer satisfaction. This is no small task: we have 168,000 employees located in 1,500 offices and manufacturing facilities in more than 100 countries. Our operations are supported by a complex, global supply chain of more than 400,000 entities, so improving the effectiveness of our communication channels is a key issue for us. When we’re fully deployed with Office 365 in about two years’ time, we’ll have more than 180,000 licenses in use by employees, partners and suppliers-enabling a global platform to drive agility, efficiency and innovation.

By using Office 365, we can meet the communications and collaboration requirements of today’s and tomorrow’s manufacturing environments to run at peak efficiency. And it’s capable of scaling to meet the needs of a global corporation.

In our automotive businesses, our account teams consist of dedicated groups of people located in different countries working together to provide coordinated and consistent service to hundreds of customer locations. With Office 365, if we find an issue with a part specification or something at one of our 300 manufacturing plants, we can easily connect all of the stakeholders, resolve the issue quickly and better serve our customers. For another example, imagine a shop supervisor using his or her smartphone to take a video of a problem with the tooling for a car seat assembly and uploading that to a SharePoint site for the engineering team to review. From there, we could use the instant messaging, desktop sharing and web conferencing capabilities in Lync, and surface project-related email messages through Outlook to connect the parties involved-engineers, account managers, plant managers, tooling procurement, quality assurance, etc.-and quickly resolve the issue. Office 365 gives us these fast, global, lateral communication tools to be agile and responsive.

I’m also excited to see how Office 365 will support communications that facilitate innovation. The platform provides real-time translation in many languages and encourages spontaneous interchanges among employees. With Office 365, our people can engage in dynamic, evolving, information exchanges that spark ideas and new ways of solving problems. Employees can build profiles and include their areas of expertise and interest, so it will be easier to connect with colleagues near and far who have valuable skills or knowledge to share. We expect people to create online communities.

For example, our experts who maintain HVAC systems in a marine environment in Florida can connect with those in Mumbai to share knowledge and leverage the value of our intellectual capital across the company.

None of this would be possible if the flow of business information only follows a hierarchical, top-down email exchange. We chose Office 365 because it offers the perfect mix of structured and flexible solutions to facilitate the global, peer-to-peer collaboration that enables innovation and business agility.

Office 365 also offers flexible, cost-effective licensing options and the ability to work directly with Microsoft deployment consulting experts through Cloud Vantage Services. To date, we have subscribed to 92,000 Office 365 E2 licenses for our knowledge workers and 70,000 Kiosk Licenses for non-wired employees, In addition, we have 10,000 partner access licenses and will scale as required for our partners so we can share our enterprise-wide resources and work together as a team to better serve our customers. This is a key benefit for Johnson Controls; we don’t have a lot of churn in our suppliers and it’s critical to foster those relationships to leverage their abilities and drive customer satisfaction.

This is much more than a conventional technology upgrade. Office 365 will strengthen relationships among employees and between Johnson Controls and its customers. Its capabilities will enable our transition into a new, more exciting and collaborative way of working.

For more, read the press release