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Accor: Building business agility one employee at a time with Office 365

Today’s post was written by Marc Champsaur, VP Internet, Intranet, Franchise and Mobility, Accor

Since I joined Accor in 2000, the business has grown into one of the world’s most widespread and diverse hotel management companies, with globally recognized brands such as Sofitel, Novotel, and Ibis. To remain ahead of competitors, Accor needs to be agile: to quickly acquire new properties, develop new services, and evolve our brands to meet customer expectations and attract more travelers. To continue to grow, we need to expand our franchise business and add to our unique range of hotels.

picture of AccorLounge Portal

Accor employees around the world use AccorLounge to connect with colleagues, access corporate information, and build online communities within the company.

To achieve agility, we need to connect the business globally and make sure that our employees can work together to quickly implement business strategies. We need to ensure that everyone has easy access to corporate information, to colleagues, and to whatever they need to work efficiently, no matter where they are, what role they play, or what device they use. Individual agility for each of our 170,000 employees adds up to a more responsive and nimble company. It’s how we intend to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving, highly competitive hospitality market.

It was clear to us that we needed to deploy business productivity tools that improve mobility and provide a collaboration solution that Accor employees around the world could use to connect in real time, on-demand. One important way that our IT team has helped Accor to realize these goals is by deploying Office 365.

Today, we have created a global, corporate community that gives all employees a voice in the company and a place where they can connect to share their ideas and expertise. Our cloud-based communication tools and collaboration platforms are accessible to anyone with a smartphone, mobile device, laptop, or PC. This sort of anytime, anywhere access to information represents a new level of mobility at Accor and it delivers a great business value: agility.

For example, customers at our Sofitel luxury hotels have been asking for a more “health conscious” restaurant and room service menu. So our Sofitel chefs around the world are already using SharePoint Online and will use AccorLounge, our new social network in the cloud, to evolve their haute cuisine recipes and share menu ideas. Here we have one group of employees using real-time, global collaboration to quickly satisfy our customers’ requests.

Before, our deskless hotel employees had no access to our intranet, but today they can join AccorLounge and receive corporate news, participate in work projects, create communities around shared activities, and access job postings. We even have teams from the hotels organizing soccer matches. People are putting names to faces and feeling as if they belong to a global company.

Corporate employees are working more productively because they receive targeted information that’s directly applicable to their job position, hotel brand, and location. Now, when they sign in to AccorLive, our new corporate intranet, they don’t waste time searching for information. Everyone can personalize their AccorLive home page with apps they use for their day-to-day work. They choose from our company portal and can even access them on their smartphones. For example, I have an IT project timesheet app that I use to track what is happening with my team.

picture of AccorLive portal

Corporate employees at Accor use AccorLive as the go-to business resource to access apps, information, and colleagues on any device, anywhere.

We can also deliver information directly to our franchisees using this new professional and more efficient platform. This helps them to succeed in their business and it magnifies the value of choosing to work with the Accor brand. Everything is accessible on a smartphone or a PC; it doesn’t matter where you are or what device you are using. We want people to feel that they are working for a global group, and we also want them to be efficient in their daily work. AccorLounge and AccorLive help us achieve these goals.

Accor is also enhancing the security of our confidential business information, such as project documents, contracts, and confidential files using OneDrive for Business, the online file storage that we get with Office 365. Now, engineers and designers collaborating on a hotel site upgrade can store sensitive CAD architectural plans and design drawings on a more secure, online repository instead of using third-party storage solutions or company file shares. And they can access them on any device, from anywhere.

Our global challenge is to ensure that our large, complex organization remains nimble so that we can stay competitive across all our brands. We took the Office 365 approach: seamless access to colleagues and information through online collaboration tools. One employee at a time, we’re opening up communication lines and unleashing the flow of data. At Accor, we’re already seeing the pace of business accelerating.

The Technologies Involved

Accor subscribed to Microsoft Office 365 E1 for 7,000 corporate users and to Office 365 K1 for its tens of thousands of deskless workers. AccorLounge runs on Microsoft SharePoint Online and provides everyone with social networking capabilities. Corporate employees use Microsoft Lync Online for instant messaging and web conferencing. AccorLive runs on SharePoint Server 2013, on-premises. OneDrive for Business provides online storage and Office Online offers browser-based access to Office programs.