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Reed Elsevier rallies around Office 365 to collaborate across countries and cut costs

Today’s post was written by Michael Bouchet, vice president of Infrastructure Services at Reed Elsevier

Michael Bouchet  of  Reed ElsevierReed Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers. LexisNexis helps lawyers win cases, Gray’s Anatomy helps doctors save lives, Elsevier BioSource helps scientists make new discoveries. Other Reed Elsevier companies help corporations build commercial relationships, insurance companies assess risk, and government and financial institutions detect fraud.

Our diversity is part of our strength, but it was threatening to become a liability as well. We needed to bring deals to the table that took advantage of our global knowledge assets, but we had a country-specific business model and disparate communication tools. We wanted to enable employees and partners in different offices to put their heads together quickly and virtually come up with solutions for customers.

That’s why we adopted Microsoft Office 365. It’s an intuitive and cost-effective way to connect our 28,000 employees, to help them find one another and share expertise across geographical boundaries. We were spending a fortune on expensive audio and video conferencing systems, but these weren’t efficient collaboration tools—the sound quality was poor and we had to reserve the conferencing resources well in advance.

With Office 365, all of our employees can easily conduct online audio and video meetings. Instead of having to schedule conference rooms to communicate with colleagues, employees can launch a call or conference from their desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone. Our Infrastructure Services team is spread throughout the world, and the ability to actually see one another during a meeting changes the entire interaction. The audio quality is great, which is important in understanding different accents, and seeing body language also makes it much easier to understand what people are saying.

We’ll be putting all of our documents in the Office 365 cloud, which gives us easy, instant information sharing from any device. An employee can grab an email or document from the cloud, share his screen, bring in another colleague over instant messaging for a quick question, and exchange an enormous amount of information in a very rich way in a matter of minutes.

With Office 365 ProPlus, employees can download the full Office suite on up to five devices, which means that they have access to all of their workhorse programs all of the time—no matter if they’re at work, traveling, or at home using a personal device. And IT is relieved of complex licensing issues.

Because all our employees already use Office and other Microsoft software, Office 365 was the logical choice from a technology perspective. However, getting our diverse global businesses to embrace a common technology was a challenge. Those of us in the central IT services team made the pitch purely on savings: getting rid of Cisco WebEx alone covered the costs of all our Office 365 licenses.

All the chief technology officers really rallied together around Office 365, which was unprecedented at Reed Elsevier. They understood the cost savings, and they’re now investigating how their businesses can take advantage of these new services.

Office 365 will be critical in helping Reed Elsevier continue to transform from a content to an information-based company, compete globally, and keep costs in check. We can’t wait to see how employees will use it.

Technical Summary

Reed Elsevier has already migrated email for all 28,000 employees to Microsoft Exchange Online. It will gradually transfer documents from its hundreds of collaboration sites to Microsoft SharePoint Online. Using SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business to store documents centrally will greatly help the company’s strategy to centralize knowledge.

Microsoft Lync Online provides several quick-connect technologies that will revolutionize how Reed Elsevier employees get in touch with one another and share ideas. They can use audio and video conferencing with screen-sharing, instant messaging, and presence—all from any device, including smartphones. The company has made Yammer, a social networking tool that comes with Office 365 Enterprise plans, available to all employees to encourage informal conversations and topical knowledge sharing. LexisNexis is already using it extensively, and other business units are expected to follow. Finally, a critical piece of Office 365 is always-up-to-date Office apps—and with Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus, the ability to download the full Office suite on up to five devices per user. This will give Reed Elsevier employees the latest productivity programs on their desktops, laptops, and tablets—both work and personal.