Caltex Australia needed better communication and collaboration tools to promote productivity and mobility for its dispersed workforce, but it didn’t want to upgrade its on-premises solutions. The company decided to implement Microsoft cloud-based business productivity services. We recently spoke to Steve Fox, Chief Information Officer at Caltex, to learn how the company is benefiting:
Q: Please tell us about Caltex Australia.
Steve Fox: Our roots go back a hundred years as an oil importing company. Today, Caltex Australia is the country’s leading transport fuel supplier and convenience retailer, and the only integrated oil refining and marketing company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. We have about 3,500 people working across the country.
Q: Why did you want to move to cloud-based services for messaging and collaboration?
Fox: Our workforce requires easy access to corporate information, emails, and colleagues to work productively. Our on-premise IBM Lotus Notes email solution did not provide web mail. There was no instant messaging, no presence, and no web conferencing, so it was challenging to communicate and collaborate on the road, at home, or at customer sites. We needed more cost-effective, flexible technologies to help us get away from this whole idea of a workplace being a ‘place.’ Moving to the cloud seemed like a natural evolution.
Q: What criteria did you use to select Microsoft as your vendor for cloud-based business productivity services?
Fox: We wanted a vendor with online business productivity tools tailored for the enterprise space. We looked at Microsoft Office 365, Google Apps for Business, and LotusLive. We chose Microsoft because it has a proven delivery in the enterprise market and a very strong roadmap. We could see that our vision for cloud services matched Microsoft’s plans for Office 365.
Q: How has Office 365 changed the way people work at Caltex?
Fox: We are using Microsoft cloud services to introduce a whole new level of mobility and productivity for employees everywhere. We’re using Office 365 to eliminate the confines of office-bound work environments and employees are a whole lot more satisfied: after our move to cloud services, more than 90 percent of our staff was happy with the new solution even though our previous email system had been strongly embedded in the business. Everyone loves using cloud-based email and calendars, instant messaging, and presence services on their PCs, laptops, and mobile devices to gain anytime, anywhere access to the people and information they need.
Q: What other benefits are you seeing from Office 365?
Fox: Caltex has reduced IT costs by retiring servers and we can look forward to using the latest Microsoft business productivity products as soon as they are introduced without ever having to build and manage a physical infrastructure. We’ve also improved business agility by increasing the flow of corporate information throughout the company. When the IT department embarked on this journey to the cloud, we were looking for cost-effective, easily deployed, and user-friendly tools that would help us better support the business. With Office 365, we have achieved that goal.