Arysta LifeScience wanted to standardize on cloud-based communication and collaboration services. It chose Google Apps for Business. However, employees in the pilot group were unhappy with the user interface and IT struggled with compatibility issues. Arysta LifeScience replaced the Google deployment and introduced Microsoft Office 365. We recently spoke to Dustin Collins, Head of Global IT Infrastructure at Arysta LifeScience to learn how the company is benefiting:
Q: Please tell us about Arysta LifeScience.
Dustin Collins: Arysta LifeScience is one of the largest privately-owned agrochemical companies in the world. We have sales and services in more than 125 countries. We develop and register formulations for crop health. Our business model covers the entire value chain: product development, registration, formulation and packaging, and marketing and distribution. We stay flexible through varied distribution methods: working through distributors, retailers, crops, or directly to the growers, depending on the market.
Q: Why did you want to move to cloud-based services for messaging and collaboration?
Collins: Arysta LifeScience wanted to promote seamless global communication and collaboration; however, we had 34 different email environments. IT staff spent an inordinate amount of time maintaining this complex environment. Arysta decided that migrating communication and collaboration technologies to the cloud would be the least expensive way to standardize email service and promote better global communications. Originally, we chose Google Apps for Business, but employees in the pilot were unhappy with the UI [user interface] and they lost the ability to share calendars with colleagues using Exchange-based email and IT had more compatibility issues to deal with.
Q: Why did you choose Microsoft Office 365?
Collins: Arysta employees had never experienced a global collaboration platform, with online collaboration sites, document versioning, presence awareness, IM [instant messaging], seamless desktop videoconferencing; that sort of thing. Office 365 gave us email plus all these other tools in one package. It has a familiar UI, so change management wouldn’t be an issue. It has better offline functionality. It has a better mobility story. Our IT staff is familiar with Microsoft technologies. With Office 365, we could easily consolidate our Active Directory environment, another major project we needed to complete. And the support we got from Microsoft and InfraScience, our deployment partner, was fantastic. They demonstrated a real interest in helping us achieve our goals. We wanted to partner with a vendor that understands the needs of a global enterprise: Microsoft was the natural choice.
Q: How has Office 365 changed the way people work at Arysta LifeScience?
Collins: Today, employees have a whole suite of tools that they can use to connect with each other in ways they never could before. The tools are available on their desktops, laptops, or mobile devices. They are easy to use and require no training. Employees are intuitively integrating email and shared calendars, IM and presence services, and web conferencing, into their everyday work lives. They can find and connect with colleagues around the world. They can stay in touch with the office while they are on the road, or work from home. Office 365 is helping us build a global corporate culture. There’s a sense of excitement that employees have around being a part of a global organization: they are telling us that Office 365 has really changed their work lives.
Q: What other benefits are you seeing from Office 365?
Collins: We’ll be saving money. Decommissioning our complex email infrastructure will enable a significant annual savings in IT costs. We’ll be retiring 10 instances of Exchange Server and many file servers around the globe, saving on IT maintenance and avoiding future hardware replacement costs. We’ll save approximately [US] $50,000 annually in WebEx licenses and usage. And we will retire service contracts with 20 ISPs around the world, saving a further $100,000 annually.
The efficiency with which we operate our business depends on the speed with which we collaborate. Using Office 365 tools, we can collaborate and communicate in real time. That’s a huge leap forward in building a more responsive, agile global team that can respond more quickly to new opportunities. In the end, this is one of the most valuable, long-term benefits of choosing Office 365.