Democratizing a global business while building brand and customer loyalty

Today’s post on Office 365 was written by Mike McNamara, chief information officer at Tesco.

Democratizing a global business while building brand and customer loyalty 1In late 2014, I participated as a judge in a Tesco Hackathon. I’ve done this before, but this time there was something new about the competition. Instead of just asking developers to come up with an exciting new app in 24 hours, we used Yammer to involve more non-technical Tesco colleagues. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a group of young retail colleagues in the North of England got a team together and presented a great idea to make our Store Locator app more social and friendly; when you look up the location of the nearest Tesco, along with the usual opening hours and whether or not the store has a pharmacy, you get a glimpse into the human side of our company, with colleagues’ stories and pictures. It’s a brilliant idea that helps build strong customer response to our brand, and it all came about because of the new communication and collaboration tools in Microsoft Office 365 to the business.

This is just one example of why our new business productivity platform is so important to Tesco. The story goes back about 10 years, when Tesco began to evolve from a UK-based grocery store to a multi-national, multi-channel, general merchandizing business. We’ve grown from 500 stores in the mid-1990s to 7,599 retail stores and franchises today with 500,000 colleagues working for Tesco in 12 countries. While this transformation didn’t happen overnight, in the last three years, we have made great strides in fostering a collective pride in, and connection to, our global company. The result is more engaged employees who are empowered to improve the Tesco customer experience.

Today 48,500 colleagues use Office 365 to collaborate better in hundreds of ways, streamlining business processes and virtual teamwork across time zones and geographies. For example, take the complex supply chain and global coordination required to launch the spring line for our F&F clothing brand. Colleagues all over the world use SharePoint team sites to orchestrate the many steps it takes, from sourcing raw cotton in India, to sending it to another country for printing, and to another country for cutting and sewing, and to yet another country for adding in a zip. And because colleagues can get a lot of the background work done through online collaboration, we’re no longer flying buyers around the world, which was massively expensive and inefficient. Instead, we use SharePoint Online to expedite product design and manufacture on a huge scale to meet the retail deadlines of fashion’s major spring and fall seasons so our customers can choose from styles that are timely and relevant.

Retail colleagues use Yammer on their smartphones to create a fantastic network for communicating with peers in spontaneous, store-to-store dialogue. If you are a baker with 20 years’ experience and you want to share some new ideas about a better way to display cakes, you can share your thoughts and get feedback and make changes happen that result in a better customer experience. I get great satisfaction from the way that Tesco is erasing hierarchical communications and democratizing the business to the point where anyone can contribute.

Every day on my Yammer feed I see people talking, creating communities, solving problems, and sharing ideas—all with the goal to deliver more value to the customer. By using Office 365, everyone is equally able to turn that goal into reality.

—Mike McNamara

Read the full story to better understand how Tesco is using Office 365 to inspire employees and improve customer service.