ABB—sparking innovation through the collective power of knowledge

Today’s post about Office 365 was written by Andy Tidd, global chief information officer at ABB.

Disruptive innovation is occurring throughout the power and automation sectors served by ABB—changes in the electric utility value chain, the growing importance of the digital grid, solar and wind power, collaborative robotics, the Internet of Things, services and people—and ABB is driving the change. We pride ourselves on innovation that keeps us at the forefront of technological change in power and automation so we can deliver solutions that make this world a more efficient, cleaner place. My challenge is to ensure that creativity and inspiration continue to flourish at ABB without any technological barriers. How do we meet this challenge for a global company with people working in roughly 100 countries? We connect people to enable collaboration, and for that we use Microsoft Office 365.

Obviously security and compliance are important aspects of the purchasing decision for any technology, and Office 365 was no exception. We deployed Office 365 to more than 125,000 of our employees around the world, at a rate of up to 5,000 seats a week. It was a successful example of IT maintaining daily operations while enabling a strategic business objective—fostering global communications and collaboration to drive innovation. But to be relevant, the project had to focus on business productivity and user experience—bringing people together to enable them to create new products that deliver additional value to our customers. So we listened to employees’ expectations for an agile, mobile, always connected work environment that erases geographical boundaries and opens the door to global collaboration. Office 365 helped us meet those expectations. Its flexible cloud-based services are designed to promote mobility and it works with PCs, tablets and mobile phones running on all the major operating systems.

ABB has been deployed on all Office 365 services for more than a year and it has proved itself as a suite of modern, intuitive collaboration tools that really support our business-led collaboration focus area. Yammer is everywhere facilitating teamwork. SharePoint Online is used extensively thanks to the simplicity of setting up Sites for project collaboration. Employees are empowered to share knowledge that addresses issues and goals across departments and geographies. Everyone uses the tools as a natural extension of how they work, creating teams, messaging each other and quickly starting up Sites to accelerate projects, foster innovation and get to market faster. And as people share their knowledge and exchange ideas, we build a knowledge base that’s discoverable and accessible to all.

Today, I have daily conversations with colleagues in countries around the world; it’s refreshing and helps me understand the challenges out there in our global communities. The more we know about our colleagues, the faster we can pull together to respond quickly to changes in the market.

I have been most gratified by the way the whole organization came together to achieve this global transformation. When you are going to affect 125,000 people across the company, it’s a big responsibility. We had dedicated teams that did a lot of planning up front. And Yammer proved itself as a perfect grassroots change agent; teams formed dynamically and worked alongside the implementation groups in each country. Conversations started all over the place, and this turned out to be a fantastic channel for end-user support. By the time the Office 365 deployment was complete, I wondered how we could have got on without this tool. The continual innovation that comes with Office 365 means that I can concentrate on enabling our businesses to more easily focus on their core business, which adds value for our company and for our customers.

What is the most lasting benefit of this transformation for ABB? With business-led collaboration, we are achieving the collective power of knowledge. Today, the sum of our talented individuals can be brought together to work toward improving customer satisfaction through innovative products, and to a large extent, that’s down to Office 365.

—Andy Tidd

The technologies involved

ABB fully deployed approximately 125,000 employees on Microsoft Office 365. All employees use Microsoft Exchange Online for web-based email and shared calendaring. Yammer and SharePoint Online are fully deployed for enterprise social and team-based collaboration using Sites. OneDrive for Business provides online storage for all employees, and everyone connects with each other using Skype for Business Online for instant messaging and presence awareness.