Quintiles quickly transforms into global modern workplace with Office 365

Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Sharmila Bristol, senior director of Digital Technology Platform at Quintiles, a global biopharmaceutical services company.

Quintiles quickly transforms pro pixWe are a forward-thinking, innovative company. We conduct hundreds of clinical studies all over the world that are transforming clinical development, improving patient outcomes and maximizing commercial value. We help life sciences companies produce successful clinical therapies and medications through clinical trial execution, advisory services, patient engagement and lab support.

We’re always looking for the next big pharmaceutical breakthrough and the best way to harness new capabilities to enhance health and well-being. That goes for our internal operations, too. Quintiles is growing quickly, and until recently, we had trouble with our collaboration services keeping pace with our rapid growth and giving employees what they needed to work effectively as part of a global team.

That’s changed now that we switched to Microsoft Office 365, which we chose because it supports mobility, security, business agility and seamless collaboration. Once we made the decision, we were eager to get new capabilities into our employees’ hands as quickly as possible. So rather than migrating one service at a time like our peers, we committed to moving to all the Office 365 services in parallel, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype for Business Online, OneDrive for Business, Office 365 ProPlus and Yammer. As you can imagine, it required detailed planning and significant effort with flawless execution to migrate all these solutions to the cloud simultaneously without impacting email and other critical services for more than 36,000 people. I’m very proud to say our stellar IT organization accomplished it all in just 18 months! We went from an on-premises infrastructure with capacity limitations and disconnected collaboration systems to a unified, cloud-based environment where employees work seamlessly together across locations, on any device, using communication modes that they are comfortable with.

We’re fortunate to be a knowledge-based company with a sophisticated, forward-thinking workforce that is open to change. We provided a comprehensive, multi-faceted, resource-laden training program and put additional support staff in place to make sure our employees would be comfortable with the new way of working—after all, if they were slow to adopt the new capabilities, it would hinder both the speed and benefits of our planned transformation. Every week, we analyzed our Service Desk tickets and support data to review trends and also identify hot spots where users needed help navigating the new services.

We produced mixed-media training materials, with printed brochures and “quick start” cards for each Office 365 component, and we included online versions in seven languages so that support staff worldwide would have resources at their disposal. We also had IT staff available at our major offices—essentially our own expert tech squad—to answer Office 365–related questions and provide hands-on training. Employees who don’t work at one of those offices had access to a “Productivity Hotline.” And we used our new Yammer enterprise social media capabilities to set up an Office 365 Experts group that monitored and engaged employees across the globe. We really took into consideration all the unique needs of our users to ensure a smooth transition.

In addition, we have a nice cross-section of early adopters who we dubbed “business change champions” and who helped us work out the kinks to pave the way for broader adoption. We also identified employees who were short on time, who traveled heavily, and who needed specific training—such as executives and their administrative assistants—and delivered onsite and online sessions for them. Those sessions were so well-received that we’ve been asked to provide a regular series to discuss and educate users on more advanced capabilities.

With very careful, advanced planning and exceptional teamwork worldwide, we’ve been able to truly transform the way our 36,000 employees are working with each other and our customers on Office 365, bringing people and knowledge together for a healthier world.

—Sharmila Bristol

For more on Quintiles transformation read the full story.