Racing ahead with collaboration, analytics and data security using Office 365

Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Mark Everest, IS development manager at Renault Sport Formula One Team.

Formula One races hang in the balance based on fractions of seconds. Teams do everything they can prior to race day to ensure optimal performance, relying on thousands of data points to fine-tune everything from tire pressure and suspension readings to aerodynamic devices and engine settings. During the race, drivers rely on pit crews to make further changes based on real-time information. Pit crews must move quickly and work seamlessly as a team, getting their drivers back on the race course in a matter of seconds.

We extend that “pit crew” mindset across the entirety of our business. Our goal is to operate as an agile, tightly integrated company, where our time and energy helps shave critical seconds off the race clock, rather than wasting that time with unnecessary steps or communications delays. We adopted the Microsoft Office 365 E5 suite to boost efficiencies, make the most of our data, and streamline cross-company collaboration—from geographically scattered team members perfecting race plans together to our international legal team quickly finding and assessing the relevance of discovered content.

When it comes to working together, we want our team members to stay both fully connected and fully mobile. So, we provide them with a range of flexible communication and collaboration options that keep them productive from anywhere. These are particularly important for our engineers, technicians and other employees who travel around the world. For instance, we’re looking at using Skype for Business Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling to minimize the cost and inconvenience of international calling by easily assigning local landline numbers to our traveling employees.

We’re gaining insight into our races and our business operations through Office 365. We collect and analyze billions of data points, using the intelligence we gain to improve everything from midrace adjustments to car manufacturing processes to driver training simulations. Our engineers and analysts now query and visualize that data themselves, so they get to the answers they need faster and share it in instantly understandable ways. Team members are even analyzing how they spend their time and identifying opportunities to improve productivity.

Of course, in addition to focusing on speed, pit crews work to ensure driver safety—and we definitely extend that emphasis on security to the rest of our business. Because our data lies at the heart of what we do, we have to trust that our data—especially our proprietary information—is protected against threats, which is why we’ve adopted Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection and Advanced Security Management. We’re now guarding against targeted attacks, including those related to email attachments and phishing URLs, and we have greater visibility into employees’ anomalous online activity, so that we can block it immediately and investigate.

Just as racing technology improves over time, we at Renault Sport Formula One Team are always looking for additional ways to trim waste and accelerate our progress. Time and again, we find that Office 365 has the built-in capabilities to address our needs as they change. For example, members of our Aero Department recently asked for a tool to simplify task sharing and tracking among staff when planning work on next year’s car. We looked to Office 365 and found an existing capability that helps teams organize, assign and collaborate on tasks and keeps team members informed about current status. Without having to buy a new license or develop an in-house solution, we were able to meet that department’s needs right away. I look forward to continuing to use Office 365 to support Renault Sport Formula One Team through many more races—and many more wins—in the future.

—Mark Everest

For the complete story, read the Office 365 case study.