Microsoft has announced one of its biggest customer wins – an agreement with General Electric to deliver Microsoft’s Cloud productivity suite, Office 365, to GE’s more than 300,000 employees across over 170 countries.
Key benefits to GE include:
- A comprehensive and integrated set of productivity capabilities including email, Skype for Business calling and meetings, real-time document co-authoring, and team collaboration.
- Extensibility of the Office 365 platform, which will enable GE to enhance the capabilities of critical line-of-business applications by connecting to Office 365 through open APIs.
- IT controls and security capabilities that enable GE to provide employees with secure access to information and full productivity capabilities on a multitude of devices, while adhering to corporate policies, industry regulations and legal requirements.
A blog post in the Business matters section of the Microsoft website fills in the background:
"According to GE’s Chief Technology Officer Larry Biagini, the idea of upgrading every few years — and taking a year or more to do so — is not sustainable for such a large company. So the fact that Office 365 is continually updated without the need for a massive upgrade cycle makes it a strategic move for him and his team.
“'We wanted to get out of an environment where upgrades were a point-in-time decision, and that cadence of being able to take advantage of new functionality is something that we believe we’re going to get huge advantage from,' he says.
"Beyond the prospect of continuous innovation, GE wanted as much Cloud capability as possible, as well as the ability to take advantage of modern capabilities like real-time, multi-user co-editing; Skype for Business for meetings, IM, voice and video calls; and Yammer — all of which enable group collaboration and increase the productivity of the entire company.
"Office 365 will allow work to flow in a seamless way, breaking from the traditional paradigm of siloed applications and cut-and-paste workflow integration.
“'That integrated experience is something we’re looking forward to,' Biagini says.
"GE’s size and diversity of businesses bring unique challenges and opportunities. With a wide slate of both in-house tools as well as software from vendors like Box, GE’s productivity suite must be able to work seamlessly across many different platforms. It also must be able to work equally well with varying local infrastructures, from an office building in North America, to a wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, to an oil rig in the middle of the North Atlantic.
"According to Biagini, no single vendor could hope to serve all the needs of a company with so many variables — and that, he says, is one of the biggest reasons GE is deploying Office 365 across all of its worldwide operations.
“'A one-size-fits-all solution is unrealistic for a company of our size, so the interoperability and flexibility of the platform, the ability to integrate with other tools was an extremely important piece,' Biagini says. 'Some of our solutions may not come from Microsoft, but the ability to integrate has to come from Microsoft.'”