Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) is in charge of managing the largest port in Germany, and second largest in Europe. HPA wanted to take advantage of new devices and form factors to boost employee mobility and remove issues that could impede the effectiveness
of employees working outside of the office. HPA chose to upgrade to Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus to provide employees the ability to be productive on virtually any device from anywhere in the port. In addition, by taking advantage of the new deployment capabilities
in Office 365 ProPlus, the IT staff was able to mitigate the risk of compatibility issues disrupting the business and reduce the time administrators spent managing the Office deployment by 75 percent.
Located in the city of Hamburg, Germany, Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) was established in 2005 to manage operations across 7,399 hectares of port territory. HPA owns the port land and is also responsible for waterside and landside infrastructure, navigational
safety of vessel traffic, port railway facilities, port property management, and the economic conditions within the port territory. During winter, it also manages public communication related to possible flooding from dangerous storm surges.
As the second-largest port in Europe, HPA has approximately 1,900 employees who work on ships and in offices across the harbor. Because HPA considers communications and access to information critical to its vast operations, it is constantly seeking innovative
solutions and technologies to improve information sharing and employee productivity.
||We are excited to explore the possibilities of moving to Office 365 as part of our strategy to improve communications and collaboration.
| Dr. Sebastian Saxe
Chief Information Officer, Hamburg Port Authority
The IT staff at HPA wanted to provide employees with more mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, and empower them to get work done regardless of whether they were at their desk. Stefan van Eijden, IT Infrastructure Manager at HPA, says,
“We felt like productivity was sometimes limited because employees had to return to their office desktop computers to check email and get work done. If we could provide them with modern devices equipped with familiar tools like Microsoft Office, they could
work from anywhere in the port.”
Employees were already very familiar with Microsoft Office as their standard productivity tools for email, calendar, documents, and spreadsheets. While most employees used Microsoft Office 2007, some were still using Microsoft Office 2003 due to specific
line-of-business system requirements. Historically, HPA delayed upgrading Office because it had concerns about how application compatibility issues could disrupt important business processes, such as invoicing, reporting, and sharing documents with external
partners. The IT staff needed weeks, or sometimes months, to test compatibility between a new Office version and many line-of-business applications required for port operations.
For previous desktop deployments, the IT staff used Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 to package, test, and deliver Office installs and updates. “We used SMS to distribute Office to the client, but the process still required substantial time
from our IT staff,” says van Eijden. “Also, our employees could not use their PCs for over an hour during the Office installation.”
To address the challenges it faced with upgrading Office, HPA worked with Microsoft and its longtime IT consulting partner, Blue Communications Software, to find a better solution. When HPA described that it wanted anywhere access to information and
help with accelerating Office upgrades, Microsoft suggested that HPA consider Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 brings together cloud-based versions of Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, and Microsoft Lync Online as a connected solution
with the Microsoft Office client applications in Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus. Office 365 ProPlus is the full client version of Office delivered as a service, and it includes all the Office applications that HPA employees are familiar with: Microsoft Outlook,
Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and more. Dr. Sebastian Saxe, Chief Information Officer at HPA, says, “We are excited to explore the possibilities of moving to Office 365 as part of our strategy to improve communications and collaboration. We believe upgrading
to Office 365 ProPlus was the best place to start.”
As of February 2013, approximately 500 employees at HPA installed Office 365 ProPlus on their multiple devices, trialing a range of new hardware form factors, such as touch-enabled laptops and tablets. The IT staff members were impressed with Office 365
ProPlus because it includes central administration controls and deployment capabilities that helped them accelerate installation and avoid compatibility issues. For example, HPA decided to deploy via a staging point on HPA’s network that automatically downloaded
updates from Microsoft and allowed the IT team to manage updates of Office 365 ProPlus to HPA devices. “We decided to stage Office updates on our own infrastructure so that our IT staff could run some quick tests before Office is pushed down to the clients,”
says van Eijden. “The staging point also reduced the risk of a spike on our Internet traffic.”
|Figure 1. Aerial view of the Port of Hamburg.
After the IT staff completes testing in the staging area, Office is updated via Click-to-Run, a streaming and virtualization technology built into Office 365 ProPlus, to pull the Office updates automatically from the staging point. van Eijden adds, “If we experience
any issues at that point, Office 365 ProPlus makes it easy for us to roll back to the previous version, without touching any client devices manually.”
During the initial installation of Office 365 ProPlus, employees took advantage of the streaming technology to begin using Office within minutes, even before the Office suite was fully installed on their computers. For future Office updates and patches,
the Office 365 service only streams the “delta” or difference between each binary package, saving network and Internet bandwidth. Click-to-Run also acts as an isolated environment for Office to run on employees’ computers, so they can use the latest version
of Office side-by-side with an older version of Office. IT can now rely on employees to handle compatibility testing with macros, plug-ins, and line-of-business applications, while piloting the new Office capabilities. If something is not compatible, employees
can easily open the older Office client and continue working with no disruptions to the business. “These deployment capabilities in Office 365 ProPlus are making our IT jobs much easier,” says van Eijden. “We can begin standardizing Office versions and still
meet the requirements for the older applications.”
||We believe Office 365 ProPlus helps us to enable our mobile strategy and will help our employees be more efficient.
| Dr. Sebastian Saxe
Chief Information Officer, Hamburg Port Authority
Employees are happy with Office 365 ProPlus. HPA’s executives are already seeing productivity improvements. “I use Office 365 ProPlus on my Windows 8 tablet device, and I like it very much. I can take notes in OneNote and save them to SharePoint or SkyDrive
so that my colleagues can review and respond in a short time. I can even work on these same notes from my personal iOS-based device with the OneNote mobile app,” notes Dr. Saxe. Employees can also improve communication with partners with new email and calendar
management capabilities in Outlook. With new Excel data analysis and visualization tools, such as Quick Analysis Lens, recommended charts, and Flash Fill, employees can easily analyze port economic conditions. They can also save Word documents as PDFs or open
PDF files in Word and easily reuse text, lists, and tables.
In addition, employees are able to install Office 365 ProPlus on up to five PCs or Macs. “In 2013, we plan to introduce more Windows 8 touch-enabled devices with Office so that employees can easily get things done wherever they are working in the harbor,”
says van Eijden. As employees switch devices, they can take advantage of Office roaming settings capabilities to easily access their recently used documents and spreadsheets right from the page or slide where they last left off. They also have access to their
own dictionary and theme settings.
For next steps, HPA, with support from Blue Communications Software, will complete the rollout of Office 365 ProPlus to the remaining 1,400 employees and deliver training where necessary. In parallel, it plans to explore a move to Office 365, which would
include a move from its Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 messaging solution to Exchange Online and from its Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 collaboration solution to SharePoint Online. It will also evaluate adding Lync Online for real-time communication capabilities,
such as instant messaging, presence, and audio and videoconferencing. In the meantime, employees can take advantage of the seamless interoperability between Office 365 ProPlus and its Microsoft server solutions.
“As we initiate these new IT projects, we want support from a partner with experience and know-how in implementing these innovative technologies,” says Dr. Saxe. “I feel very good about the support we have received from Microsoft and Blue Communications
As the first step toward adopting the cloud-based services in Office 365, HPA has opened new possibilities to improve employee communications and collaboration by upgrading to Office 365 ProPlus. HPA expects to improve mobile productivity, mitigate risk
of business disruption, reduce time supporting Office installs and updates, and improve emergency response.
Enables Mobility Strategy for Virtually Anywhere Access
HPA expects that its mobile strategy will help improve employee productivity and port operations. Because HPA deployed Office 365 ProPlus, employees no longer need to return to their offices to check email and access documents from a desktop PC. Instead,
employees can work with the latest version of Office across multiple modern devices and from wherever they need to get work done in the harbor. Based on early feedback from employees, HPA also anticipates they are happier at work with access to more devices
and innovative technologies. “We have a mobility strategy that includes investing in new PCs, tablets, and smartphones,” says Dr. Saxe. “We believe Office 365 ProPlus helps us to enable our mobile strategy and will help our employees be more efficient.”
Reduces Deployment Hours by 75 Percent
“With our staging solution and Click-to-Run in Office 365 ProPlus, we reduced the IT labor hours to test, install, and update Office versions by 75 percent,” says van Eijden. “We now have one package to test and everything else works automatically. We
no longer need to perform manual installs or roll-backs.” By reducing the time to manage Office, the IT staff has repurposed their time to focus on more strategic projects, such as HPA’s consideration to move to the Office 365 cloud-based services.
Reduces Business Disruption during Office Upgrades
By using Click-to-Run and Office side-by-side capabilities in Office 365 ProPlus, HPA reduced the risk of business disruptions caused by application compatibility issues during Office installs and upgrades. van Eijden says, “Employees are happy to test
for compatibility because they typically have a better idea than IT of how Office should work with macros, plug-ins, and line-of-business applications. If they find an issue, they can open the older version of Office on their client to complete a task and
then report the issue to IT.” In addition, employees are not disrupted when future Office updates are streamed down to their client devices.
Improves Emergency Response
HPA has some laptops that its augmented staff uses only when storm situations arise in the winter months. With Office 365 ProPlus, HPA can turn on these machines, after long periods of time of not being used, and the Office updates will stream in the
background and only update the deltas. “During these emergency situations, communications are vital and every minute counts,” says van Eijden. “We can now expect Office applications like Outlook and Excel to be up and running almost immediately after we turn
on the machines. This will help us improve the quality of our storm surge service.”
In summary, HPA decided to deploy Office 365 ProPlus because it wanted to provide the latest Office tools on a variety of devices to improve productivity and make its employees happy. Dr. Saxe concludes, “As we look forward and consider ways to improve communications
and collaboration, Office 365 ProPlus will play a central role in our IT strategy.”
Microsoft Office 365
The new Office provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications—plus email, calendar, videoconferencing, and your most current documents—on almost any device, from PCs to smartphones to tablets.
For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Blue Communications Software, visit the website at:
For more information about Hamburg Port Authority, visit the website at: