Lantmännen is one of the largest groups in the agriculture, machinery, energy, and food industries in the Nordic region. In 2006, Lantmännen implemented IBM Lotus Notes as its first central mail service. It later switched to a Microsoft unified communications solution, but as the company grew, it found that its costs for storage, backups, and administration were increasing rapidly. Lantmännen wanted to find a way to provide consistent communications services for its employees without incurring additional costs, so it decided to transition to Microsoft Office 365, which combines the familiar Office desktop with the next generation of cloud-based communication and collaboration services. By using Office 365, Lantmännen found that it could reduce costs and administration while also providing the latest capabilities to help its employees communicate more effectively.Situation
Lantmännen operates throughout the entire food-processing chain, taking responsibility from field to fork. Lantmännen is owned by more than 36,000 Swedish farmers. It has more than 10,000 employees, operates in 18 countries, and has a turnover of SEK 36 billion (U.S.$5.7 billion).
Lantmännen is committed to building a sound and healthy society and is active in every part of the value chain. Examples of Lantmännen brands include AXA, Kungsörnen, Start, Hatting, Regal, and Kronfågel.
In 2006, Lantmännen implemented the first central mail service for all companies within the group, bringing together businesses that were using disparate communications solutions. To help standardize communications across the organization, it deployed IBM Lotus Notes and Domino for messaging and collaboration. In addition, it used IBM Sametime for instant messaging and presence. When its licensing agreement with IBM expired, Lantmännen deployed a Microsoft unified communications solution that included Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. To access email, employees used the Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 messaging and collaboration client or Outlook Web Access. For collaboration, Lantmännen deployed Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which it also used to provide the company’s intranet site.
||Including our current operating costs, the payback to the company for moving to Office 365 will not even take a year.
In its effort to standardize communications for employees, Lantmännen realized that its operating costs were continuing to increase. “We were constantly migrating systems, and those systems had different requirements,” explains Linda Westerback-Litzén, Service Manager for End-User Services at Lantmännen. “With Exchange Server, we planned implementation of a third-party archive solution from Symantec and we imposed mailbox quotas, but our backup costs kept increasing.” With the mailbox quotas, employees had also started storing messages in Outlook Data Files (.pst files), which occupied valuable space on local and shared network drives. In addition, with its on-premises email solution, the company was not able to provide email accounts or instant messaging capabilities for employees who do not have dedicated computers, such as production workers.
Part of the challenge for Lantmännen was the fact that it had owned an IT company that helped with migrations and administration but sold the IT company to an IT services company in 2010. After the sale, cost models changed. To alleviate some of the administration and costs, Lantmännen considered having the IT services company host its email solution. However, that company wanted to migrate the email solution to a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. Although moving to a hosted messaging service would alleviate some administration burden for Lantmännen—for example, it would no longer need to worry about storage and effort for backups or imposing mailbox quotas—the company would still need to maintain its other communications and collaboration solutions on-premises. Instead, Lantmännen decided to consider moving to a cloud-based service that could provide the messaging, communications, and collaboration services it sought, without the additional overhead and administrative costs.Solution
Lantmännen liked the familiar user interface and interoperability that the Microsoft solutions offered, so it joined the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program to pilot Microsoft Office 365, which combines the familiar Office desktop with the next generation of cloud-based communication and collaboration services. To prepare for the transition to Office 365, the company deployed Active Directory Federation Services in a load-balanced configuration, to enable single sign-on, so that employees could use their existing credentials in Active Directory to access Office 365 and other on-premises solutions. In addition, it used the Microsoft Online Services Directory Synchronization tool to maintain user and group configuration information in Office 365.
With the transition to Office 365, Lantmännen will migrate employee mailboxes to Microsoft Exchange Online, which is based on Exchange Server 2010 technology. Westerback-Litzén explains, “We have to transition different types of employees from different organizations, so we will migrate the largest employee mailboxes first, which will help us gain experience with the migration and how best to transition the rest of our employees.” With Exchange Online, employees will have a 25-gigabyte mailbox to store data. The company also plans to test the personal archive feature so that employees with larger mailboxes can store messages for long-term retention. Additionally, Lantmännen will create kiosk subscriptions for employees who do not have dedicated computers so that they can receive important company messages.
The company also likes the fact that, through Microsoft Office Web Apps, it can offer access to Office applications to more employees. “Because we can use Office Web Apps, we will not have to install the full Microsoft Office suite on every computer, and employees will have access to upgrades immediately,” says Westerback-Litzén.
Through Microsoft Outlook 2010 or Outlook Web App, employees can also take advantage of other capabilities, such as Conversation View, which groups together messages from a single conversation. Employees can then quickly and easily identify the most recent messages, view the chain of responses, and see a preview of each response in a conversation when they open individual messages. With MailTips, employees are automatically alerted—before they click the Send button—whether a message recipient is out of the office, an attachment is too large to send, or a distribution list contains external recipients.
||Our employees should not have to worry about the technology. With Office 365, they have a stable solution that offers them access from anywhere.
Service Manager for End-User Services, Lantmännen
For more instant communication, employees will use Microsoft Lync Online, which provides enhanced versions of the communications capabilities provided by Office Communications Server 2007 R2—presence, instant messaging, robust conferencing, and desktop sharing. “We really believe in instant messaging and presence, which have helped us to collaborate and to reduce travel. By using Office 365, we can provide Lync for everyone,” says Westerback-Litzén. Lantmännen will also enable open federation to help employees communicate with partners or customers who also use Lync or who use public instant messaging services. In addition, with the interoperation between Exchange Online and Lync Online, employees can view presence information, start chat sessions, or initiate conference or desktop-sharing sessions through Outlook 2010.
Lantmännen will maintain its on-premises deployment of SharePoint Server 2010, but it will supplement that deployment with Microsoft SharePoint Online in a hybrid environment. “We plan to move some of our team sites to the cloud, but we will keep our SharePoint Server on-premises for more complex applications,” says Westerback-Litzén. With SharePoint Online, the company also plans to share information with external partners.Benefits
By transitioning to Office 365 cloud-based services, Lantmännen can upgrade its messaging and communications services, without increasing administration and overhead costs. It can also provide unified communications capabilities for more employees, which helps to improve communication across the organization and with customers and partners.
By using Office 365, Lantmännen can significantly reduce administration, backup, and support costs while it increases service for its employees. In addition, it will avoid the expense of upgrading both its messaging and communications solutions to provide the latest capabilities for employees. “Including our current operating costs, the payback to the company for moving to Office 365 will not even take a year,” explains Anders Westling, CTO at Lantmännen.
With cloud-based services, Lantmännen will also receive the latest upgrades from Microsoft without incurring additional costs or disrupting employees. “With Office 365, we will always have the latest version, directly and faster than we could provide on-premises, without any employee impact,” says Westerback-Litzén.Improves Communication
Lantmännen is happy that it can provide more employees with access to messaging and communications capabilities that will make it easier for them to connect with colleagues. “With Lync Online, people in our agricultural sector who previously had access only to email are excited to network with partners at other companies,” says Westerback-Litzén.
Employees can take advantage of additional capabilities, such as Conversation View in Outlook 2010 or Outlook Web App, that make communication more efficient. Additionally, employees can more easily communicate with partners and customers by using Active Directory Federation Services to access Office 365. With the Office 365 kiosk subscriptions, people who previously had no access to email or calendars will now have access to both capabilities through Outlook Web App. “Our employees should not have to worry about the technology,” says Westerback-Litzén. “With Office 365, they have a stable solution that offers them access from anywhere.”Provides a Competitive Advantage
By providing the latest technologies for employees, Lantmännen believes it can attract—and keep—those who are accustomed to using technology to find answers and develop ideas, which will ultimately help the business overall. “New employees are used to using web applications and social networking tools,” explains Westerback-Litzén. “With Office 365, we will be more attractive to prospective employees, and we can keep the people we hire by offering them the latest technology.”
Provides Secure, Reliable Service
Lantmännen chose a Microsoft cloud-based solution for unified communications because it knew that Microsoft could offer the security and service that the company required. “With the service level agreement Microsoft provides, we can ensure that employees will not experience disruptions during upgrades or other maintenance,” says Westerback-Litzén.
By moving messaging services to the cloud, Lantmännen will not need to worry about storing and backing up large amounts of data, and it will not need to worry about employees storing large .pst files on the network. Instead, all messaging data will be stored in the cloud and backed up regularly by Microsoft. The company can also take advantage of premium anti-spam and antivirus protection; IT-level phone support 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and a financially backed, 99.9 percent uptime service level agreement.Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.
Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement that guarantees 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.
For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:For More Information
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