On the occasion of the end of support for Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server, which has been used on premises, Toyota Boshoku Corporation embarked on the consolidation of its internal information platform which has consisted of multiple systems since March 2004 when three companies were merged to form the current Toyota Boshoku. The company decided to employ a public cloud service as a long-term solution to flexibly and efficiently support the information platform of a company that has 87 offices in 5 regions around the world and continues to grow into a global company. A detailed comparison and examination resulted in the company selecting Microsoft Office 365.Situation
Toyota Boshoku Corporation (Toyota Boshoku) has the slogan: “Looking into the future, we will create tomorrow’s automotive interior space that will inspire our customers the world over.” The company continues to work on R&D and technological innovation challenges every day in order to create the next generation of automotive interior, filter and powertrain components.
In an attempt to promote efficient operations to achieve the status of a “truly global company,” Toyota Boshoku divided the world into five regions: North/Central/South America, China, ASEAN/Australia/India, Europe/South Africa, and Japan, and set up regional headquarters in each of the five regions to oversee the manufacturing operations in the respective regions. In line with the Toyota Boshoku Earth Charter established in 2004, the company is committed to environmental conservation efforts, including reducing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions.
On June 6, 2011, Toyota Boshoku embarked on the development of an information-sharing platform to connect its 87 offices around the world and began employing Microsoft’s public cloud service Office 365—a solution that also helps the company reduce CO2 emissions.
Toyota Boshoku’s Information System Division’s General Manager, Hiroki Tsunoda, explained the background behind the company’s decision to deploy the cloud service for their information-sharing platform. “The current Toyota Boshoku was formed as a result of a merger of three companies in October 2004. At the time of the merger, the three companies had different information-sharing platforms but they had not been consolidated even though the company had continued to grow into a global company. Therefore, we were not able to apply the appropriate governance over the group-wide information platform. We should have had to improve this situation and establish a unified information platform that could be referred to as “Toyota Boshoku Standard.”
The speed of business, including the consolidation of factories, is expected to increase in the future. To consolidate the information network infrastructure and increase the speed of business while responding flexibly to such circumstances, we cannot have all of the systems on our premises as before. I believe that the public cloud service Office 365 will be of great value in these circumstances.”
At present, Toyota Boshoku is employing Microsoft Exchange Online of Office 365. The company’s Information System Division’s IT Management Department General Manager, Shigeo Fukami, said that they have used on-premise Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server, but began considering the next mail system around the end of 2008 on the occasion that support for Microsoft Exchange 2000 Server was to come to an end.“At the beginning of the selection process, we took a little look at Gmail but a cloud service was not at the top of our priority list at that time. However, it is true that on-premise mail servers have various disadvantages, such as power outages caused by the regular maintenance of factories and operational burden of taking security measures.
Our top priority was to eliminate the influence of power outages and increase the availability of the mail system to 99.9%. It takes also a large amount of effort and cost to train the operators in-house who monitor the 24-hour-running system for 365 days. Accordingly, we considered ways to reduce the operation and management burden. In addition, if servers are not installed on premises, we can reduce the CO2 emissions of our company.”
Thus Toyota Boshoku compared various systems and services, including cloud services. As a result, the company decided to deploy Exchange Online of Office 365, which was highly evaluated in terms of all aspects, including mail capacity, security measures, support for mail operation specific to the company, and total cost. Solution
Toyota Boshoku’s Information System Division’s IT Management Dept. staff, Yukiko Harada, revealed that in an effort to improve the system operation efficiency and ultimately achieve a unified global information platform, the first cloud service the company took into consideration was Gmail of Google Apps. “It was the summer of 2010 that we took a look at Gmail the first time. The primary appeal was the 25-GB mail capacity per user and inexpensive service fee. However, we found that Gmail has some operational disadvantages for business use; for example, mail is organized by thread and folders cannot be created to organize mail. Therefore, we decided not to employ Gmail.”
Thereafter, we looked for a service that provides a 25-GB mail box, user-friendly interface, and functionality that suits the mail operations specific to Toyota Boshoku. We finally selected Exchange Online of Office 365 as it fulfilled all of the conditions.
Mail operation rules of Toyota Boshoku (some examples)
• Limit mail use to access from inside the company
• Add the superior of the sender to CC when sending mail to outside the company
At present, Toyota Boshoku operates an Exchange Online-based unified mail system in 19 offices in Japan, excluding affiliated companies. The system allows approximately 500,000 mail messages to be sent and received a day using Outlook® Web Apps (OWA), which lets users send and receive mail via a browser.
With assistance of Office 365 deployment partner, Toyotsu Syscom, Active Directory Federation Services is implemented to perform seamless ID authentication between offices and block access from outside the company. As for the rule to “add the superior of the sender to CC manually when sending mail to outside the company,“ the previous system checked whether the address of the superior was entered. However, after the deployment of Exchange Online, the Transport Rule function is used to automatically add the address of the superior.
These new functions allow the employees to observe the security guidelines of the company without being aware of them.Benefits
Changing the mail system to Exchange Online has had the following eight benefits for Toyota Boshoku.
Main benefits of deploying Office 365 Exchange Online:
The elimination of on-premise servers has made the factories free from the influence of system shutdowns caused by power outages, resulting in a substantial increase of availability.
Every employee can use a 25-GB large capacity mail box.
Address books and schedules can be shared among employees in 19 offices in Japan.
A significant reduction in the burden on IT engineers involved in security measures to guard against viruses and prevent spam mail.
The Transport Rule function allows the employees to observe the security guidelines without being aware of them.
The ability to archive mail with no capacity limit allows data that used to be stored locally by employees to be managed centrally. Rules regarding mail storage can be controlled centrally; for example, a mail storage period can be set arbitrarily.
Operation can be continued in the event of a disaster, because the servers are located in two sites, including one in Singapore.
Mail system collaboration with smartphones and slate PCs has been made possible, and is being tested by executives.
Of these various benefits, the one that brought the greatest change to the employees is the 25-GB mail box capacity, according to Yukiko. ”Our previous mail environment provided just a 50-MB mail box capacity per user. That was the initial specification when Exchange 2000 Server was deployed. However, with much larger attachment files these days, users have had to save and manage their mail every day locally. In contrast, we now have a 25-GB capacity so mail can be stored on the server. This saves the effort of organizing the mail and provides the benefit of enhanced search capabilities.”
Shigeo also told us the following. ”The previous environment could not be modified because it was installed on-premise. Accordingly, we had various issues to deal with, such as a shortage of capacity, aging servers, and antivirus software updates. Now we have no concerns about the server hardware. We feel more secure because we do not need to implement all of the security measures by ourselves as Microsoft professionals are now partly responsible for security measures.
As for the mail system itself, it has less corporate characteristics, so it is easier to use the cloud service. I believe that it was a very good decision to use Office 365 as the first step toward an environment where the latest technology can be used flexibly and for no extra cost.”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:
www.office365.comFor More Information
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For more information about Toyotsu Syscom products and services, visit the website at: www.tsyscom.co.jp
For more information about Toyota Boshoku Corporation products and services, call +81-566-23-6611 or visit the website at: www.toyota-boshoku.co.jpThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.