How to empower a mobile workforce

17 July 2013 | Michele Bedford Thistle, Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

When a workforce—like that of Germany’s Hamburg Port Authority (HPA)—is spread across more than 7,000 hectares, the desktop PC model doesn’t cut it anymore. Workers must be able to access their email programs, calendars, contacts, documents, and spreadsheets—without having to go back to their offices. That’s why HPA, and similar government organizations worldwide, are turning to mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones—loaded with familiar Microsoft Office 365 apps—to empower their workforces.

What can HPA teach us about making mobility a way of life? With 1,900 employees, working on both ships and land, HPA relied on a phased mobile strategy:

  1. Phase I:  Cloud-based client rollout - HPA started by installing Office 365 on 500 users’ devices in February 2013. The other 1,400 employees are being added in a second wave.
  2. Phase II:  Platform update - Online versions of Exchange and SharePoint were deployed for messaging and collaboration. HPA also is evaluating whether to add Lync Online for real-time communication capabilities, such as instant messaging, presence, and audio and videoconferencing.

With this approach to Office 365 adoption, HPA reaped great rewards in just a few months, including:

  • Enhanced productivity on land and water: HPA employees now communicate and collaborate more easily from anywhere in the port. They’re using the latest versions of familiar Office products on multiple devices, including new touch-enabled laptops, tablets, and smartphones—for noticeable increases in productivity.
  • Fewer disruptions during upgrades: HPA further boosted productivity with Click-to-Run and Office side-by-side capabilities, which enable them to pull up an older software versionand keep workingduring Office installs and upgrades.
  • 4x faster software deployment: Using a staging solution and Click-to-Run, HPA slashed the IT labor hours needed to test, install, and update versions of Office—time they can use for planning their next steps.
  • Improved emergency response: When there are winter storm surges in the harbor, HPA calls in extra emergency help. This help requires up-to-date computers, which may have been turned off since the last emergency. Now, because of streaming updates, HPA trusts that its Office applications will be ready for action almost immediately after being turned back on, greatly improving its storm surge response time.

For even more details on how to empower your mobile government workforce with Office 365, check out the full case study. Or watch our video case study for a quick, visual synopsis.

By tapping into emerging technologies for cloud, mobile, data analytics, and social solutions, cities like Hamburg are getting ahead of the massive challenges of global urbanization. They’re putting the principles of our CityNext Initiative into practice by transforming their operations and infrastructure—one of the crucial steps to global transformation that Microsoft’s Orlando Ayala, Chairman of Emerging Markets, identified in his recent post. It begins by empowering people first, and ends with a thriving, sustainable, livable city. Hamburg is well on its way.

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Michele Bedford Thistle
Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Michele Bedford Thistle | Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Michele is focused on sharing stories from government customers creating real impact for citizens, employees, economies, and students. She joined the worldwide team from Microsoft Canada, where she was also marketing lead for several technology start-ups.