Publicerad: 5/21/2013
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Arysta LifeScience Agroscience Company Boosts Agility, Lowers IT Costs with Online Communication Tools

Arysta LifeScience is an agrochemical company with sales and service in more than 125 countries. Until recently, it supported 34 email solutions around the world. Arysta LifeScience wanted to standardize on a cloud-based email service and initially chose Google Apps for Business. However, employees were unhappy with the user interface and IT struggled with compatibility issues. Arysta LifeScience reversed the Google deployment and introduced Microsoft Office 365 to offer employees a suite of business productivity tools that were more familiar and added capabilities for global collaboration. The company gained additional computing capacity at less than one-third of legacy costs. It also saved US$50,000 in annual web conferencing expenses. Employees use the tools to work more productively as a global team, and as a result, Arysta LifeScience is a more cohesive and productive organization.

Situation
With a focus on emerging economies and niche markets, Arysta LifeScience develops, distributes, and markets agrochemical solutions. More than three-quarters of the organization is involved in bringing new products to market, from supply chain specialists, to development and registration teams, to more than 1,700 sales and marketing representatives working with growers.

Arysta LifeScience began with the merger of two Japanese companies in 2001. Following numerous corporate acquisitions in countries around the world, Arysta LifeScience is now among the top 10 crop protection companies in the world. “We operate in the agroscience industry and our business model is around developing and registering formulations for crop health,” says Lalit Panda, Head of Global IT at Arysta LifeScience. “We are one of the largest privately owned companies in this industry. We are very interested in emerging markets where we find very robust opportunities to grow.”

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* Arysta employees are very excited about using Office 365 to interact with colleagues and be part of a global company. As a result, Arysta LifeScience is a more agile, competitive organization. *

Dustin Collins
Head of Global IT Infrastructure,
Arysta LifeScience

*
Complex Email Infrastructure

Along with its globally dispersed operations, Arysta LifeScience had a decentralized IT infrastructure with disparate Active Directory Domain Services deployments in each country. Active Directory is the directory service that is an integral feature of the Windows operating system. Employees around the world communicated by using 34 different email solutions, ranging from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to various versions of Microsoft Exchange Server messaging and collaboration software.

To facilitate communications, Arysta LifeScience implemented Postini Intelligent Routing to direct incoming and outgoing mail to and from the company’s email environments as if they shared the same namespace: arystalifescience.com. However, it was unreliable and some countries refused to use it.

“With 34 domains in this configuration, you can imagine the overhead required to maintain this complex scenario for a very lean global IT team,” says Dustin Collins, Head of Global IT Infrastructure at Arysta LifeScience. “IT staff members had to integrate Active Directory and email environments through scripting. It was a laborious process to provision new users. Arysta was spending approximately 500 person hours, including third-party IT resources, and spending [US]$50,000 a year just to maintain the Postini environment.”

Simplify IT Environment
Arysta LifeScience wanted to simplify its IT environment and consolidate its Active Directory infrastructure to promote cohesive global operations and reduce IT costs. However, its first priority was to standardize on a single email solution so that the company could function as a more connected, efficient organization.

In 2011, Arysta LifeScience introduced Google Apps for Business, reasoning that a cloud-based solution would allow the company to retire its complex email infrastructure. As a first step, it introduced Gmail to approximately 300 users around the world. Almost immediately, the company experienced change management issues. Employees were not familiar with the Google user interface, and it became challenging to perform their jobs. Problems with compatibility surfaced early; people in the Google adoption group could no longer share calendaring functionality with colleagues who were still using the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client. “Instead of simplifying email, the company had added another unfamiliar solution to an already complex environment,” says Collins.

Collins and Panda were faced with a challenging IT environment. “The CEO made it clear that my first priority was to solve the email issue so people could see each other’s calendars and communicate seamlessly,” says Panda. “My directives were to decide whether we should continue with the Google rollout or choose another cloud-based communications service.”

Before they chose a solution, Panda and his IT team took the opportunity to think more holistically about the company’s communication and collaboration needs. Arysta LifeScience did not have an instant messaging (IM) solution, nor did it possess a global document management platform. Different countries were using different versions of Microsoft Office. The company used the WebEx web conferencing solution from Cisco, but there was no computer-to-computer calling through voice over IP telephony. Employees did not have any presence awareness capabilities to discover colleagues’ availability.

“While the initial focus was to standardize on an email service, I saw that the business had never experienced a global collaborative platform or the benefits that entails,” says Panda. “I kept that in mind when I evaluated our options.”

Solution
Arysta LifeScience decided to replace Google Apps for Business with Microsoft Office 365, which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with the power of Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online into one connected, online solution. “We chose Office 365 because we felt that an engagement with Microsoft offered much more than just an email service,” says Panda. “Microsoft technologies would be a lot easier for the IT team to integrate into our environment and a lot easier for employees to use, as they are already familiar with the Office productivity tools. Microsoft meets the needs of an enterprise, with the right levels of privacy and data security better than Google, which is more consumer-oriented. And, with Office 365, you get a complete suite of collaboration services including IM, so everyone was enthusiastic about the decision.”

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* The CEO made it clear that my first priority was to solve the email issue. My directives were to decide whether we should continue with the Google rollout or choose another cloud-based communications service. *

Lalit Panda
Global Head of IT, Arysta LifeScience

*
Reasons for Choosing Office 365

Before deciding to deploy Office 365, Panda and Collins evaluated total cost of ownership (TCO). While Google was less expensive, Office 365 would enable the company to eliminate third-party tools and acquire the latest version of Microsoft Office as part of its subscription, which would significantly reduce the cost of standardizing employees’ business productivity software. Videoconferencing is not covered by the Google service level agreement, so the company would have had to keep its expensive WebEx solution. Lync Online and the Microsoft Lync client and Lync mobile client support audio and video calls and online meetings through PCs, browsers, and mobile devices.

“In Japan, we were paying upwards of $250 per user, per year, for email,” says Panda. “We were paying a lot of money to manage our existing infrastructure. Google came in with a very aggressive price, but from an overall perspective, we justified our TCO based on our existing costs.”

The company also wanted to provide tools that would boost its employees’ productivity, so the better offline experience that comes with Office 365 was a significant factor. “If we had moved everyone to Google, the ability to work offline would have been limited,” says Collins. “When employees travel, or when they are working in countries with limited bandwidth, a seamless offline/online experience is important for maintaining productivity.”

Providing better support for mobile employees is an important way to ensure that everyone can be as productive outside the office as they are at their desks. With Office 365, Arysta LifeScience employees can use Exchange ActiveSync protocol technology to sync their email messages and documents between their mobile devices and their computers. “We were never able to secure data on our mobile devices, so we took this opportunity to enforce device passwords. From a security perspective, Exchange ActiveSync was a benefit of Office 365,” says Collins.

By choosing Office 365, Arysta LifeScience could easily consolidate its Active Directory environment. Google Apps requires separate utilities to work with Active Directory and to enable single sign-on authentication. Office 365 easily federates with a single global Active Directory environment and works seamlessly with Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2, which Arysta LifeScience plans to deploy. “Office 365 acted like the catalyst for our Active Directory consolidation project and, while this created a little more work upfront, we are building a global infrastructure with lasting benefits,” says Collins.

Strategies for a Global Deployment
Arysta LifeScience purchased 2,500 subscriptions to Office 365 and, following an introduction from Microsoft, engaged InfraScience, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies, to help with the global deployment. Migrating more than 2,500 users around the world from 34 disparate email environments was a daunting project. “InfraScience has been a technically proficient, excellent partner. They managed the project with discipline, sticking to the budget and delivering on time,” says Panda. “Throughout the deployment, Microsoft has been very supportive and the Office 365 team provided excellent responses to our technical questions.”

The InfraScience team’s first task was to categorize the many different email environments at Arysta LifeScience, grouping similar environments into four major categories and creating a migration strategy for each. “We went into full-scale migration and began cutting over major locations every Friday starting in late October 2012,” says Michael Hammock, Office 365 Technical Lead at InfraScience. InfraScience used the Windows PowerShell 3.0 command-line interface and scripting language to create users in Active Directory and used Migration Wiz to migrate the data from Gmail and the Exchange servers to Office 365.

InfraScience handled the compatibility scenario by using the Office 365 shared namespace feature. “We configured namespace coexistence between Office 365 and the Google intelligent routing solution so that any email message that didn’t end up in Office 365 would get relayed into Postini to be distributed to the appropriate legacy system,” says Hammock. “As we migrated groups of users, we redirected their email to Office 365.”

Arysta LifeScience has nearly completed its migration to Exchange Online and is federating its newly consolidated Active Directory infrastructure with Office 365 user accounts. Next, it plans to deploy SharePoint Online so that it can store corporate data in highly secure, online collaborative spaces.
“As part of the project, we deployed Lync Online to the company’s entire global team,” says Hammock. “Before long, they were wondering how they got along without it.” Employees also downloaded the Microsoft Lync client and are using the IM and presence features to collaborate with colleagues.

“When we look at what we have accomplished with the Office 365 deployment versus what we accomplished with Google Apps, it’s amazing,” says Collins. “We have nearly completed deployment to 2,500 users, compared to approximately 300 Gmail accounts in the same time frame. Change management wasn’t an issue because the user interface looks and acts the same; everyone is excited to use the new tools.”

Benefits
By deploying Office 365 to the entire organization, Arysta LifeScience can support communication and collaboration on a scale the company had never achieved. The immediate benefit is a sense of belonging to an organization with a stronger corporate culture than it had before. Arysta LifeScience is no longer a collection of disparate entities in different countries, it’s a globally connected organization where employees can instantly find and communicate with one another.

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* If we had moved everyone to Google, the ability to work offline would have been limited. *

Dustin Collins
Head of Global IT Infrastructure,
Arysta LifeScience

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“Arysta employees are very excited about using Office 365 to interact with colleagues and be part of a global company,” says Collins. “As a result, Arysta LifeScience is a more agile, competitive organization. We now have tools that empower employees to work productively—while saving money on routine IT maintenance costs.”

Empowers Staff to Work Productively
While comparing Google Apps and Office 365, Panda and Collins quickly saw the productivity-enhancing potential of the services within Office 365, such as effortless transition between offline and online working environments; flexible, remote access to data stored in the cloud from any device; and real-time communications with colleagues.

“Google Apps was difficult to use and lacked the capabilities our employees had grown accustomed to in Office,” says Panda.

“We began by introducing a new email service, but it’s the real-time collaboration—the access to people and information from anywhere on any device—that made the difference,” adds Collins. “People are telling us that Office 365 has really changed their work lives.”

According to Collins, everyone is impressed by Lync Online. “Presence capabilities, social awareness through the Lync client, real-time interaction over video, improved productivity in global meetings—this product has had more impact on communications and productivity at Arysta than anything else.”

Reduces IT Costs
Arysta LifeScience expects to save money by deploying Office 365. The company originally intended to deploy Google Apps so that it could decommission the Postini infrastructure, which cost approximately $50,000 annually in IT costs. Now, with Office 365, that goal has become a reality.

“By retiring Postini and transitioning to Office 365, we can reduce management costs for our on-premises Exchange Server solutions,” says Collins. “We will be decommissioning approximately 10 instances of Exchange Server and many file servers around the globe, saving many hours of routine maintenance and avoiding future hardware replacement costs of $75,000. We’ll save approximately $50,000 annually in WebEx licenses and usage. And we will retire service contracts with 20 ISPs around the world, saving a further $100,000 annually.”

“With Office 365, we made substantial savings, in some cases additional capability at less than a third of legacy costs,” adds Panda.

Raises the Profile of IT
As Office 365 makes it possible for the IT staffers to dismantle complex infrastructures, they are acknowledged for saving the company money, but more importantly, they can devote more time to strategic IT projects. “We are in the business of crop science and making products that help growers stay successful,” says Collins. “Now that we have Office 365 in place, we can spend more time delivering extra value to the business and less time on routine infrastructure maintenance.”

Arysta LifeScience has already recognized the contribution of IT to the business through its annual business unit excellence awards, selecting the Global IT Infrastructure team for the Globe award for the Office 365 deployment.

Enhances Business Agility
According to Panda, there is “no question” that Arysta LifeScience is a more competitive and agile organization since it deployed Office 365. “With Office 365, we’re able to interact and engage with each other more, allowing us to efficiently and quickly respond to new opportunities,” says Collins. “As a result, we’re a more agile, competitive organization.”

For Arysta LifeScience, the new tools improve efficiency and collaboration among globally dispersed employees who can now act as a unified team.

“Efficiency comes from better communication and collaboration and anywhere, anytime access to data,” concludes Collins. “The efficiency with which we operate our business depends on the speed with which we collaborate. Interacting through video chats and sharing our calendars, presentations, and expertise, these capabilities are made possible by Office 365. They tie us together as an organization so that we can quickly respond to new opportunities—one of the most valuable, long-term benefits of choosing Office 365.”

Microsoft Office 365
The new Office provides anywhere access to your familiar Office applications—plus email, calendar, video conferencing, and your most current documents—on almost any device, from PCs to smartphones to tablets.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:

www.office365.com   

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:
www.microsoft.com  

For more information about InfraScience products and services, call (866) 485-0815 or visit the website at:
www.infrascience.com

For more information about Arysta LifeScience products and services, call (81) (3) 3547-4500 or visit the website at:
www.arystalifescience.com/eng-us  
Översikt



Företagsstorlek
3400 anställda

Företagsinformation

Based in Tokyo, Japan, Arysta LifeScience develops and distributes chemical solutions for the agroscience market. It has 40 offices supporting 125 countries and employs 3,400 people.


Utgångsläge

To standardize its email service, Arysta LifeScience initially chose Google Apps for Business. However, employees reported a downgrade in user experience and IT struggled with change management.


Lösning

Arysta LifeScience replaced Google mail with Microsoft Office 365. Its familiar interface and online collaboration services worked with its IT infrastructure and was readily adopted by staff.


Fördelar

  • Empowers staff to work productively
  • Reduces IT costs
  • Raises the profile of IT
  • Enhances business agility


Program & tjänster
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010
  • SharePoint Online

Industri(er)
Life Sciences, Chemicals; Oil & Gas, Mining

Land
Japan

Språk
English

Partner
InfraScience