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Heinz—Global food leader savors new ideas and cuts costs with Office 365

Today’s post was written by Leandro Balbinot, chief information officer at the H.J. Heinz Company.

When most people think about Heinz, they think about ketchup. And they should—the H.J. Heinz Company sells 650 million bottles of it every year. But that’s only the beginning of our global portfolio; we also develop baby food, frozen entrees, sauces, and other products sold in more than 200 countries. Creating so many products and taking them to market around the world requires a great deal of close cooperation among production, operations, sales, and other teams that make up our company.

Coordinating those efforts across continents is no easy task. We wanted to help employees cut down their time on the road and make it easier for them to share best practices and solve business problems, regardless of their geographical locations. For instance, giving our sales force a heightened degree of mobile access—with comprehensive, up-to-date information at their fingertips—would enable them to be even more responsive to customers.

We also wanted to encourage employees throughout the company to develop new ideas, which is critical to maintaining our tradition of innovation at Heinz. I’d been working with our research and development teams to find better ways of bringing those ideas to the surface and sharing them. When we investigated Microsoft Office 365, we realized that adopting it would enhance our ability to promote collaboration and simplify the collection, selection, and dissemination of new ideas from employees all over the world. By using the communication and collaboration tools in Office 365, we could better identify and distribute best practices, enable employees to reach across boundaries, and make it easier to operate as one global company.

That’s important at Heinz. We aim to run as a unified entity, with our arms around all our data so that we make smart business decisions. Having a single, globally accessible source for all corporate information helps us achieve that objective, and it’s consistent with our belief in the value of simplicity. Through Office 365, we can give employees everywhere one set of tools to streamline their work and synchronize with their global counterparts. That set includes email, document sharing, conferencing, social media capabilities, and document storage.

As a US-based company, we have all sorts of data protection requirements and industry regulations to address if we want to keep doing business. Office 365 was the only product that offered the level of security and regulatory compliance that we require. We considered other cloud-based solutions—both comprehensive systems and niche services—but nothing else could meet our compliance needs the way that Office 365 can.

Following our migration to Office 365, employees will be able to reduce duplication of effort and increase productivity due to fast, flexible access to dispersed colleagues, better document version control, and the ability to pull together and link different kinds of data to specific subjects. We’re enabling meeting attendees to leave with clear action items that are tied to meeting notes and all related documents or blogs, so everyone will understand their own next steps and how those fit into key business objectives. They’ll know where to find all the information that they need, and they’ll be able to do so from any device.

In addition to fostering efficiency and effectiveness across all levels of Heinz, making the move to Office 365 will lighten the burden for our IT staff and help us reduce and avoid IT costs by an estimated 20 percent. Once they are freed from having to deal with feature upgrades and regular updates, our IT staff will also have more time to dedicate to strategic projects.

We’re working throughout Heinz to streamline and consolidate as many aspects of our business as possible. Adopting Office 365 perfectly supports our goals of reducing complexity, boosting employee productivity, promoting innovation, and eliminating unnecessary costs while continuing to serve our customers well.

Technical Summary:

The H.J. Heinz Company is adopting Microsoft Office 365 for more than 20,000 of its employees, all of whom will also take advantage of Exchange Online for email and calendaring. Employees will use Lync Online for full-service conferencing and instant messaging. They’ll also be able to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and discover new information by using Yammer, an enterprise social network. With SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, they’ll have the ability to sync files regardless of their location and optimize data storage. Heinz is making the most of flexible licensing and providing Office 365 ProPlus—the familiar Office desktop suite—and Office Online to employees who need access to documents while they’re mobile.

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