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Microsoft 365

3M races forward to enable enterprise-wide collaboration

Today’s post about Office 365 ProPlus was written by Stephen Magnuson, manager of IT Infrastructure End User Services at 3M. 

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We’re very proud of our record of innovation here at 3M, and we are always striving to improve. 3M takes a very thoughtful approach to our IT deployments, balancing organizational disruption of new technology with user demand and the productivity enhancing potential it can bring. Microsoft delivered the tools to help us make our Office 365 ProPlus rollout fast and easy, even in a large, diverse environment like ours. Just four months after announcing our Office 365 direction to the company we’ve deployed Office 365 ProPlus to more than 60,000 employees and nearly 6,000 mobile devices.

Unlocking value through collaboration

3M has a culture of creative collaboration that inspires powerful technologies—we continuously work to introduce new products that solve our customers’ challenges. The next great idea can come from anywhere in the company and our organization is most successful when ideas can flow easily, whether that’s between our global R&D centers, or a salesperson sharing a customer process with others in the organization.

After investing in collaboration solutions for more than 10 years—with each team picking their favorite—we had disconnected systems. It was taking too long for us to make the connections we needed internally or with customers, vendors, and distributors. Now, we’ll be able to improve and accelerate those connections by using Office 365 across the organization.

Our Sales and Marketing organizations eagerly anticipated the ability to use Office 365 on multiple devices. They typically use tablets during customer visits, and spend a lot of time converting presentations to PDF files so they display correctly. With Office now available on our mobile devices, salespeople can deliver presentations from any device and not worry about document fidelity.

Making application compatibility a non-issue

We faced numerous application compatibility challenges when we moved from Office 2003 to Office 2007, and it took 18 months to complete that upgrade. Office 365 ProPlus provided a very different experience. After piloting the solution with key stakeholders we saw that cross version compatibility was far better than we had experienced in the past. There were a very small number of third-party applications we had to update overall.

We also made our lives easier by choosing to deploy Office 365 ProPlus in a side-by-side configuration with Office 2007. Keeping Office 2007 in place helped overcome the inevitable fear of change.  We knew that everyone could keep working no matter what happened during the deployment. We’ll go back and remove Office 2007 in a few months once everyone is comfortable.

Using self-service for rapid progress

When we first learned about Click-to-Run we knew we wanted to use it because it relieves IT of the responsibility for installs and updates and lets users manage them instead. We chose to use the System Center Configuration Manager and a user self-service portal, which let us save bandwidth by deploying from local distribution points while still delivering the streaming advantages of Click-to-Run.

We sent links to 5,000 early adopters across the company, and then began deploying in geographically distributed waves to minimize helpdesk and network impacts in a given region. Deployment was going so well, soon we were sending out 20,000 links per week. The self-service part of the rollout lasted about two months, and 48,000 employees installed Office on their own during that time span seeing up to 10,000 installs per week. After that we began push deployments to the remaining employees.

Our devices now automatically perform Office updates from the cloud without IT involvement. That’s one of the big benefits of cloud computing—IT can get out of the low-value business of delivering updates and focus on enabling our users to get the most out of new features. And the fact that Office 365 ProPlus updates from both a functional and a security aspect was a big selling point for us, because we will never have to do a major Office upgrade again.

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Managing change

Office 365 is an important project for the company, so we made sure that employees were prepared. We appointed an executive sponsor for the project to get the word out through a video. We also dedicated our collaboration centers to Office 365 for six months so that employees could come in anytime and see what they were getting through demos, literature, and classes.

With Office 365 ProPlus we didn’t see the need for mandatory training because our employees were familiar with Office and we felt they could begin using Office 365 ProPlus immediately. And we were right—we saw immediate uptake on day one. For employees that wanted to learn more we created tip sheets, e-Learning sessions, and 90-second task-specific videos.

Tracking adoption and benefits

Once most employees had Office 365 ProPlus, we made Lync Online available to everyone. The financial benefits of Lync Online along the new mobility features gave users plenty of incentive to make the move.

We also saw a huge uptake in OneDrive for Business usage, with about 10,000 active users. We have about nine terabytes (TB) of data on OneDrive today, and that is increasing at about half a terabyte per week. OneDrive is especially big with our Sales and Marketing teams because it lets those employees access documents anywhere. Documents from user’s PCs are automatically backed up to the cloud and synced across their devices, and can be easily and securely shared with other 3M employees and customers.

We promoted this project with the tagline, “Making decisions faster, improving the speed at which we do business.” Even though we are only a few months in, I can see the differences. I’m looking forward to getting Office 365 fully deployed with Exchange Online and SharePoint Online to see how much more value we can add.

Steve Magnuson


More about the company—3M is a science-based company with $32 billion in sales, employs 90,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries.