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Marks & Spencer uses Office 365 to boost competitive edge in global business

Today’s post was written by Carl Dawson, IT director for Marks & Spencer.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has come a long way from the Penny Bazaar stall opened by Michael Marks in Leeds Kirkgate Market back in 1884. Today, we sell quality products at great value to 33 million customers through our 900 stores in the United Kingdom. The M&S brand is internationally recognized, with an additional 460 stores across 58 territories in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. And more than 7 million registered users do their online shopping through M&

To ensure we’re putting customers at the heart of our business, it’s really important that we’re agile and responsive. Three years ago, we embarked on a new journey to find the right technology tools to support a new business culture—modern, agile, connected and collaborative—that’s defined by a digital mindset.

We chose Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based productivity tools to enable this change in our business culture. Using Office 365 to change the way we work has far-reaching business value and impacts our head office, stores and distribution centers around the world. We call this new way of working “Smarter Working.” I would describe this as a real evolution inside M&S. There is no part of our business that won’t be improved by increased mobility and better collaboration, so we can get our work done faster and serve our customers better.

This change in culture that I’m seeing as I visit stores, where employees are using laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices to communicate with colleagues and the head office, not only speeds up decision-making but also increases engagement with the business and drives employee motivation. This is where Yammer really shines; opening up the lines of communication around the world with a social tool that’s familiar to everyone means that people’s voices are heard in a way that wasn’t possible before.

We are using Office 365 to communicate wherever we are, reducing the barriers of geography and time zones that can impede a global organization’s productivity. With Microsoft Office 2016 and OneDrive for Business, we store, access and share files in a secure way on any device, and dispersed team members collaborate in real time on documents to get work done faster. We use Skype for Business Online to quickly find people who are available for contact, to start a video conference and even to share desktops.

Employees are making decisions more quickly, collaborating more effectively with a wider set of people and engaging more fully with the business. Having the ability to access information and to work when and where they want to are all hallmarks of “Smarter Working” that deliver direct business benefits to M&S. Office 365 provides us with the tools to help our employees succeed at work, from the store to the back office. Now that everyone has the opportunity to contribute more to the company, the results will no doubt be stellar.

—Carl Dawson

For more, read the complete Marks & Spencer Office 365 story.

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