Streamlining Processes with Microsoft Solutions

Zack Hicks, CIO & Group VP, Toyota North America
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Microsoft’s Cloud Services Improved Collaboration

Being part of a global company with multiple affiliates makes collaboration difficult. Our associates, particularly executives, are always on the go and demand access from anywhere across multiple devices. Microsoft’s cloud services have increased Toyota’s productivity by enabling end-users to work from anywhere at any time.  Additionally, Lync’s online meetings with screen sharing and video capability have helped us share our work, get feedback, and ultimately build a stronger work product across the enterprise. Windows 7 and Internet Explorer—particularly the new IE11 Enterprise Mode–have also helped streamline this process.

Change Management User-Friendly Ecosystem

Organizational change management played a bigger role in adoption than we originally anticipated and have moved to the forefront of our current adoption activities. We wanted the resulting ecosystem to be to as user-friendly as possible. To achieve this, Toyota put considerable effort into technology uplift and adoption to make the process streamlined and easy to adopt. Microsoft’s technology roadmap suggests this level of integration will continue to deepen and meet our needs.

“Microsoft’s cloud services have increased Toyota’s productivity by enabling end-users to work from anywhere at any time”

Microsoft’s Lync and Sharepoint

We have extended Lync and SharePoint’s collaborative systems into our meeting spaces. By pairing Microsoft’s solutions with digital touch screens and state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment, we’ve been able to shorten the distance between our departments, field offices and vendors. Now what we see and present in the room can be discussed in real time across the globe. We deployed Outlook and Lync’s functionality to corporate and BYOD devices. We coupled Microsoft’s solutions with Airwatch’s Mobile Device Management to accelerate our mobile platform adoption, secure these devices and push out user improvement changes.

Lessons Learned from Microsoft Solutions

A strong working relationship was critical to gaining access to the talent needed to ensure our success. User experience is key to adoption, so Toyota and Microsoft aligned much more than in the past on how to meet user’s needs. Continuing to collaborate with Microsoft on their technology roadmap will ensure that our end-users gain access to new features at a more rapid pace and with much less effort on our part than in the past, when we deployed new upgrades only every several years. End-user communication and organizational change management methodologies were integral (and continue to be employed) to ensure that the levels of adoption met objectives.

Advice to Fellow CIOs

• Determine how you are going to measure and define success for Microsoft solutions early.
• Market and communicate your change well, and often, to your business stakeholders. Be transparent about the changes, both positive and negative, that the implementation will bring.
• Dedicate a program management office for Microsoft solutions to ensure that there is an integrated approach across all of the disciplines needed to ensure success.
• Commit to the technology uplift needed to bring the product set to the level of currency that allows users to take advantage of the integrated experience and modern feature set.
• Constantly champion and demonstrate the less familiar tools, such as Lync, to accelerate adoption and change.

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