This post was written by Erik Laux, Head of Digital Workplace at Schindler IT Services.
Schindler Group modernized its digital workplace by migrating to Microsoft 365 cloud services, and it saved costs by using that FastTrack service included in its subscription.
Founded in 1874, Schindler grew from a local machine manufacturer to a leading global provider of elevators, escalators, and related services. Today our mobility solutions move more than 1 billion people every day, all over the world. Behind the company’s success are over 60,000 employees in more than 100 countries.
In 2015, our leadership launched the vision to empower the workforce with tools that take collaboration to the next level and enhance the agile response of our business to accelerating market trends. We were committed to leading companywide change and achieving the highest standards of digitalization and innovation as part of One Global IT.
To realize this vision, Schindler decided to move our on-premises workloads to the cloud. We chose Microsoft 365 to give employees—who work across nearly 1,000 branch offices—a holistic, standardized, and scalable tool set that’s well integrated and designed to live in the cloud, ensuring sustainability in messaging and collaboration platforms.
When the internal project team and our partners began planning the migration, we were prepared for a monumental and complex task. It could involve challenges around working with new technology, integrating our existing systems, navigating the licensing, and the human factor of adapting to a new solution. After all, the change would impact all kinds of roles in the company, from office workers to field workers installing and servicing elevators and escalators around the world. To ensure true change of the digital workplace for everyone, our team would be deploying and managing the solution on laptops, tablets, mobile phones, videoconferencing equipment, and other devices.
Then we learned about Microsoft FastTrack, a service that helps organizations accelerate deployment and gain user adoption of the Microsoft 365 components: Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility + Security. We were glad to have FastTrack insights, guidance, and documentation from previous experiences to use as a template for our organization.
Key decisions in our move to Microsoft 365
We combined our resources with FastTrack engineers and other partners to build a strong team. Together, we set target outcomes and planned a global migration. Our outreach efforts to various internal Schindler groups were critical to the migration’s success. Establishing best practices tailored for Schindler processes and roles was key to get people familiar and onboard with the new tools.
After an in-depth analysis of global user needs, we secured buy-in and support from top executives by including them in the planning. Our team took the time to also understand their needs and use cases, adapting the usage of Microsoft 365 tools to these executives’ everyday tasks. We also involved their executive personal assistants (PAs) in our premigration pilot tests. Many of the PAs were impressed by how the capabilities of the Microsoft 365 tools could make their lives easier and help them perform their tasks faster. Hence, they became vocal advocates with executives and their colleagues for the transformation we were undertaking.
We designated local “Zone Experts” around the world to help us address each region’s needs efficiently and gain the local traction necessary for this global initiative. Our headquarters team made sure to provide Zone Experts with everything they needed to support employees. They amplified and reinforced key messages regarding the migration and provided technical support to employees in their zones.
To promote adoption, we decided to actively inspire and encourage our employees to notice the new tools coming their way. We found that teasers and demonstrations of how Microsoft technologies could add value to their workdays generated curiosity and an eagerness to see which problems they could solve with the new tools.
We also gave Zone Experts the ability to choose the best training options for the employees in their respective zones. For some, classroom training worked well, while others preferred online training. We learned that consistently engaging employees with short, simple, targeted pieces of information over time increased our success—and that it’s easy to underestimate the resources needed to do a systematic training approach.
Successful migration and ongoing recognition
FastTrack took care of the heavy lifting for our mailbox migration on a tight schedule, which allowed our IT colleagues and Zone Experts to focus on communicating and working with employees. Our IT team set up additional accountability through an application that showed everyone where they were on the migration timeline. Even though the FastTrack team migrated 2,000 mailboxes a day, every employee had a consistent, convenient experience.
In addition, FastTrack supported our digital workplace, setting up our employees with Skype for Business Online and laying the groundwork for a later deployment of Microsoft Teams. We were surprised at how well this tool was received. A colleague I didn’t know approached me in a bakery to ask if I was responsible for bringing Teams to her marketing team. When I said, “Yes,” she told me that she really loved Teams. It is not very often that someone from the business randomly welcomes and supports an IT tool, it was a testament to our team being on the right track.
Although Schindler had to reconsider foundational elements like governance and processes, starting the journey to move from a decentralized on-premises scenario to a centralized cloud offering has really made a difference, and we will continue to move in this direction. By choosing Microsoft 365 and migrating with FastTrack, we cut costs and increased the pace of our work.
Additionally, we’ve seen a change in company perception of IT staff, now viewed as One Global IT team leading change and digitalization for the highest standards of quality and innovation. We focus on being a trusted partner to the business by aligning technology with employees’ needs and supporting them throughout changes.
Today, as Schindler continues to align and optimize business processes, the company looks to our IT team for thought leadership on how to find tools that benefit every employee across the company, across the world.
We recommend that our IT pro colleagues contact FastTrack when deploying Microsoft 365 solutions. If you would like to hear more of our story, watch our presentation from Microsoft Ignite.
Thank you, Erik, for authoring this blog post and speaking at Ignite.
To learn more about FastTrack for Microsoft 365 and submit a Request for Assistance, click here.
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