Global transportation, logistics and relocation services company Crown Worldwide Group has recently moved its global collaboration platform into the cloud, after using the on premise application for 15 years.

"We've used Lotus Notes for 15 years, but it's time to refresh our communication and collaboration strategy to meet modern business needs and increase our appeal to Gen-Y staff," said Chris Davis-Pipe, group VP of IT, Crown Worldwide Group.

With a total of 3,000 staff in 265 locations in almost 60 countries, Crown has a broad geographical operation. The company's workforce is also becoming younger and more mobile. To facilitate collaborations, Crown has turned towards Microsoft Office 365.

"Office 365 offers us enterprise-class productivity tools, mobile capabilities and a great social platform creating a cohesive platform that our teams love to engage with," said Davis-Pipe.

With more than a decade of experience in Lotus Notes, users at Crown are migrated into Office 365 by phases. It started with introducing the social media platform Yammer to connect 1,200 staff and SharePoint for the Marketing and HR departments in January 2014.

"These functions are offered to a smaller group of users, providing more time for the rest to be familiar with the new environment," said Leigh Docking, project manager of Crown Worldwide Group. "We've been with Lotus for 15 years, it takes time for users to learn about the new environment."

Docking added about 200 Hong Kong-based staff and 700 in South East Asia have recently migrated to Outlook. The migration is expected to complete by September.

Ninja for support

To facilitate users with the migration, Docking said the company has also set up a self-help advocate program called Ninja. Individuals from different offices are selected as advocates to go through training of Office 365 and offer internal support for users.

"Users find it more comfortable to talk with people that they know and understand their jobs. The advocates are located closer to the users can then provide faster and better support," said Docking. "We hope to build a team of 30 people [in this program] eventually."

In addition, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has also recently deployed Office 365. With more than 68,000 students and alumni to be provided with this suite of cloud software starting in March by phases, HKUST has the biggest deployment in the education sector in Asia, according to Microsoft.

"Security and privacy are among the major considerations in choosing cloud service," said Samuel Kwan, director of IT Services of HKUST. "Microsoft has given us strong assurance of Office 365's compliance with high standards of security and privacy."

Including HKUST and the Hong Kong Institute of Education, eight out of the ten local universities are using Office 365, according to Microsoft.