Goodyear's CIO and vice president discusses the transition to Office 365

Brad Stephenson

Microsoft’s Office 365 continues to gain traction

With the popularity of Microsoft’s Office 365 continuing to grow, more and more companies are implementing its suite of programs and services. In a recent blog post on the official Office blog, vice president and chief information officer at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Jim McKinnon, wrote about Goodyear’s recent implementation of Office 365 and the importance of a company keeping pace with the speed of technological evolution.

“I’ve been driving change my whole career,” he says. “Especially the last five years. Within our global IT organization, we’ve improved communications and project management and deployed new tools to support the business. Technology is fast, and you need to stay current.”

Jim McKinnon cites integration, communication, and collaboration as some of the main reasons for the transition to Office 365 and praises the service’s security standards.

Changing policy in a company the size of Goodyear wasn’t simple though and says that making sure implementation started from higher up was an important part of their overall company strategy. “Our Office 365 change process began with executive sponsorship: essential support from the top to ensure proper governance. We established a steering committee of leaders from all business units, representing the key functions of human resources, communications, legal, project management, research and development, and engineering. We laid out the road map for detailed implementation. Very early, we had nearly 2,000 people involved — early adopters and change agents.”

It was an ambitious change that also required a high level of support to make the transition comfortable for their employees, many of whom are located in different time zones.

“We also created a support network of approximately 100 IT professionals who provided online support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From anywhere in the world, our employees could ask a question via live chat and someone would pop up and answer it.”

He praises the cloud based technology and implementation of instant messaging over the previous email system they had used mentions plans to move on from their current video chat service, Lync Online to Skype for Business.

“So far, the new tools are already making a big difference. Some of them are simple changes: working in the same document instead of passing files around, accessing documents from the web, a significant increase in instant messaging instead of emailing, more sophisticated calendaring and booking of conference rooms. We are using Lync Online for video chat, and soon we will ramp up with Skype for Business. We are also developing plans for how to leverage Yammer more to support our collaboration agenda.”

Office 365 appears to really be instigating evolution in several organizations however its implementation isn’t purely organic adoption. A fair bit of Office 365’s growth was recently revealed to be coming from Microsoft actively pushing for businesses to switch their enterprise exchange servers to the Microsoft Cloud for example.

It’s not all about using the latest technology though according to Jim McKinnon. “Change is not just about data, processes, and systems — it’s also about people.”