WinBeta’s aviation category features news almost entirely related to Microsoft and Windows-based hardware taking to the skies, but we rarely get to see solutions used on the ground, behind the scenes, at some of the world’s largest airlines.
Air Canada has since taken to the Office Blog to talk about how its adoption of Office 365 has helped bring its 27,000 employees closer, and more connected than ever before. This is important as the airline hopes to create a “culture of employee collaboration”, especially in the midst of its rapid international expansion made possible thanks to its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet.
“Many of our employees, including pilots, flight attendants and ground crew, don’t sit at desks in front of PCs but work throughout the world on a 24/7 basis, so we needed non-traditional ways to deliver IT services. We decided to go to the cloud…” – Lise Fournel, SVP and CIO, Air Canada
The virtual cloud that is, with Microsoft’s Office 365 productivity suite. This allows employees to not only stay connected to the company, but to each other as well. Air Canada uses Office 365 to host its ACaeronet employee portal, which help organize and reduce clutter by presenting employees with information necessary for them to do their jobs.
Additionally, with Microsoft software like Yammer, employees, be it pilots, flight attendants, maintenance crews or others can easily get online and share ideas, comments, get feedback, and problem-solve, no matter where they are around the world, taking collaboration to the next level. OneDrive for Business is another Office 365 service that gives each Air Canada employee 1 terabyte of cloud storage, so they don’t have to worry about carrying hard drives around.
“[On Yammer], cabin crew members post notes to colleagues with tips to expedite boarding or handle unusual situations. Many use it to offer kudos to fellow employees or share their excitement about new aircraft. They even post pictures. And because our employees are a community of like-minded travelers, they also share travel tips, hotel recommendations and even restaurant suggestions for cities all over the world.”
Microsoft CEO strongly believes that we live in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, and it only takes one look at the way Air Canada utilizes Office 365 to realize that Nadella is spot on with the belief. The prevalence of mobile devices in employees personal and work lives, from tablets, smartphones, and laptops means they expect collaboration tools like Office 365 to run on them, and it does as Microsoft services are not only available on such devices, but also on different platforms, including Windows, iOS, and Android.
“We’re also saving money by moving to the cloud. We get a steady stream of new capabilities for a reasonable monthly subscription with no expensive upgrades.”
Office 356 has clearly been a game changer for Air Canada, increasing company efficiency, and workforce productivity, while at the same time relieving the company’s IT staff from the burden of having to create similar services with proprietary software, and giving them more time to develop unique services that will put them ahead of the competition.