Swedish Cooperative Group Reduces Costs and Improves Communication with Office 365

Today we hear from Lantmännen on why Microsoft was the best decision for their business in their move to Office 365!

“Our employees should not have to worry about the technology. With Office 365, they have a stable solution that offers them access from anywhere.”

--Linda Westerback-Litzén, Manager for End-User Services, Lantmännen

Lantmännen operates throughout the entire food-processing chain, taking responsibility from field to fork. Owned by more than 36,000 Swedish farmers, it has more than 10,000 employees, operates in 18 countries, and has a turnover of SEK 36 billion (U.S. $5.7 billion). Lantmännen is committed to building a sound and healthy society and is active in every part of the value chain. Examples of Lantmännen brands include AXA, Kungsörnen, Start, Hatting, Regal, and Kronfågel.

IT Challenges
Beginning in 2006, Lantmännen used IBM Lotus Notes and Domino for messaging and collaboration. When its licensing agreement with IBM expired, Lantmännen deployed a Microsoft unified communications solution that included Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. In its effort to standardize communications for employees, Lantmännen realized that its operating costs were continuing to increase. “We were constantly migrating systems, and those systems had different requirements,” explains Linda Westerback-Litzén, Service Manager for End-User Services at Lantmännen. After evaluating options, Lantmännen decided to consider moving to a cloud-based service that could provide the messaging, communications, and collaboration services it sought, without the additional overhead and administrative costs.

IT Solution and Benefits
Lantmännen liked the familiar user interface and interoperability that the Microsoft solutions offered, so it joined the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program to pilot Microsoft Office 365, which combines the familiar Office desktop with the next generation of cloud-based communication and collaboration services.

With the transition to Office 365, Lantmännen will migrate employee mailboxes to Microsoft Exchange Online, which is based on Exchange Server 2010 technology. Westerback-Litzén explains, “We have to transition different types of employees from different organizations, so we will migrate the largest employee mailboxes first, which will help us gain experience with the migration and how best to transition the rest of our employees.” With Exchange Online, employees will have a 25-gigabyte mailbox to store data. The company also plans to test the personal archive feature so that employees with larger mailboxes can store messages for long-term retention. Additionally, Lantmännen will create kiosk subscriptions for employees who do not have dedicated computers so that they can receive important company messages.

Lantmännen will maintain its on-premises deployment of SharePoint Server 2010, but it will supplement that deployment with Microsoft SharePoint Online in a hybrid environment. “We plan to move some of our team sites to the cloud, but we will keep our SharePoint Server on-premises for more complex applications,” says Westerback-Litzén. With SharePoint Online, the company also plans to share information with external partners.

By using Office 365, Lantmännen can significantly reduce administration, backup, and support costs while it increases service for its employees. In addition, it will avoid the expense of upgrading both its messaging and communications solutions to provide the latest capabilities for employees. “Including our current operating costs, the payback to the company for moving to Office 365 will not even take a year,” explains Anders Westling, CTO at Lantmännen.

With cloud-based services, Lantmännen will also receive the latest upgrades from Microsoft without incurring additional costs or disrupting employees. “With Office 365, we will always have the latest version, directly and faster than we could provide on-premises, without any employee impact,” says Westerback-Litzén.

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