Adelaide City Council is one month into a pilot of Office 365 and Yammer as it looks to enable a more mobile workforce.
The council and the South Australian State Government recently committed $1.5 million for Internode to build 200 wi-fi base stations across Adelaide.
“From our workers’ point of view, that’s great because we’ll be able to leverage off [the stations] and the office can pretty much be anywhere,” Adelaide City Council infrastructure and operations team leader David Carroll said.
The council, which currently runs Office 2010 on Exchange 2010, was hoping for operational benefits from the shift to Office 365, and in particular the 50 gigabyte storage capacity on offer for individual mail boxes.
The pilot follows the council's successful deployment of Microsoft Lync 2013 to replace its PABX, boosting video conferencing and instant messaging features.
Carroll said there had already been a large take up of video conferencing across the organisation’s 30 odd sites.
The council calculated it had saved $70,000 per annum by using instant messaging instead of other communication methods.
The next step is to work out how to leverage enterprise social media, with 300 of the organisation’s 700 staff already using Yammer after just one month.
“We thought let’s give this a real world trial and see how it goes. It’s more about exploring how Yammer can complement other forms of communication,” Carroll said.
Speaking at the TechEd conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, Microsoft Office product manager Christophe Fiessinger gave some insight into the organisation’s road map for the enterprise collaboration tool it acquired for US$1.2 billion a little over a year ago.
Microsoft is now working on integrating Yammer inside many traditional and emerging enterprise applications, including email, presence, unified communications, SharePoint, Lync, and Dynamics, to ensure users “don’t have to go to a destination to be social”.
“The idea is it doesn’t matter if those things work online or on premises…actually with that social layer you’re connecting all the dots.
“You’re going to connect all of your employees in your organisation thanks to this layer.”
The notion of “persistent collaboration” is one Microsoft is also hoping to enable across platforms, following its move to enable real-time collaboration in Office web applications.
“Social is definitely not about a PC or a single platform,” Fiessinger said.
“Whatever the small screen whether it’s iOS or Android or Windows phone tablets, I should be able to continue that conversation.”
For now, the integration between Office apps and Yammer will be confined to web applications, Fiessinger said.
“We’re going to start in the web app and based on the results and how much it’s helping engagement wise then potentially we’ll port it to the Win 32 apps.”
Carroll said Adelaide City Council was still working out how it would leverage enterprise social networking, but he didn’t want IT to be a barrier standing in the way.
“It will work for some and not for others, but it’s about enabling that change to happen.”