A story of manufacturing company Henkel AG & Co and their upgrade from 10 years of using Office 2003

Henkel AG & Co. and the upgrade from 10 years of Office 2003

Henkel AG & Co., a manufacturing company, recently upgraded its IT infrastructure. Part of this upgrade was to get their computers running Windows 7 and Office 365. Their transition reveals the immense task it is for a business, and insight into the unique problems they face.

Before this upgrade, the company’s productivity needs were handled via Lotus Notes, Office 2003, and email. Looking for a more collaborative experience and cloud based experience, they chose Office 365, with Exchange Online, Lync Online, SharePoint Online, and the Office 365 ProPlus client.

In 5 months, Henkel AG & Co. migrated 40,000+ users around the globe to Office 365. Additionally, in a few months, they went from an insignificant percentage to 50% of the company using Lync. This departure from the reliance on email is proof of the employees embrace of the new work environment. 

The biggest problem of any transition in software is compatibility — especially since they had been using Office 2003 for a decade! There were applications that interfaced with the Office suite, as well as plug-ins and macros that employees were using for Lotus Notes. There were a total of 1,350 applications that needed to be tested for compatibility, and of which only 20 were not compatible. And of these that were not patchable, they were able to use Office 365 ProPlus to install Excel for the users that required it.

One interesting area the company looked at was the employee workflow change. They didn’t want to force their employees to sign in (which you obviously don’t have to on the desktop Office), which I hadn’t even thought would be a potential problem. Click-to-Run, the Office 365 ProPlus deployment, solved this issue, and in multiple languages.

Office 365

One of the advantages of making this change is that they will not have these problems again, and the current transition becomes more natural in time. When they transition to the next Windows release, their Office 365 will be there waiting for them — continuously updated, and not needing the grueling testing.

You can read their full experience here, including details on testing, more insight into their culture change, and the support they received from Microsoft throughout the process.

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