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Henkel calls on cloud telephony to improve global conversation and efficiency

By Microsoft Customer Stories on May 4, 2017

Filed under Retail & Consumer Goods

Henkel brand logoAs part of its workplace digitalization journey, Henkel implemented a Skype for Business Online cloud telephony solution, delivering voice, video, and content through one productivity platform: Microsoft Office 365. Employees are more efficient, mobile, and connected thanks to a communication solution that does not tie them to their office, phone, or any one device to communicate. By moving to cloud telephony, Henkel expects to continue to significantly improve efficiency and reduce travel costs.

Imagine a silent telephone on an empty desk behind a closed door. It’s an image that sums up the end of an era at Henkel. Now, picture an informal meeting area in an open-plan office where people are gathered around a Microsoft Surface Hub team collaboration device to coauthor a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation with colleagues in Shanghai. Here, no desks are assigned, and the only phone you will find is in the elevator. Henkel is replacing the copper wires of traditional private branch exchange (PBX) solutions with Microsoft cloud-based telephony to make its digitally enabled workplace hum with productivity.

“We call the latest Skype for Business telephony capabilities a natural evolution of the digital foundation we began building three years ago with Microsoft Office 365,” says Markus Petrak, Corporate Director, Digital Workplace Integrated Business Solutions at Henkel. “We have become more mobile and agile and generally better equipped to compete in a digital world. Today, we’re introducing cloud-based telephony as yet another way to enable our employees to communicate and collaborate on any device, anywhere.”

It was important to Henkel that its new modern voice capabilities be simple and intuitive for its workforce to use. The company chose Skype for Business Cloud PBX for making, receiving, and transferring calls anywhere, on any device, without dedicated infrastructure, and PSTN Conferencing for straightforward dial-in and dial-out capabilities. “Our employees design and manufacture more than 200 top-quality brands that improve people’s lives. They should not have to think about IT when they work,” says Petrak. “Employees love how easy and familiar Cloud PBX is to use in conjunction with their other Office 365 collaboration services.”

Culture change drives collaboration

Adoption of the new Skype for Business Online capabilities has soared across all Henkel departments and job descriptions—a signal that the solution’s capabilities support the company’s cultural evolution toward a digitally enabled way of working. “The new fast-paced challenges of doing business in a digitized world meant that we needed to adopt a more project-driven approach for working efficiently in dispersed teams across a complex global organization,” says Petrak. “We consider Skype for Business the perfect solution for collaborating in a diverse, international organization. All you have to do is select one button to connect from the applications you use every day.”

Henkel aims to provide business technology that helps employees achieve a healthier work-life balance by offering work-from-home solutions. Employees who are increasingly working outside Henkel office locations now have the same consistent Skype for Business experience across their devices, using one business number to stay in touch with customers and colleagues. “Millennials are motivated more by, ‘What do I have to do?’ than, ‘When and where do I have to do it?’ and Skype for Business is the perfect tool for that approach,” says Petrak.

Employees now work more efficiently and use innovative features, such as coauthoring documents in real time. Teams use Surface Hub team collaboration devices for interactive, creative brainstorming sessions. “Today, I share screens with global IT colleagues to discuss strategies, and we accomplish more in one hour than ever before,” says Petrak. “When I joined Henkel seven years ago, the majority of our meetings were face to face. Today, 80 percent of our invitations contain a Skype for Business link. We aren’t having more meetings—we’re having more efficient meetings, with more people joining the conversation to contribute to the company’s success.”

Streamlined IT reduces costs

Whereas enhanced mobility and efficiency are the company’s top goals for cloud-based telephony, Henkel stands to further reduce costs as it gradually replaces all PBX solutions at its locations worldwide. “Thanks to Skype for Business, Henkel will decrease telephony costs by an estimated two-thirds in Belgium,” says Petrak. “At our office in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, we will cut roughly half the costs, and at Dusseldorf headquarters, we look forward to saving a significant amount in yearly support costs for managing our existing telephony system for 5,000 employees. Finally, with high-quality video and audio conferencing, we could significantly contribute to reducing travel costs.”

Henkel uses the Office 365 admin center as a single place to manage enterprise voice and meetings, which helps the company streamline IT management, avoid redundant systems, and enjoy a single integrated directory. “When I was at Rocky Hill, we saw that you can get a pure Skype for Business cloud telephony solution up and running in a matter of hours,” says Dirk Lehmann, Corporate Manager of IT at Henkel. “No more buying hardware and installing and updating servers—Microsoft does all the heavy lifting.” When combined with Cloud PBX, PSTN Calling provides employees with a primary phone number that they can use to make and receive phone calls outside the organization. “That means we can be more agile in many scenarios, including onboarding new employees if we acquire another company.”

Global deployment supports strategic goals

As part of Office 365, Cloud PBX supports the company’s strategic priorities. Rich, interactive meetings using devices like the Surface Hub, together with easily managed voice capabilities that Henkel can deploy in stages alongside existing telephony infrastructures, inspire employees with modern technology that makes their lives easier. Plus, the company has simplified IT management with one solution for voice and meetings.

“We want IT at Henkel to be an enabler for the digital world of the future, and with features like Cloud PBX in Skype for Business, we live up to that role,” concludes Petrak. “I knew we made the right decision—after we introduced Skype for Business as a ‘nice-to-have’ service in Office 365, it took just one month to become a business-critical tool at Henkel.”

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