Chiyoda Corporation (hereinafter, the company) is a leading entity in the plant engineering industry, with business developments around the world from North America to Asia and the Middle East. In 2013, the company made plans to revise its internal communication methods, including at its global offices.
Having felt the limits to operating on-premises software, the company selected a cloud-base service. Microsoft Office 365 was adopted for its high reliability in corporate usage scenarios. With support from Fujitsu, which had become knowledgeable about Office 365 by performing a global implementation of the system internally, a variety of measures were taken to promote the use of Office 365. Thanks to Fujitsu's considerate education during the implementation process and thorough after-support services, none of the disruptive chaos that the company's employees feared occurred and system operation commenced in 2015.
Overview of introduction
- Business outline:
- Plant Engineering
- Products/services introduced:
- Communication Platform (Office 365, deployment support service)
- Scale of introduction:
- approx. 6,000 people domestically and internationally
- Project length:
- 8 months
Challenges and benefits of introduction
1Revision and reconstruction of the company's communication methodsThe email-centered communication method the company had been using was reconstructed. This revitalized communication as users began using different communication means for different purposes. Additionally, it became possible to speedily access required information and documents.
2Reduced burden of maintaining a communication platformConverting the on-premises communication platform to a cloud-based system reduced platform maintenance work and associated maintenance fees.
3Smooth use of the new communication platform among employeesSmooth use was achieved among employees thanks to considerate education during the implementation process and thorough after-support services provided by Fujitsu, which was knowledgeable about how to implement and establish a communication platform for use by all employees.
Background of introduction
Moving away from email-centered communication
Chiyoda Corporation has eight major affiliated companies in Japan and 20 abroad. Before introducing this system, the approximately 6,000 employees both in and outside Japan often used email for communication.
The biggest problem was that many emails were exchanged indiscriminately, regardless of the level of importance or priority of the email content, which ranged from critical approval processes to simple messages between employees. This made communication extremely complex. Particularly busy employees were required to read several hundred emails a day. In this industry, it is not unusual for one project to span at least five years, and employees frequently receive outside correspondence regarding operations dating years back. Therefore, it is difficult to simply draw a line and begin deleting emails. Massive amounts of emails were being accumulated on client PCs. Mr. Toshio Kajiwara of the Corporate ICT Section's IT Management Unit, who was team leader during the Office 365 deployment project, described the situation as follows: "These issues were raised as problems by the Business Communication Tool Use Reform Inquiry Task Force, which was established as part of activities to improve communication."
The task force, which was comprised of about a dozen members, noted that email-centered communication was causing a variety of issues. At the time, LINE and social networks were beginning to offer services to facilitate communication among individuals, and their numbers of users were increasing dramatically. The opinion arose that perhaps such convenient tools could be used within the business. Thus, the task force summarized various written opinions describing requests for improvement and reported the same to management.
Hoping to reduce the burden of server maintenance by using cloud services
While the task force worked to submit its report, the IT operation side was also moving forward with discussions on new methods because support for the system used as the company's communication platform was set to expire in two years.
Mr. Narutoshi Hosaka, operational supervisor and head of the IT Service Center, reflected as follows: "Emails are an important nucleus system that can never be abolished and at the time necessitated strict server management. However, on-premises operations required someone to manage email 24 hours a day, and all functions, including handling of updates, needed to be done in-house. To reduce that workload, we began to think it necessary to move to a cloud-based service."
Organizing diverse requirements such as requests from employees, operational challenges, and so forth, the IT section proposed that the company use a cloud-based service and other communication methods in addition to email, such as social networks.
Mr. Hiroyuki Kitazawa, SL of the Corporate ICT Section's IT Management Unit, which supervises all of the company's IT management, explained as follows: "Looking at future global developments, we felt it would be better to organize everything in the cloud rather than having everyone access a server located in Japan."
Uncertainties about changing over to the cloud were assuaged through detailed research and visiting other companies where Fujitsu had completed successful deployments, leading to the decision that security was also sufficiently robust. As a result, anticipation grew that implementing the new system would increase convenience and improve communications. Since Office 365, which is known for its high reliability in corporate usage scenarios, was already on project members' minds, the decision to use it met little resistance during company discussions. Encouraged by the present age, it was in a sense a natural decision.
Process of introduction
Aiming for a trouble-free transition by hiring Fujitsu
Mr. Kajiwara noted that Fujitsu was chosen for its diverse group of skilled personnel and wide range of services: "Our most important objective was to carry out this transition without any trouble. In that regard, the fact that Fujitsu had already carried out the deployment internally and had the necessary knowledge increased their trustworthiness in our eyes, which was the ultimate clincher. It also helped that their fees were reasonable."
After six months of preparations, the transition began at the head offices in Japan. At overseas locations, the transition was carried out in order based on which bases had the most frequent communications. With Fujitsu's support, the system transition for 6,000 employees located both domestically and internationally was completed in eight months.
Mr. Mamoru Tsuzuki, who oversees operations as the Supervising TM for Infrastructure Supervision at the IT Service Center, explained as follows: "We are grateful for the carefully planned documentation Fujitsu provided to us, which they made for us to use after we took over the management of this communication platform. It includes things we would not have been able to handle on our own, such as the necessary configurations and what sort of things must be decided upon. This was a great help."
Mr. Kajiwara continued: "Their designing and construction of a network-type ADFS (Active Directory Federation Service) truly helped us out."
Considerate support to ensure use among users by utilizing Group implementation experiences
Fujitsu's deployment track record and knowledge were extremely useful in providing support to ensure use of the communication platform by users through means such as education and service desk support. To fully utilize a communication platform, the most important point is not to simply implement a system but also to "ensure use among employees." To create a system that can be used by many users, it was proposed that a member specializing in education be included on the promotion team from the planning to implementation stages and to fully utilize systemized training as well as various manuals and tools.
In November 2014, just prior to launching the service, Fujitsu identified the necessity of educating field promoters and held training sessions on Outlook and Skype for Business geared toward the promoters from each department. A total of 220 participants attended three sessions. Additionally, information sessions were held for users immediately after the service launched in January the following year. Over a short period of 11 days, a total of 15 sessions were held in three locations nationwide. A total of 950 people participated to learn how to use the system in different work situations. Fujitsu provided completely original user manuals (in Japanese and English) as well as two types of quick reference manuals. Additionally, video manuals featuring important sections taken from the basic operation manual, such as how to set up schedules and how to participate in Skype conferences, were prepared with audio and video as well as captions, and these were highly regarded by users. An English version was also produced overseas and is now in use.
"Four types of video manuals were made centered around Skype for Business and Outlook; each video lasts approximately ten minutes. We released these on the portal site after the information sessions and urged employees to view them. Nevertheless, the number of inquiries to the service desk inevitably increased after the transition, so I think the support team had a fairly hard time." (Mr. Tsuzuki)
At the time, three to four employees were always stationed at the company's service center support desk. Fujitsu was asked to train these employees as well. Additionally, a specialist from Fujitsu was dispatched during the period before and after the launch of the Office 365 service; this specialist handled deployment-related inquiries.
"If we had tried to train the support desk employees ourselves during the busy period before launching the service, we would never have made it in time." (Mr. Hosaka)
"Without Fujitsu's support, the backroom, which leads the service desk, would have been a mess. We are truly grateful for the help Fujitsu provided." (Mr. Kajiwara)
Benefits of introduction and future prospects
Improvement of communication efficiency
Two years after launching the service, communication efficiency has improved by moving away from email-centric communication to a system that continues to use email but also incorporates IM (instant messaging) and Yammer (a company social network). The means used depends on the purpose: IM is used for simple correspondence between employees; Yammer is used for sharing information within the company; and email is used for important content that requires written evidence. Differentiating communication methods in this manner allows information priority levels to be clarified, and employees can access required information more quickly. Thus, email has now become a specialized tool for leaving behind official evidence.
Additionally, the system contributes to streamlining daily tasks such as confirming presence by using schedules and Skype for Business, which has quickly became indispensable.
"In addition to email, Outlook enables us to integrally manage meetings and conference room reservations, improving work efficiency." (Mr. Kajiwara)
"With so much overseas communication, we were always calculating time differences when contacting people, but even then, recipients were often absent. The status indictor on Skype for Business allows us to confirm whether the recipients are at their desks, and we can directly communicate with them in real time regardless of where they are in the world without having to be transferred across phone lines. It is convenient to know in real time whether the person you want to speak with is available." (Mr. Kitazawa)
Reduced burden of maintaining the communication platform
Regarding maintenance of the communication platform, which had been a pending matter, the decision to transition to a cloud service made it possible to reduce the burden of such work.
"Considering the cost of operating an on-premises communication platform, the associated labor costs, and the cost to upgrade the system, which was required every five to six years, you could say we were able to reduce overall costs by some tens of millions of yen." (Mr. Hosaka)
There were also improvements on the security front. Some small overseas offices have only a handful of employees, so stationing IT personnel at all times was difficult. Therefore, there were ongoing concerns about unifying management and improving security awareness. However, with the cloud service now in place, security levels can be unified domestically and overseas as well as managed collectively. Even if an issue occurs overseas, it can now be handled and resolved quickly.
Aiming for even greater communication efficiency
The company has already completed deployment for 90% of its targets (approximately 6,000 people). While continuing to implement the system for the remaining employees, the company has also indicated its desire to implement cloud storage services and actively engage in expanding communication through BYOD. System trials are underway in preparation for implementing BYOD. Once BYOD is put into practice and the data currently stored on clients is collected in cloud storage services, it will be possible to work from any location and device. Mr. Kajiwara stated that employees will likely be able to make calls through company lines and external lines from their smartphones from 2018 onward. Mr. Kitazawa also noted that there are plans to continue employees' technical literacy improvement education in order for them to more efficiently utilize Office 365.
"Some employees use the system by customizing the settings, while others use the default settings. Since many employees are using this tool for the first time, we must take the lead and provide information on how to use it more efficiently. Fujitsu, with its deep experiences in deployment both internally and with other companies, possesses a wealth of information and knowledge on technical literacy improvement education, so we have high expectations for the future." (Mr. Kitazawa)
Utilizing the new communication platform built by the company, employees' communication efficiency is just beginning to pick up momentum. Fujitsu will continue to fully support these endeavors.
- Location :
Minatomirai Grand Central Tower
4-6-2, Minatomirai, Nishi-ku,
Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
- Representative :
- Shogo Shibuya, President & CEO
- Established :
- January 20, 1948
- Capital :
- 43.396 billion Yen (as of March 31, 2016)
- Employees :
- 5,866 people (Consolidated), 1,573 people (Non-consolidated)
(as of March 31, 2016)
- Business outline :
- Energy; Chemistry; Medicine; Bio; Plant Facilities such as FA as well as Environmental Preservation Planning, Design, Equipment Supply, Test Operations, Operation and Preservation Management Consulting, and Training for such Plant Facilities; R&D and Technical Services; and Project Management