Coca Cola Amatil dumps Lotus Notes for BPOS

Food and beverage giant Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) has dumped IBM’s Lotus Notes in favour of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Standard Suite(BPOS), in an effort to decrease commercial costs and to integrate collaboration across the company.

Beginning the deployment process in March this year, CCA technology manager, Steven Meek, said there were many factors in its decision making process, but the bottom line was the need to reduce costs and “smooth out” the fragmentation associated with Lotus Notes.

“To get from Lotus Notes, five to seven to eight, it was a continual exercise and that, from a business point of view, created significant capital spikes for us so every two or three years we’d be upgrading and spending a lot of money doing that,” Meek said in a presentation at Microsoft’s Tech.Ed conference. “We were spending every year planning the next upgrade so we could get the next feature set.”

Currently, CCA has migrated around 4200 employees to the hosted Exchange platform, which equates to around 670 gigabytes of mail transferred from on premise to the cloud, but the process has been a staggered one.

It began in March with a ‘pilot’ phase for the 180-members of the IT department, using it to learn, and “experience the pain” before offering it to the whole company.

CCA then extended the product to, what it calls its Change Champions, about 90 non-IT volunteers who helped “champion” the change, who were taught about the product and then helped to “spread the word” to the rest of the employees.

“The next big decision was to give it to the executive team, we wanted to make sure that we had senior level buy in and that the senior leaders in the business were the ones who were getting it first and saying to their employees across the business, we’ve got it it’s not that bad, it’s great, here’s what it’s doing for me, so we wanted to use the position authority to help sell this change across the business,” Meek said.

Once that was done CCA began migrating its state offices geographically, office by office, to be followed by its sales force in the field, and lastly, its shared mailboxes, all due for completion at the end of September 2010.

In moving to Outlook, Meek said there were a lot of calendar integration issues and access to the global address book (with contacts of up to 240,000) was difficult to navigate.

According to Meek, CCA was ideally seeking a single sign-on function with the BPOS platform, a preference echoed by IT managers in the sessions undergoing similar deployments, but had resigned itself to dealing with the issue as the capability is still not provided by the product.

He spoke of his previous concern about CCA’s network infrastructure and whether it could cope with the 4000 employees trying to access the Singapore-based data centre, but said there had been minimal complaints as a result of the meticulous planning behind the migration process.

“There is also a minor lag in email delivery as it goes up to the cloud and comes back down again,” he said.

Next year, CCA will look at launching OCS Live Meeting and in 2011, launching OCS voice and video, for video calling.

Chloe Herrick travelled to Tech.Ed as a guest of Microsoft

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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