This article first appeared in the Autumn 2016 issue of The Record.
Headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands AkzoNobel is a global paints and coatings company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. The company has around 47,000 employees working in more than 80 countries and its portfolio includes well-known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International, Interpon and Eka. AkzoNobel is also consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the area of sustainability and strives to deliver innovation via 4,000 scientists at 130 laboratories.
Like many major enterprises with a globally dispersed workforce, AkzoNobel faced cost pressures and the need to do more business, quicker and better. It also wanted to boost employee productivity and collaboration.
Building on its six-year relationship with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), AkzoNobel opted to migrate from Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system to Windows 10. Owing to the significant delays it faced when rolling out Windows 7, AkzoNobel worked with HPE to start piloting Windows 10 soon after its release at the end of July 2015.
The company’s employees can now take advantage of Windows 10’s touch-first user experience that can be consistently supported on any device, offers enhanced built-in security features and much more. Employees also have access to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and its enterprise productivity suite Office 365, which offers services such as OneDrive and Skype for Business.
“Our partnership with HPE and Microsoft is important because the IT systems that we are running are really the spine of the organisation,” says Ria van Waes, business area CIO at AkzoNobel. “We are implementing Windows 10 and people are getting excited talking about Office 365. It will offer a big step forward because you will have the ability to use any device to work with same information.”
Aloys Kregting, CIO of AkzoNobel, believes that working with HPE has allowed AkzoNobel to turn innovation to value in a very rapid manner.
“By leaning on the intellectual power of HPE and Microsoft we can accelerate our innovation profile,” he says. “Without IT, this would all be impossible and I’m particularly excited about the fact we can make everything mobile and that we can give people solutions wherever they are. If we want to survive in long run, we need to be excellent in innovation. It’s our obligation and our duty to get all of our different tools and channels to work in the smartest possible way.”
Van Waes agrees: “We’re not here to do something that looks good on paper; in the end we want to create a better workplace.”
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