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Excitement was strong last month (and still continues!) for the launch of Office 2016, our new solution to help organizations reinvent productivity and business processes. Office 2016 changes the nature of work, making collaboration and teamwork easier than ever before. This is a key imperative for today’s digital manufacturers, who are realizing they need to enhance the workplace as they face changing demographics, a new millennial workforce, and varying ways of work. Manufacturers need to enable their people to work where they want—in the office, on the go, and at home. Making it easy for them to collaborate with colleagues, partners, and even customers around the world is key to innovation.

The new Office fits today’s digital manufacturer


Empowering individuals with personal productivity tools and devices including things like wearables, creates the foundation of a Modern Workplace. The digital manufacturer is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes in connecting a Modern Workplace, business applications, IoT-enabled services and the intelligent cloud. These capabilities can be mapped to one or many different roles and business scenarios like research and development, connected factory workers, field services, automotive dealer operations, and mobile sales agents.

Office 2016 is key to enabling this Modern Workplace.

Innovate, Perform, Grow

Manufacturers who are successful at executing their business strategy by driving global productivity are committed to three fundamental imperatives: innovation, performance, and growth. Roles and business scenarios are fundamental to these imperatives. Let me share some specific examples around how manufacturers can build their Modern Workplace and drive productivity around these three areas.



Innovation is one of the primary drivers for growth and profitability, but often there are challenges in meeting customer demand for new products and services. Manufacturers can accelerate innovation through a number of productivity strategies, like managing a strong innovation pipeline, crowd-sourcing new ideas, gaining insights from connected consumers or devices, and driving global collaboration. This can all be done while protecting the company’s IP and ensuring compliance. For example, virtual design teams can collaborate with research, engineering and partner teams to co-invent and problem-solve faster while reducing travel costs by using Office 2016 tools like Skype for Business, Office 365 Groups and Office 365 Planner, and GigJam. Built-in Data Loss Prevention across Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook significantly reduces the risk of leaking sensitive data.



The key to ensuring strong performances is having a strong operational strategy. Manufacturers can improve efficiencies and reduce costs in operations and the manufacturing value chain by being able to discover operational insights and improve information sharing. This enables seamless collaboration with experts to solve problems faster and share resolutions, as well as connect with supply chain partners to minimize disruptions. For example, teams can analyze cost, inventory and production data to drive supply chain efficiency, reducing time for yield analysis. To do this, operation managers can run reports in Excel 2016 to track KPI metrics such as product quality, labor costs, and overall equipment effectiveness and benchmark against targets. Teams can then take action by easily adjusting forecast models with interactive visualization through tools like Excel and Power BI to recognize the impact of variables such as supply chain disruptions. Out in the field, technicians can use Office Mobile apps on Windows 10 to access the data they need in real-time. And Yammer provides disparate workers a network of experts to combine their knowledge to respond to issues faster.



Traditionally, operational efficiency was enough to be successful. While this is still very important, manufacturers now realize that they need to better understand and connect with the market they are selling into. Manufacturers must engage customers and partners with differentiated experiences to build lasting relationships. For example, sales teams can produce a targeted and rich request for proposal by using new tools like Delve and the Office graph to compile and deliver relevant content directly, helping to reduce the sales cycle time. And sales teams can save time and money to collaborate on a client pitch with teams around the world using Microsoft Surface Hub and Skype for Business.

The Modern Workplace in action


Many of our customers have been putting the power of Office to work in their offices, factories and field services to enable people to stay productive every day, keep factory-line workers informed, improve reporting, and boost efficiency. Let me share just a few examples:

GE is embracing a digital workplace using productivity tools like Office to accelerate employee collaboration and productivity.


TE Connectivity
TE Connectivity’s Modern Workplace

TE Connectivity is using Office to create a digital workplace that will help to unify their global technical community to streamline collaboration and improve the quality and reliability during product launches—ultimately allowing them to better service their customers.

Toyota2 (1)

Toyota deployed Office and mobile devices to enhance efficiency and strengthen productivity with a single platform that provides employees with all the information they need to work in real time.

Venture Corporation adopted Office 2016 to improve processes and retire third-party tools as they incorporate advanced collaboration and business intelligence capabilities.

We are excited about our next generation of Office innovation and what that will bring to manufacturers in terms of Modern Workplace transformation and business innovation.
LinkedIn: Indranil Sircar
Twitter: @indranilsircar