Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Luc Trudel, vice president of IT Infrastructure and Operations at Polycom.

Polycom pro pixCollaboration lies at the heart of everything we do at Polycom, both in terms of the innovative products we create and the essence of how we work. Our business involves building the best in video, voice and content collaboration and communication technology. So the very nature of our business shows how critical we believe teamwork to be.

We reach across business units and geographical boundaries to make sure that all the products we develop work well together. Sometimes that means collaborating on common foundational aspects such as coding standards or interfaces. Other times we’re coming together to ensure cohesive global marketing and sales. Regardless, we have to keep information flowing among our employees, our contract manufacturers and other supply chain partners so that we deliver integrated products that offer maximum value to our customers.

In the global war for talent, one way we make sure that we’re staying at the top of our industry is by hiring and retaining the best talent out there. To do that in today’s business world, you need to offer flexibility. That’s why our philosophy is to support a fully mobile workforce—not just by providing tools to be productive from anywhere, but also by making it possible for our employees to live where they’re happy living, whether we have an office there or not. Nearly 20 percent of our current workforce does not work in a Polycom office, and we remain an attractive employer because of that level of flexibility.

Of course, it’s then incumbent upon our IT department to give employees truly effective tools they can use to contribute to the overall success of the company. That’s one of the reasons we’ve invested in Microsoft Office 365. Moving to the cloud is all about marshalling IT resources and delivering useful services and capabilities to our workforce. We wanted to be agile and focus on value-added IT services as opposed to managing lots of infrastructure and datacenters.

There are other options out there for cloud infrastructure, but at Polycom, we already have extremely tight integration with Microsoft at a company level, and we wanted to make the most of that. Plus, although other options like Google Apps seem interesting on the surface, there are a lot of hidden “gotchas.” For example, you have to run parallel systems, maintain your directory structure separately and worry about generating a tremendous number of hooks into your other enterprise systems, because Google simply doesn’t have them. And perhaps most important, there is the training element. It’s easy to build a cost justification based on subscriptions or hardware, but ultimately what really makes the biggest difference is whether the users are happy. With Office 365, we can provide employees with the capabilities that they’re familiar with, with little or no training necessary, and they easily—and willingly—make the switch to using cloud services.

We recently took a step toward even greater collaborative productivity and flexibility when we added the most comprehensive Office 365 suite. We saw how Advanced eDiscovery and the enhanced security feature set, including Advanced Threat Protection, will improve our risk profile. While using Microsoft Delve Analytics for team-based intelligence, we can easily discover trends to help us create and deliver terrific products to our customers in a more seamless way. That’s not to mention all the cloud-based Skype for Business advancements—such as PSTN Conferencing, PSTN Calling and Cloud PBX—which are important to us because so many of the products that we make tie into Skype for Business.

By adopting Office 365, we’re delivering greater value to the business. I’ve been working in IT for about three decades, and I’ve never been as excited as I am now about the possibilities. We’re quickly able to give employees the services they need to harness the best ideas, work together to establish the best processes and connect our workforce, all of which supports Polycom as we continue to push the envelope in collaboration technology.

—Luc Trudel