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Collaboration through Office 365

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Connected on day one—The Kraft Heinz Company creates united workforce quickly and smoothly

Today’s Microsoft Office 365 post was written by Francesco Tinto, Global CIO, and Leandro Balbinot, North America CIO, both of The Kraft Heinz Company.

In July 2015, Kraft Foods Group and the H.J. Heinz Company came together to form The Kraft Heinz Company, the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world. Uniting our two powerhouses brought opportunities for increased optimization and innovation, but it also required hard work to create a new corporate identity and embrace our greater capabilities. As with any merger, there were some differences between the two companies in terms of geography, company culture and business processes.

As chief information officers (CIOs), we needed to implement systems and processes that would unite our two enterprises, and our employees required technology that would support both teamwork and innovation. One element that helped us build a single company was that both Kraft and Heinz already relied on Microsoft Office 365 to support communication and collaboration. We’ve continued to build on Office 365 to connect with new colleagues, foster teamwork and ultimately spur creativity.

In North America, we identified best practices and talent across Kraft and Heinz and explored how best to maximize their impact. We’re also redefining our business processes, go-to-market strategies and operating model as a comprehensive enterprise. And we’ve been doing it quickly, thanks to our employees’ willingness to embrace the culture change and to use cloud solutions such as Office 365, which helps us move at the pace of today’s business.

From the announcement of the merger to day one as a new company, we worked to meet an accelerated timeline while remaining compliant with our legal requirements and with local regulations. By taking advantage of Office 365 technology, we were able to reduce setup time dramatically and get the two companies working together far faster than we expected. Everyone was connected on our first day as Kraft Heinz. There’s no way we could have achieved a single operating environment in only a few weeks without Office 365. It would have taken months.

With Office 365, we’ve had the benefit of boosting collaboration through simple means of working together virtually. From the start, everyone could easily launch and attend phone and video meetings, check each other’s calendars and IM availability, access team sites and repositories, and share documents. That kind of collaboration was a must for us, and it happened seamlessly.

Now that we’re further down the road, we’ll look to more advanced capabilities in Office 365 to help us streamline and simplify processes, understand emerging trends and engage differently with our customers and consumers. Underlying everything is the importance of data. With Office 365 capabilities such as Microsoft Power BI, we can collect enormous amounts of data and derive insights from it quickly, so we can take action and improve the business.

At Kraft Heinz, we’re aiming beyond just evaluating the current market situation or looking at part of a trend. We want to have algorithms in place that give us the capacity to interpret and predict more accurately, and we want cognitive systems that help us mimic and learn from behaviors so we can serve consumers better. That’s why we’re looking forward to working with the new Office 365 capabilities.

Kraft Heinz has a globally ambitious cost-reduction target of US $1.5 billion by 2017. We are tasked with running a lean organization and optimizing our workforce by increasing collaboration and cooperation. Technology plays a critical role in that effort, and we’re happy that Microsoft and Office 365 are here to support us as we strive to achieve it.

—Francesco Tinto and Leandro Balbinot