Utilities and utility services companies around the world continue to recognize the value of knowledge and information as dynamos to corporate activity. Harnessing the knowledge of workers and enabling them to collaborate – wherever they are located – allows them to create more robust products and services that truly advance innovation and progress.

But utilities have known that the obstacles to greater collaboration is partly a technology problem and partly a people/process/culture problem. Good, intuitive, secure technology must be in place, and the corporate leadership must encourage its use among all its employees, changing their work habits to produce more for everyone. More and more companies are advancing this trend.

Today, there is yet more evidence of the uptake of collaboration and knowledge sharing in the announcement that ABB will deploy Microsoft Office 365 and Yammer for its 145,000 employees in 100 countries.

ABB’s use of Office 365 will transition their employees from multiple IT collaboration and messaging solutions to Office 365, our cloud-based platform for productivity, communication, collaboration and enterprise social media. Yammer is Microsoft’s private social network for companies, allowing their employees to collaborate securely across departments, geographies, and content and business applications.

ABB will likely use Office 365 to simplify their online meetings, possibly reducing travel costs by 15-20 percent. Yammer’s discussion groups will greatly accelerate problem-solving among groups working in different geographies on the same equipment, experiencing the same problems.

It’s an exciting day, a tribute to the vision of integrated corporate activity for increasing efficiency in industry. – Jon C. Arnold