Today’s post was written by Sherry Aaholm, vice president and chief information officer at Cummins.

When I joined Cummins as CIO, I was drawn to a company that is value driven and cares deeply about engaging all employees to do their best work. Coming from FedEx, I had seen firsthand the benefits of a corporate culture that emphasized diversity and global employee engagement. I was inspired by those ideals and how I could use them at Cummins to move the company forward. I knew from experience that having good tools changes the way people work. So, when the CEO said he wanted an IT leader who would help transform the business, I took on the challenge. And one of my first steps was to introduce Microsoft 365.

Deploying Microsoft 365, a complete solution of leading-edge, cloud-based applications, sends a strong message that Cummins is beginning a new era. Our modern, tech-driven workplaces give employees the tools they need to innovate, so we can introduce new energy products and technology solutions to the market. It’s also a key strategy in attracting top talent. Today, approximately 60 percent of our workforce are millennials who expect rich collaboration tools and technology that support flexible ways of working. Since deploying Microsoft 365, I’ve seen a culture shift at Cummins. Smartphones outnumber laptops in meetings and network file drives have all but disappeared—just a couple outward examples of our workforce embracing modern ways of working.

I firmly believe that converging IT with business decision-making is key to achieving the Cummins vision for the future. We partner with the business to understand how the company is moving in exciting new directions so we can support those strategies. To strengthen our competitive advantage, we demonstrated the value of integrated tools that create seamless digital workplaces to the business leaders at Cummins. I worked with Carole Casto, our vice president of marketing and communications, to promote the benefits of Microsoft 365 to our employees. Her work has driven adoption across the business.

Providing our employees with tools for dynamic collaboration speaks directly to our core value of global employee engagement. For example, using Skype for Business Online video calls to communicate with employees on a different continent brings our workforce closer, sparks creative ideas and reduces travel costs. Microsoft 365 supports diversity in the workplace because its components are flexible and integrated enough to accommodate varied ways of working across every aspect of our business. I am thrilled to see Microsoft making plans to support real-time translation for an even wider array of applications; I can’t think of technology more conducive to a global conversation than that.

Robust security is the real test of any cloud-based business productivity solution. Blending security and mobility is one of the strengths of Microsoft 365, and it improves productivity across the board. Streamlined, highly secure access to our internal collaboration environment helps us simplify life for employees who want to work from home or while traveling, so they can balance their demanding schedules and remain productive. We’re using the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security solution to monitor company data on mobile devices. Providing a complete set of collaboration and productivity tools also prevents our employees from relying on third-party solutions that can undermine security and weaken the resources in our shared environment.

We are reducing barriers to teamwork and fostering global collaboration thanks to a new intranet, Cummins Connect, that’s built on SharePoint Online. We use this shared environment to find information, colleagues, experts, and corporate news. Now employees collaborate on the same document without the risk of versioning errors, all while controlling who can access and edit files to maintain security. One of our global executives in China carries his iPad exclusively when traveling but can access any document he needs in OneDrive to stay in touch with the business. Marketing staffers used a team site to create and share marketing plans for all 25 segments of the business with colleagues around the world. Bringing together the whole breadth of Cummins marketing expertise in one place is a valuable opportunity to learn from best practices and strengthen our marketing strategies companywide.

For nearly a century, Cummins has been innovating new products and bringing them to market faster than competitors. As we look ahead, it is crucial to elevate the tech aspect of our business alongside the manufacturing and engineering excellence we have always been known for. We want our customers and potential employees to see us as a tech company in addition to a heritage automotive business. With Microsoft 365, we are meeting these expectations by using the integrated, intelligent cloud solution to power innovation and reimagine the future at Cummins.

—Sherry Aaholm

Read the Cummins Microsoft 365 Enterprise case study for a deeper dive on the transformation at Cummins.

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