Multipharma clears way for New World of Work with Microsoft Office 365

‘The decision to choose Microsoft Office 365 was made for two reasons: speed of implementation and cost.’

Multipharma has switched to the New World of Work
Office 365 for 1,800 colleagues was the first hurdle in this programme
Xylos integrated Office 365 with Exchange Server in a hybrid email cloud

Pharmacy Group Multipharma has resolutely chosen for the ‘New World of Work’, partly so it can communicate more easily with its 300 sales outlets in Belgium. Aided by Xylos, the company took its first step and activated 1,800 Microsoft Office 365 accounts. Xylos connected these accounts with Microsoft Exchange Server in a hybrid set-up at the company headquarters. This has given 1,800 employees access to their own email address for the first time. The HR department then quickly decided to fully digitise a number of its paper processes via email. The project has therefore paved the way for better and more transparent communications thanks to a broader NWoW programme.

Switch to Microsoft Office 365: faster and more economical

‘The decision to choose Microsoft Office 365 was made for two reasons: speed of implementation and cost,’ explains Bernard Pierre. ‘We didn’t need full licences because the people in our pharmacies simply use the central computer. So we subscribed to hundreds of the so-called K1 plans, which give our pharmacy employees access to Outlook Online and enable them to look up documents via the browser. Another benefit is that employees can check their email wherever they are, which is really useful for our mobile pharmacy employees.’

This new way of working, collaborating and communicating with the 300 sales outlets in Belgium means Multipharma can continue its recent growth and support the change in culture. The interaction between the head office and pharmacies will become more intensive in the future, so the company can really stay on top of everything and respond quickly when necessary.

Hybrid and fully integrated environment

Xylos arranged all 1,800 new email addresses in less than two months. ‘On the face of it this isn’t very complicated,’ explains Bernard Pierre. ‘Xylos mainly used its expertise to link all these new addresses to the existing Active Directory and our own Exchange Server, so we can share calendars with each other and access the organisation’s full list of contacts. A hybrid email cloud like this isn’t simple, but Xylos knew exactly how to go about it.’

  • 1,800 employees with an Office 365 subscription
  • 2 number of months to complete the migration to Office 365
  • 95% number of email accounts in active use


Xylos develops reference cards to accelerate adoption

Because of the short project time, Xylos and Multipharma decided against traditional training or e-learning to set the many pharmacy employees on their way with Office 365. All the information required to get started quickly was made available on reference cards which were specially developed for Multipharma by Xylos. A pilot group provided a first round of feedback after which Xylos was able to update these cards. 

Bernard Pierre’s team monitored the adoption rate and number of new registrations for three months. This showed that employees were using their new emails accounts very actively. The HR department quickly decided to convert a number of its paper communications so they could only be run electronically, which also stimulated employees to go digital and encouraged them to use Office 365 regularly, which Multipharma quickly became aware of from the number of active users.

In the past, all pharmacy employees received a paper brochure containing all the internal training courses, for example. They then had to fill in a form and send it back. But that’s a thing of the past now. They receive an email with a link to the new online training platform where they can register digitally. Thanks to Microsoft Office 365, the organisation is now wasting less paper and saving more time and money.

Office 365 paves the way for new NWoW projects

The Office 365 project was ultimately the first hurdle in the NWoW project. ‘We wanted to switch over quickly and show the organisation that the NWoW pays off. So the rate of adoption was very important for its further progress with new video and telephone software. Following the initial positive experiences, our pharmacists are now looking forward to this change, because they know it will improve communications even further. They’re happy that the company is investing in their job satisfaction,’ concludes the programme manager.

‘Xylos mainly used its expertise to link Microsoft Office 365 to the existing Active Directory and our own Exchange Server. A hybrid email cloud like this isn’t simple, but Xylos knew exactly how to go about it.’

Bernard Pierre, NWoW Programme Manager