easyJet soars into a collaborative digital future with Office 365

Today’s post was written by Chris Brocklesby, chief information officer for easyJet.

easyjet-pro-pixIn just 20 years, easyJet has become one of Europe’s leading airlines, operating a fleet of 250 aircraft on more than 820 routes across 30 countries. Coming from a retail background, I like the customer-facing aspect of an airline, where we are all about providing great service that makes people happy. And I like the way that IT plays a huge role in supporting our innovative, entrepreneurial corporate culture. In terms of generating revenue, providing great service and improving the lives of the crew, IT is fundamental to our operations. IT is also a way to ensure that we are highly automated, efficient and cost effective. That’s why we are deploying Office 365 as the foundation of a more modern workplace that will empower employees to deliver great customer service—and enable easyJet to navigate the best route through a rapidly evolving aviation industry.

The digitization of the industry and passengers’ expectations began about five years ago. We deliver low fares because our sales are digitized, but frankly, that’s the easy part. We need to look at supporting our passengers through the entire day of travel with digital services that extend our reach into their lives and build brand loyalty. So, enabling people to check where their inbound flight is, to make plans with updated departure times and check how long the queue is at security; to view airport maps to find their gate and figure out which baggage carousel to use at their destination—all these things support our ethos of making travel simple and affordable.

We need to provide employees and crew with the right business tools to follow through with this vision. That’s the role of Office 365. We cannot digitize the customer experience without also digitizing the employee experience; the cloud-based collaboration and communication tools that Office 365 brings to the table will free employees from paper, from offices and from specific devices to work with a greater freedom to serve passengers before, during and after their flights. It will also serve to build a stronger sense of connection between our approximately 9,000 flight crew and our head office in Luton, north of London.

When we can engender stronger feelings of connection within the company through online collaboration tools and an enterprise social network, we anticipate a more engaged and informed crew providing better service to customers. Sharing best practices, recognizing each other’s customer service, as well as accessing corporate news anytime, anywhere will become a regular part of all employees’ workday.

And for management in local offices across Europe, Skype for Business Online is going to transform our company’s approach to meetings. Not surprisingly for an airline, people fly around Europe to attend meetings, but every time they do, we deny ourselves the opportunity of selling that seat to a passenger. As a low-cost airline, we are obsessed about reducing costs, and Skype for Business Online will make a big difference in that regard.

At easyJet, safety and security for passengers and employees is paramount. The same is true for our data. Our previous on-premises email solution wasn’t resilient but we can meet content security and data usage compliance guidelines more easily with the tools built into Office 365. From easy-to-use services in a modern, connected workplace, to enterprise grade security, our new business productivity cloud services are set to play a significant role in charting the future at easyJet.

—Chris Brocklesby