Sony Electronics Improves Collaboration, Information Access, and Productivity


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Sony Electronics provides audio/video electronics and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. As part of Sony Corporation, Sony Electronics employees collaborate with colleagues in offices around the world. The company sought a more efficient way to organize and search for documents on the corporate intranet, while also making it simpler for employees to connect with each other and share expertise. By deploying Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and becoming an early adopter of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Sony Electronics has given employees advanced document sharing capabilities and a more effective and easily searchable intranet, saving time and boosting productivity. Ready access to internal experts also saves consulting costs, and development time on key projects has been cut from three to six months to three to six weeks.

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Sony Electronics Improves Collaboration, Information Access, and Productivity

  1. 1. Customer Solution Case Study Sony Electronics Improves Collaboration, Information Access, and ProductivityOverview “Using the people and expertise search capabilities ofCountry or Region: United StatesIndustry: Manufacturing—Electronics SharePoint Server 2010, we can easily find people internally who have the passion and skills to help with aCustomer ProfileSony is a global technology and particular project, rather than hiring a consultant.”entertainment company with more Jim Whitmoyer, Business Applications Manager, Sony Electronicsthan 170,000 employees. The companyhad nearly U.S.$80 billion in 2008 sales. Sony Electronics provides audio/video electronics andBusiness Situation information technology products for the consumer andWith employees and information professional markets. As part of Sony Corporation, Sonyspread across many different locations,Sony was looking for ways to improve Electronics employees collaborate with colleagues in officesinformation access, enhance around the world. The company sought a more efficient way tocollaboration, and make better use ofinternal expert resources. organize and search for documents on the corporate intranet, while also making it simpler for employees to connect with eachSolutionBuilding on its implementation of other and share expertise. By deploying Microsoft OfficeMicrosoft Office SharePoint Server SharePoint Server 2007 and becoming an early adopter of2007, Sony became an early adopter ofMicrosoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Sony Electronics has givenusing it to enhance the corporate employees advanced document sharing capabilities and a moreintranet. effective and easily searchable intranet, saving time andBenefits boosting productivity. Ready access to internal experts also Increased innovation and sense of community saves consulting costs, and development time on key projects Better access to information and in- has been cut from three to six months to three to six weeks. house expertise Higher productivity, lower costs, faster development
  2. 2. “With wiki functionality Situation boundaries of innovation through Headquartered in San Diego, California, collaboration.”in SharePoint Server, Sony Electronics is a leading provider of popular consumer and professional Without a robust collaboration system inwe’re building what we electronic products. The company’s place, employees were exchanging ideascall SonyPedia—bringing operations include research and and plans mostly through e-mail, which development, design, engineering, overloaded inboxes and createdtogether insights from manufacturing, sales, marketing, document versioning issues. “I was on a distribution, and customer service. Sony number of distribution lists, and I got upemployees across the Electronics is part of Sony Corporation, to 300 e-mails a day,” says Whitmoyer. “Ienterprise into a single which is ranked as one of the world’s 100 couldn’t just discard them because there largest companies by Forbes magazine. might be something in them I needed tobody of knowledge, The company’s other divisions include know about. Also, if I sent a document to Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music 10 people and three of those peopledriving us toward a more Entertainment, and Sony Corporation of modified it and sent it back out, we’dunified company.” America. then have multiple versions but no version history or tracking.” Jim Whitmoyer, Business Applications As a company producing cutting-edge Manager, Sony Electronics technology, Sony Corporation promotes Sony is also constantly seeking to innovative thinking internally, and the innovate and modernize its information Sony Electronics division is at the infrastructure to better meet the forefront of that effort. “Innovation is expectations and working styles of the important to us,” says Sal Rosales, next generation of employees. Sony is SharePoint Architect at Sony Electronics. placing a greater emphasis on “Innovation got us where we are today, telecommuting, and employees want the and we need to continue innovating to company to adopt the same types of move forward. We have a lot of social networking technologies that they competition challenging our traditional use in other areas of daily life. “We have market areas, so there’s a big push for us a lot of affinity groups at Sony, and one to improve the ways we generate and of them is targeted at new, young use information across the enterprise.” employees who are joining the company,” says Whitmoyer. “Young With corporate, engineering, research, employees are very excited about social and manufacturing sites spread across computing because they know they can the United States and around the globe, use it to easily connect with people, at Sony Electronics faced challenges in home and at work.” communication across divisions and between employees. “Everyone was “We have lots of tech-savvy people,” operating as an island,” explains Jim adds Rosales. “They’re used to using Whitmoyer, Business Applications MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and similar Manager at Sony Electronics. “We’d talk sites. They want to see that same sort of with colleagues, but there wasn’t a lot of functionality—search and chat, for communication between our U.S. and example—available from their desktop at European offices, for example. So, we work, and they want to connect to looked for ways to take charge and build internal resources from anywhere.” stronger partnerships between our sister companies, while expanding the
  3. 3. Additionally, Sony Electronics employees migrating our environment on a site-by-faced challenges navigating the vast site basis and verifying that the sites stillamounts of information on the corporate work,” says Whitmoyer. “Where theynetwork and tapping into expert don’t work, we’re making furtherresources within the company. “We have customizations. Fortunately, almostso many different business units and had everything we developed in Officeso much data floating around,” says SharePoint Server 2007 works inRosales. “In order to work effectively and SharePoint Server 2010.”continue to innovate, we need to be ableto search for relevant data and pinpoint To address the company’s search needs,its owners and authors very quickly.” Sony Electronics also deployed Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint.Sony Electronics sought a solution that This software complements the searchwould support its goals to promote and integration capabilities of SharePointinnovation through collaboration and Server 2010 by adding a more engagingefficient access to information and and conversational search experience,expertise across corporate boundaries. and context to provide specific search experiences for different needs. It also offers advanced content processing toSolution create metadata and add structure toGiven its positive experiences with unstructured content.Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007,Sony Electronics was excited to With the deployment of SharePointaccelerate its internal culture of Server 2010 complete, the newinnovation with Microsoft SharePoint collaboration solution is already makingServer 2010. The company wanted to a positive business impact. Whitmoyertake advantage of new features such as says, “We currently have the entirean improved user interface, enhanced Enterprise edition of SharePoint Serverwiki functionality, and more robust 2010 installed, and it has been a prettysearch capabilities. painless migration for us. This frees our team to do more sophisticatedIT staff at Sony had also made a lot of customizations using SharePointcustomizations to its Office SharePoint integration with the Microsoft VisualServer 2007 environment. These included Studio 2010 development system anddeveloping forms with the Microsoft Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5.”InfoPath information-gathering program,implementing new workflows, brandingthe corporate intranet, and creating Benefitscustom ASPX pages. Other By deploying a collaboration solutioncustomizations included wiki tagging, based on SharePoint Server 2010 andFAST search refinements, and controls FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint,built using the Microsoft Silverlight Sony Electronics is promoting innovationbrowser plug-in. As a result, one of the and building a stronger sense ofimportant steps in the deployment of community. Employees have betterSharePoint Server 2010 has been to access to information and in-housemove these customizations into the new expertise, increasing productivity andversion’s test environment. “We’re
  4. 4. “Collaborating through lowering costs, and the company speeds Rosales adds, “My Sites give us a deeper through application development. understanding of our employees’ workSharePoint Server, I’m skills and interests, and provide a much Increased Innovation and Sense of richer organizational view that helpsconnected all the time. Community Sony better leverage the potential of itsIt’s really like people are At Sony Electronics, innovation thrives on human resources for better innovation.” employees interacting and exchangingin the next cubicle, ideas. To promote this interaction, the As another example, the implementation company is taking advantage of of a central repository for sharing fileswhether they’re 1 mile SharePoint features that foster a greater has made it easier for employees toaway or 100 miles away.” sense of community in the virtual collaboratively write, edit, and exchange environment. documents. This eliminates the need to Jim Whitmoyer, Business Applications e-mail the documents back and forth Manager, Sony Electronics For example, Sony Electronics is using and resolves versioning issues. “We’ve enhanced wiki capabilities to capture been able to cut down on the employees’ insights and comments, roundabout communication that was employ corporate governance to going on before,” says Whitmoyer. “We manage this content, and efficiently can share documents through a library or search through the content and apply it desktop sharing, which makes it simple where it is needed. Whitmoyer says, to manage everyone’s revisions. We “With wiki functionality in SharePoint republish documents and use RSS feeds Server, we’re building what we call to get updates, so there’s no need to use SonyPedia—bringing together insights e-mail—we have a single source of from employees across the enterprise truth.” into a single body of knowledge, driving us toward a more unified company.” Finally, tighter integration between SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Similarly, Sony Electronics recognizes Office Communications Server 2007 has that it can be difficult for new employees made it simpler for colleagues to at such a large organization to locate communicate who are telecommuting or necessary resources and connect with located in other offices. This includes the peers. To address this issue, the company ability to immediately call one another is using the solution’s robust My Site directly on the computer. Rosales says, pages and people search feature to “Connecting people via the integration identify people who have similar with Microsoft Office Communicator and innovation interests or who work on the Microsoft Office suites helps drive similar projects. “With SharePoint Server, innovation instantly—anytime, we expect that as new employees come anywhere.” in they will connect quickly with co- workers,” says Whitmoyer. “And as we go Whitmoyer adds, “Collaborating through through organizational changes, we also SharePoint Server, I’m connected all the expect that existing employees will time. It’s really like people are in the next integrate quickly with a new team. It’s a cubicle, whether they’re 1 mile away or great tool for people to get connected 100 miles away.” with other people.”
  5. 5. “With SharePoint Server, Better Access to Information and In- they find the documents they need much House Expertise quicker than before. Plus, projectwe can reduce our IT There is a vast amount of information on managers can use people search to the Sony Electronics intranet, and in the proactively look across the company andcosts and achieve a past, it was difficult to narrow down find an expert for a project in its earliestquicker time-to-market. search results to find a particular stages.” document. Now, IT staff has indexed… Where development internal documents with FAST Search For the solution in general, Whitmoyer Server 2010 for SharePoint, and this has adds, “Difficult tasks like precisely findingmight have taken three made it significantly easier to track down relevant documents or specializedto six months before, desired files. Whitmoyer says, “By expertise across a large corporation can indexing our entire SharePoint be cut from weeks to minutes usingnow we can complete it environment with FAST search SharePoint Server.” technologies and its ability to navigatein three to six weeks.” through the search results, a user can Another way that the solution saves time Jim Whitmoyer, Business Applications immediately narrow an ambiguous is by streamlining the application Manager, Sony Electronics search request to a very focused set of development processes. “With relevant results.” SharePoint Server, we can reduce our IT costs and achieve a quicker time-to- The new solution also helps to find market on new projects within the relevant people, not just information, company,” says Whitmoyer. “Where which has traditionally been difficult. “We development might have taken three to have a lot of knowledge in-house at six months before, now we can complete Sony Electronics, and there are lots of it in three to six weeks.” workers with specialized expertise,” adds Whitmoyer. “Using the people and On the solution as a whole, he concludes, expertise search capabilities of “Microsoft really got it right with SharePoint Server 2010, we can easily SharePoint Server 2010.” find people internally who have the passion and skills to help with a particular project, rather than hiring a consultant. And because employees are able to advertise their expertise online, they may find new job opportunities within the company.” Higher Productivity, Lower Costs, Faster Development The improved access to stored information and internal experts translates directly into cost savings—by avoiding hiring outside consultants—and into time savings and higher productivity. Whitmoyer observes, “Employees are more productive using FAST search technologies, with greater control over how they search. As a result,
  6. 6. For More Information Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010For more information about Microsoft Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is theproducts and services, call the business collaboration platform for theMicrosoft Sales Information Center at Enterprise and the Internet.(800) 426-9400. In Canada, call theMicrosoft Canada Information Centre For more information about Microsoftat (877) 568-2495. Customers in the SharePoint Server 2010, go to:United States and Canada who are or hard-of-hearing can reachMicrosoft text telephone (TTY/TDD)services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the50 United States and Canada, pleasecontact your local Microsoft subsidiary.To access information using the WorldWide Web, go more information about SonyElectronics products and services, visitthe Web site Software and Services − Microsoft Office Communicator  Microsoft Server Product Portfolio 2007 − Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010  Microsoft Visual Studio  Microsoft Office − Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 − Microsoft Office SharePoint Server  Technologies 2007 − Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 − Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007This case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published May 2010