Marks & Spencer breaks through barriers to smarter working

Business situation

Marks & Spencer plc (M&S), a major British multinational retailer, embarked on a company-wide “Smarter Working” program, seeking to make its workplace culture more flexible and efficient.

This wasn’t just an exercise in refreshing technology or reducing costs. Smarter Working sought to dramatically transform ways of working at M&S and encourage collaboration across business units and countries. To bring this to life, M&S needed to equip its users with the right tools and training to allow them to work where their job demanded, without being tied to a desk.

“Avanade was not our cheapest option, but you get what you pay for. They have a real passion for their projects and truly deliver.”

Steven Collier Lead Technical Architect, Marks & Spencer


M&S looked for a partner that leads with a people-first change management approach, a track record of managing complex Skype for Business rollouts and the right skills to implement Microsoft Cloud PBX.

M&S chose Avanade, and Avanade delivered. Cloud PBX was introduced, providing true unified communications to M&S for the first time.

Avanade first reviewed the telephony architecture and recommended a couple of key design principles that would drive simplicity, speed and lower total cost of ownership. The team then built a dynamic business change plan. As driving adoption was essential, Avanade focused on three key pillars of activity: preparing, executing and reinforcing change for specific user personas.


The largest benefits have been with workplace transformation and helping the major retailer gain an agile edge with Skype for Business and Cloud PBX. Nearly 5,000 employees are now able to make and receive external calls using Skype for Business in any location, on their preferred device. This has created a step change in collaboration and information sharing, with dramatic increases in conference calls and instant messaging.

Some of the significant commercial benefits M&S experienced included:
  • The removal of the existing phone system and all the desk phones attached to it
  • Rationalising multiple conference call vendors down to one – Skype for Business
  • Radically simplifying and reducing the cost of office moves

Find out how we can help transform your workplace experience with Microsoft Office 365.

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