British Airways touches down with Microsoft on Office 365 deal

British airways jet flying high above the clouds

Microsoft has bagged a major cloud deal with the International Airlines Group (IAG) to provide 58,000 users with its online productivity suite Office 365.

IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, will use the product to boost business communication and collaboration.

It also said it hopes the cloud deployment will help staff within the British Airways, Iberia, IAG Cargo and Avios divisions work together with greater ease.

The new Enterprise Agreement includes Office 365 with Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online and Yammer. Microsoft said this would provide IAG with the necessary features and security to "help British Airways and Iberia transform their businesses and use cloud-based solutions."

The company was particularly keen to improve internal communication and collaboration through the use of social tools, which Microsoft offers with its enterprise social platform Yammer.

This offering will be used by British Airways and Iberia to help tackle customer feedback, and respond to market changes better.

"Giving our employees the tools and freedom to achieve more in their day-to-day activities was a key component in our decision to engage with Microsoft," said Nigel Underwood, chief information officer at IAG.

"Office 365 will allow employees to collaborate and achieve their work tasks regardless of the platform, product or device. This is an excellent example of IAG enabling change within the group to create a common IT platform for our airlines which will be more efficient and reduce our costs."

The addition of Yammer within Office 365 means Microsoft has made good on its promise to integrate the social networking tool within its productivity suite. This was something our sister publication Cloud Pro reported on back in March.

Yammer integration has been a feature of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM product since February, after it acquired the firm in July 2012 for $1.2 billion (792.6 million).

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.