British Airways

Global Airline Uses Enterprise Social and Online Communication Tools to Improve Service

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

41000 employees

Organization Profile

Based in London, England, British Airways is a leading global airline, operating in excess of 300,000 flights every year to more than 160 cities with a fleet of more than 240 aircraft.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Yammer
Vertical Industries



United Kingdom



Company Overview:


British Airways (BA) has a workforce of approximately 41,000 colleagues, the majority of whom work outside of the office. To help colleagues connect with each other and better serve customers, BA is implementing Microsoft Office 365 and the Yammer Enterprise social networking service. These applications work on mobile devices so colleagues can share their expertise, improve service, increase engagement with the brand, and drive business strategies.

Business Needs:

British Airways (BA) is owned by International Airlines Group (IAG). BA employs approximately 41,000 colleagues who work in more than 75 countries and serve the 37.5 million passengers that fly annually with the airline. “To enable our vision as a world-class carrier with exemplary safety and service, IT works in partnership with the business,” says Julie Boddy, Business and Technology Improvement Manager, Service Transformation Department, at British Airways.

To help colleagues work better together to serve customers, BA needed to improve its messaging and collaboration tools. While office staff connects through email and collaborates on the intranet, the vast majority of colleagues who aren’t always behind PCs don’t necessarily have this option. “Accessing data on the go was a challenge for everyone,” says Boddy. “Our vision is to provide an intuitive communication platform that everyone can use to share knowledge and solve problems to drive our business forward.”

Challenges in top-down communications mean that BA corporate announcements are sent through a large number of communication channels, including the postal service, to reach the entire workforce. BA also wants to streamline communications among the different brands operating under IAG. “To build common business strategies as a forward-thinking group, we need common messaging and collaboration tools,” says Boddy. “But we have four different email platforms that don’t interoperate well, so sharing calendars is a nightmare, not to mention limited email quotas and attachment sizes.”

After consulting with colleagues, BA discovered that everyone had similar requirements: the capability to access their work data on the desktop or mobile device of their choice, from anywhere.


To find a collaboration platform that colleagues would readily adopt, British Airways looked at how people communicate outside of work. “Consumer technology gave us an insight into what our colleagues wanted,” says Boddy. “We heard repeatedly that they were more productive at home with their own devices than they were at work. Mobility and flexibility; anywhere, anytime access to data; real-time communications; sharing and storing files in a secure manner online—all these capabilities pointed us to Microsoft Office 365.”With Office 365 and Yammer Enterprise, Microsoft unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with the power of Microsoft Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, and enterprise social networking into a seamless user experience. BA acquired Office 365 in May 2013 and began an organic rollout program for Yammer. IT staff began using Yammer and encouraged early adopters in BA workplace communities to suggest business reasons for their colleagues to join in. In fewer than six months, more than 11,000 BA colleagues have joined the Yammer network. BA and its sister companies under IAG will deploy additional Office 365 services over the course of 2014.

“Yammer feels similar to tools that people would use in a consumer context, but when this type of capability is used for business purposes, it’s a huge boost for spontaneous, two-way, cross-company communications,” says Boddy.


With Office 365, British Airways gains a messaging and collaboration platform that’s all-inclusive and intuitive. “Yammer enables spontaneous, anytime, anywhere engagement among colleagues—sparking innovative new ideas for BA to improve customer service,” says Boddy.

Empowers Deskless Workers
Of the 11,000 colleagues who use Yammer, more than half are cabin crew and other front-line staff. Crew members can use Yammer on their mobile devices to connect with pilots, engineers, executives—anyone in the business—and get instant feedback. “Yammer is the initial big win for our remote workforce,” says Boddy. “They are excited that we are empowering them to share ideas and expertise. And with SharePoint Online, we can capture this expertise in team sites for anytime, anywhere access.”

Improves Customer Service
For anyone in a customer-facing role who is confronted with a service issue, Yammer provides a quick problem-solving tool in addition to existing formal feedback channels. “Posting an issue on Yammer means you’ll likely get an answer back from colleagues much more quickly,” says Boddy. “This level of responsiveness helps us provide excellent customer service.”

Builds Company Spirit
When BA took delivery of the latest “Superjumbo” A380 jet airliner from Airbus, employees used Yammer to communicate their excitement. Pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and office staff exchanged information and tips about the aircraft, which helped to strengthen their sense of pride in the airline. “This exchange of information increases tacit knowledge that colleagues can use to improve their job performance,” says Boddy.

First Step Toward Global Collaboration
Yammer is the first business collaboration capability that BA has deployed within the broader toolkit of Office 365. “With Exchange Online, everyone is looking forward to larger inboxes, so we won’t have to spend two hours a month cleaning up email,” says Boddy. “We’ll also be using Lync Online for our back-office colleagues to collaborate online, from any location and any device. We believe that Office 365 will help us better deliver responsive services to customers and more quickly achieve our business goals.”


Microsoft Case Study: British Airways

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