Microsoft NetMeeting Helps Dow Chemical Interact Globally
REDMOND, Wash., March 2, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that The Dow Chemical Co., the fifth-largest chemical company in the world, has joined the growing number of corporations that are using Microsoft® NetMeeting
conferencing software to meet their business needs.
Dow Chemical is utilizing the dataconferencing features of NetMeeting to develop its corporate intranet into a real-time communication and collaboration network, allowing teams of employees in remote locations to work together while reducing the need for travel. Dow has made NetMeeting available on 30,000 desktops at 120 sites around the world, and the company’s use of NetMeeting continues to increase, including among upper management.
“Dow Chemical’s extensive use of NetMeeting demonstrates the tremendous business value that real-time collaboration offers organizations,” said Yusuf Mehdi, director of marketing, applications and Internet client group at Microsoft. “With the ability to solve real business problems, such as improving employee productivity and significantly reducing travel expenses, NetMeeting is quickly becoming the real-time collaboration client of choice.”
NetMeeting Helps Dow Meet the Challenges of Globalization
Dow’s evolution into a more global organization has led the company to organize “virtual teams” of employees from diverse locations around the world, which often means that employees must travel for meetings. To reduce travel costs, Dow’s information systems department launched a collaborative computing project to explore how NetMeeting could help improve communication and reduce the need for travel within the company. A team made up of members from Texas and Michigan collaborated online on the project plan and schedule as well as on various network designs and their components. Using NetMeeting to edit documents online saved the Texas team members two or three trips to Michigan.
“The cost savings added up to as much as $2,000 per trip per person – approximately $10,000 total – in travel costs and time,” said Jay Vander Wall, technical architect in Dow’s information systems technology center.
Using NetMeeting over the corporate intranet, remote teams of Dow employees at any of Dow’s locations in 160 countries can now share presentations and applications and collaborate on the same documents at the same time. An upper-management team of members from seven countries met three times last year using NetMeeting to determine goals for the coming year.
“We estimate that we’ve saved between $15,000 and $20,000 in travel and related costs on one business team project alone since the corporate rollout of NetMeeting in October 1997,” said Harold Bennett, Dow technology specialist and manager of the desktop conferencing project.
One of Dow’s vice presidents recently used the dataconferencing features of NetMeeting in conjunction with a video teleconference to hold a global staff meeting. Participants, who were in North America, Europe and the Pacific Rim, found that sharing data through NetMeeting greatly enhanced the audio and video aspects of the teleconference by allowing Microsoft PowerPoint® presentations to be shared simultaneously by all participating sites. This allowed the information to be communicated more effectively than would have been possible with just a video camera.
NetMeeting Increases Productivity, Shortens Project Cycles
One of the major benefits NetMeeting has provided Dow’s organization is to help increase users’ productivity. In a poll of employees after the initial pilot involving upper-management and business teams, 85 percent of respondents said NetMeeting had increased their productivity.
With the application-sharing capability within the NetMeeting multipoint dataconferencing feature, all users can view and focus on the same information at the same time from their desktops. Dow employees can add input to a manager’s plans and receive an immediate commitment, allowing them to begin planning right away. Meanwhile, the manager can make corrections in the shared document and offer instant feedback.
“NetMeeting is a very good tool for allowing people to share information and for everyone else to see the item they are talking about,” Bennett said. “It enables users to offer feedback, or resolve an issue on the spot. NetMeeting lets us get to work faster and complete projects more quickly.”
NetMeeting also allows Dow to enhance the functionality of Microsoft Office applications for collaboration. Business teams have been able to share and edit PowerPoint presentations, making modifications in real time using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. In addition, IT staffers use NetMeeting to display and review Web pages being constructed using the FrontPage® Web site creation and management tool.
Dow plans to investigate videoconferencing in select applications as a communication tool for upper management in the future, as well as the possibility of using videoconferencing with its vendors to provide technical support, share specifications and support customer-relations efforts.
NetMeeting brings real-time, standards-based audio-, video- and multipoint dataconferencing capabilities to the mainstream corporate desktop, making communication and collaboration more accessible across the enterprise. For additional information about NetMeeting, or to download the software free of charge from the Internet (connect-time charges may apply), visit the Microsoft Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/netmeeting/ . This site also includes case studies describing how other corporations are using NetMeeting, along with tools to assist evaluation and deployment, including the NetMeeting Resource Kit and the Internet Locator Server directory service software.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
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