When the pandemic hit in March 2020, businesses around the world were faced with a monumental new obstacle in their digital transformation roadmaps. Many needed to immediately migrate their entire workforces to remote work or even halt business entirely. For AM General, a defense contractor with 300,000 vehicles in service over 70 different countries, shutting down production was not an option. As an essential business, they had orders to fulfill for the United States government and commitments to meet.

AM General needed to continue their manufacturing process during the pandemic while enabling remote work for nearly 80% of their salaried shared services employees across their South Bend, Indiana headquarters, their Assembly Plant, and their Technology & Engineering Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Thankfully, AM General began a modernization of their infrastructure in 2018 and engaged with Apex Digital Solutions in late 2019 to modernize communications with a migration from Skype for Business to Teams.

However, AM General knew their current system could not effectively support the level of long-term collaboration that would be needed if the forecast for the pandemic stretched from weeks to months and beyond.

AM General recognized that once their salaried shared services employees began to return to the office in a hybrid work setting, they would need to have the same experience no matter where they were joining from or what device they were on. This went beyond personal devices—to truly enable high-quality meeting experiences this needed to extend to the meeting rooms themselves.

In 2021, AM General partnered with Apex Digital Solutions to deploy Microsoft Teams Rooms across their organization.

Enable rich collaboration in every meeting room.

Microsoft Teams Rooms is simple to deploy and easy to manage with a user-friendly “one touch” experience.

A Microsoft Teams Room is a hardware solution that outfits your conference rooms or shared spaces to connect seamlessly to Teams meetings.

With Microsoft Teams Rooms, you have:

  • A consistent, easy-to-use “one touch” experience for all your spaces, from small huddle to large conference rooms
  • rich collaboration experience that keeps everyone engaged, whether on the go or in-person
  • High-quality, transformed rooms without reconstruction or changing infrastructure of the room
  • simple to deploy on scale and easy to manage solution with Teams Admin Center or existing Windows management tools

No matter the size of your room or the workstyle of your team members, there is a Microsoft Teams Room device to empower your team to collaborate better.

Across their organization, AM General’s conference rooms were utilizing traditional conference phones and televisions for display purposes only. “The [Microsoft] Teams Rooms concept struck a chord and would allow us to utilize investment in the [existing] conference rooms and the televisions to bring Teams into that environment,” said Mark Guthrie, Director IS&S & CIO at AM General.

Apex and AM General identified pilot rooms at both their headquarters location and at their Technology & Engineering Center. “Our first proof of concept with Teams Rooms technology was a complete success,” said James Kreighbaum, Manager of Information Security at AM General, “[Apex was] able to remotely help me set up the system [and] create the room account. Literally within two hours I could take an existing TV on the wall and make it Teams Rooms capable.”

“[Apex was] able to remotely help me set up the system [and] create the room account. Literally within two hours I could take an existing TV on the wall and make it Teams Rooms capable.”

James Kreighbaum

Manager of Information Security, AM General

In 2021, AM General celebrated their 50th Anniversary in business, so from an organizational change management perspective, when rolling out any sort of change they are challenging five decades of tradition. However, with the rollout of the technology accompanied by a robust change management plan, Microsoft Teams Rooms was quickly embraced by AM General’s end users.

AM General’s diverse and agile user base immediately recognized the flexibility of Microsoft Teams Rooms as they were able to have the same meeting and collaboration experience no matter if they were joining from home or from an office conference room.

The ease of future implementation will allow AM General to continue to identify use cases and expand the impact of the technology across the enterprise.

“[W]e are positioned effectively with Microsoft and with Apex Digital at our side to continue to take advantage of these additional capabilities, to bring it to bear in our environment, and to create more agility and flexibility,” said Mark Guthrie, “and most importantly to support our business partners in their journey and make sure that user experience is one that invites them into the enabling technology platform which may have been different not even two years ago.”

Apex Digital Solutions is a professional and managed services provider enabling business transformation for customers to be more secure, productive, and engaged. A top Microsoft cloud partner, Apex was founded in 1999 with a purpose to “Empower people to make a positive difference in the lives of others.” Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, the company specializes in productivity, device management, and security cloud services.

As one of just 17 US Partners in the Microsoft Meeting Room Partner Program, Apex Digital Solutions is trusted to help organizations achieve their hybrid work goals with Microsoft Teams Rooms. Apex provides planning, deployment, and training for solutions from Yealink, Poly, and Logitech for various meeting spaces to enable everyone to be seen, heard, and fully participate from anywhere.

Apex’s Ignite for Microsoft Teams Rooms service offering will empower your workforce to connect, collaborate, and communicate confidently and securely across boundaries. Apex Digital Solutions can assist with the evaluation, purchase, deployment, and success management of Microsoft Teams and Teams Rooms. Learn More >>

AM General designs, engineers, manufactures, supplies, and supports specialized vehicles for military and commercial customers worldwide. Through its military business, the company is widely recognized as the world leader in design, engineering, manufacturing, and logistics support of military grade tactical vehicles, having produced and sustained more than 300,000 vehicles in over 70 countries. AM General has extensive experience meeting the changing needs of the defense and automotive industries, supported by its employees at major facilities in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio, and a strong supplier base that stretches across 43 states. Please see more information about AM General at www.amgeneral.com.