IBM LotusLive has announced that it has poached Panasonic from Microsoft Exchange and is about to begin its largest ever enterprise deployment of cloud applications.
More than 100,000 Panasonic employees in various departments will begin the migration, and another 200,000 will follow.
IBM has been keen to boast the scale of the deal, which it claims to be the "largest enterprise cloud computing deployment in history", and the significance of a mature blue chip company moving to the cloud.
"Panasonic would only make this strategic move with the assurance that their daily business workflow will be safeguarded from costly interruptions and intrusions as millions of existing LotusLive users know," said IBM cloud collaboration vice president Sean Poulley.
"When responsible businesses such as Panasonic move to the cloud, they want innovative technologies without compromising security, reliability or privacy. That's why they choose IBM."
Panasonic is the largest Japanese electronics producer, and was ranked as the 89th largest company in the world in 2009 by the Forbes Global 2000.
The firm has made the choice to deploy email, calendaring and contact management software-as-a-service applications in order to support its decision to unify all its global brands under one name.
Panasonic also claimed that the open architecture of LotusLive will allow it to build extensions to its infrastructure without increasing the resources of its IT departments.
"LotusLive is an integral vehicle for our employees to truly function as a globally integrated enterprise," said Mitsuhiro Aoyama, Panasonic Corporate Information Systems Company vice president.
"It will allow us to work securely with our extended enterprise Panasonic partners and customers as if they are all in the same location, bringing the promise of quicker, more efficient teamwork and commerce worldwide."
Analyst firm Gartner suggested that the large-scale move by Panasonic to the cloud will be followed by many other companies in the near future.
Some 40 per cent of businesses will adopt a blend of cloud- and premise-based approaches to meet their unified communications needs by 2012, according to Gartner, compared with an estimated three to five per cent of businesses in 2009.
IBM LotusLive was launched at the company's global event last year, and has so far attracted 18 million users worldwide. More details of the Panasonic deal are expected to emerge at this year's event next week.
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