Martin
Aircraft Company

“Now that the Martin Jetpack is ready for commercial production, we’ll be using Office 365 to work productively as a virtual team and take advantage of global sales opportunities” Peter Coker, CEO, Martin Aircraft Company

After 30 years of development, Martin Aircraft Company is ready to launch the world’s first practical jetpack into the global market place. It replaced outdated business IT with Microsoft Office 365. Now its expanding workforce can communicate and collaborate efficiently as a virtual team to successfully sell the jetpack to life-saving first responders, military organisations, tourist operators, and individuals around the world. 

When Peter Coker joined Martin Aircraft Company in April 2013 as Chief Executive Officer, his goal was to take a small company with a unique product – the world’s first practical jetpack – and launch it into the global marketplace.

“Glenn Martin initially worked on his dream in his garage in Christchurch on his own and now, 30 years later, Glenn and our team of aviation experts have made the jetpack a reality,” says Coker. “Yet, when I joined Martin Aircraft, it was still running on very basic IT systems.” 

“We couldn’t successfully sell to government agencies and civilian customers around the world without reliable email, easy access to corporate data and sales materials, and real-time collaboration tools,” he says.

Antiquated Systems 

From the outset, Coker was determined to find the same level of enterprise-quality business productivity tools for Martin Aircraft employees that he used during his previous tenure at a large US aviation company. 

The company kept its business documents and intellectual property – technical drawings and engineering designs – on a server at the office. When they were out of the office, staff had difficulty accessing information on the server because the search function didn’t work and documents weren’t properly organised. “I worried about security because we couldn’t allocate permissions to documents,” says Coker. 

Coker has hired up to 40 people over the last 18 months, so it was imperative that he find the right business productivity tools to support his objectives for global expansion. 

Cloud-Based Global Productivity 

It was Martin Aircraft’s IT partner, the I.T. team, that suggested a solution to Coker’s problem – Microsoft Office 365. 

Martin Aircraft is migrating documents to the cloud so that sales representatives and engineers can easily access information regardless of their location. Engineers can use Lync Online to share screens during video-conferences to brainstorm design ideas, and SharePoint Online to collaborate simultaneously on design documents without being in the same room.

Staff use Office 365 ProPlus, the version of Microsoft Office that comes with many Office 365 plans. “Microsoft PowerPoint will be great for our sales reps; we do complex calculations in Excel; we’ll use Publisher for marketing materials; and we’ll replace some of our databases with Access,” says Coker. 

Professional Reliable Messaging 

With Exchange Online, when engineers and sales representatives are on the road, they can reliably access their email using their @martinaircraft.co.nz accounts, a first for the company. 

“When I’m out of the office meeting with prospective customers, I can rely on my email messages always getting through. Office 365 is effective and uncomplicated: we get the outcomes we need without worrying about technology,” says Coker.

Better Control over Intellectual Property 

Martin Aircraft can safeguard its intellectual property as the company launches into the global marketplace through better management of user credentials and permission to access documents and drawings. 

Builds Partnerships 

When expanding a business, it is essential to make connections and build relationships, and Coker will use the communication and collaboration tools in Office 365 to do just that. He will be adding his board members to the company’s Office 365 subscription so he can stay in touch when traveling, and he plans to use the videoconferencing features of Lync Online to communicate with Martin Aircraft’s legal counsel.