Microsoft is exploring MaaS solutions for employees
Technology giant Microsoft is exploring opportunities to offer its employees mobility services as an alternative to company cars, in a move designed to help the environment and enhance the company’s benefits package. Any service, however, will have to be highly personalised to the individual requirements of staff, according to David Omodei, senior procurement engagement manager (pictured right).
He told delegates at the Global Fleet Conference in Lisbon: “We believe that by diversifying our modes of transport we can reduce our carbon footprint. The second element is our HR strategy; we love to bring something new to our employees from a benefits perspective.”
Omodei insisted that the choice of whether to take a car or a mobility solution would rest with the employee, with the offer reflecting the different lifestyle requirements of staff, including their age, family situation and where they live.
“Everyone makes different choices depending on their needs of the day,” he said. “It’s that level of insight we want as an overlay on all the options available, depending where you are in the world.”
Bundling these services into a single mobility as a service (MaaS) app is an encouraging step forward, and Omodei would like any app to be proactive so it: “Gets to know you and where you need to be; and then tells you if you take the train today or car today you will save this much time.”
Any solution, however, needs to be cost neutral with Microsoft’s company car scheme, although it should be beneficial to the environment, he said. Currently, he added, there is only a small handful of countries where mobility as a service (MaaS) is possible, and even in these countries the solution is typically restricted to metropolitan areas and does not serve rural communities.
“Flexibility is the magic word,” said Jaap van Daalen, commercial director of Fleet Support (pictured left), citing interviews with company car drivers he had conducted in the Netherlands.
“In the provinces, when you try to take away lease cars, employees get really angry,” he said. “It’s all about choice and giving employees what they really want and what they really need. A car policy and mobility policy have to cater to the needs of employees, especially at the moment when HR departments have so much trouble finding the right people.”
The best way to find out what employees really want is to start with a pilot project, said Florian von Klier, executive director of global innovations at Sixt (pictured centre).
“We believe in digitisation, flexibility and shared mobility. We believe flexibility means paying as you use for mobility,” he said.
And he advised fleet decision makers to pay close attention to the detail of cost comparisons between the TCO of lease cars compared to rental. Rental, he said, is not only an all-inclusive product, but also has the flexibility to be turned off when an employee does not need a car, so there is no need to pay for 365 days if the vehicle is only required for fewer days.