HOW OUR IT DEPARTMENT HELPED A LEADING RECRUITMENT COMPANY MAKE THE SUCCESSFUL MIGRATION TO OFFICE 365 BUSINESS.
Struggling Exchange and File Servers.
The existing Exchange email server hardware being used by the Recruitment Company was overworked due to accelerated growth and an increased reliance on email communications over the past 5 years.
Additionally, the client’s existing file server was becoming outdated and therefore had very limited capabilities. This was placing an extra burden on the already overworked Exchange server because employees were relying on email to accomplish daily productivity tasks and collaboration with other colleagues on files and documents.
Our responsibility was to replace the client’s antiquated Exchange and file servers with a more efficient cost-effective email and document management solution.
OUR INITIAL FINDINGS.
Day-to-day email issues.
When conducting an IT Network Infrastructure audit, we quickly realised that the client’s network was suffering from many day-to-day email issues – both in the office and remotely. In addition, our service desk team had identified that a high percentage of support calls were related to email issues. This was confirmed in a service desk performance report we presented to the client that was generated from a specialised help desk application.
That’s not all.
Due to accelerated growth and increased reliance on email communications, existing employees were using many different versions of Microsoft Office from 2003 to 2010. The use of varied versions of Office were causing problems with compatibility, ongoing support and daily maintenance.
Additionally, the client was also using a local file server for document storage and the file server had no document version tracking capabilities. Because of this, staff members were collaborating on various projects by emailing documents back and forth to each other. This way of communicating was inefficient and affected daily productivity, as well as the client’s bottom line.
The performance of their in-house Exchange server was also being affected because of the large number of document versions that were being emailed between the employees. This would cause the server to crash on a regular basis due to storage issues and outdated hardware in dire need of an upgrade.
These ongoing issues were clearly having an impact on productivity and communication with staff becoming frustrated by daily distractions from more important tasks. The client had also experienced several financial setbacks due to ongoing communication issues which were a result of lost emails and send and receive errors.
- All their employees would be using the same version of Outlook and Office applications within Office 365, removing any compatibility issues and making ongoing support and widespread training easier.
- This version of Office 365 Business incorporates SharePoint Online which is the perfect solution for an organisation that needs an efficient document management and collaboration platform. Company employees can access email, contacts, documents, and the company intranet from anywhere and on any device using any browser.
- The external sales team will benefit from using the same email and document management platforms that can be accessed anywhere from the cloud, allowing them to share and collaborate on documents as if they were working in the office.
- The staff are familiar with the look and feel of Microsoft applications because they already used them in-house which makes the transition to Office 365 easier.
- Because the company was growing fast, Office 365 was a highly scalable solution that would allow the IT Manager to provision accounts for new employees quickly and efficiently, while controlling costs.
- A 99.9% uptime guarantee in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) provides greater reliability without the expense of added capital investments such as a Hyper-V server, backup power, storage areas, etc.
- Improved security results from the compliance-certified physical security Microsoft deploys in its data centres in addition to encryption technologies, backup and redundancy, data protection agreements, and more.
Initially, there was some scepticism from the internal management team about moving email to the cloud because they experienced multiple issues with other vendors that failed in their attempts to migrate to an updated email solution.
To ease their fears, a member of our Project Management team worked closely with the in-house IT Manager and department heads to ensure a thorough understanding of their requirements and expectations regarding the project outcome. Additionally, we provided them with a detailed understanding of how the migration process works and the many advantages of switching to Office 365.
Once the client realised how seamlessly they could migrate to Office 365 and how easy it was to access their email and data from the cloud, they agreed to proceed with the project. They also requested Out IT Department to fully manage the Office 365 migration project on their behalf to prevent their in-house IT function from being distracted from day-to-day support responsibilities.
Keeping everyone in the loop.
Once the client committed to the project, our Project Management team worked closely together with the IT Manager and the Senior Management team to ensure that everyone was on-board and kept up to date at every stage of the migration process.
We provided everyone with a ‘Statement of Work’ that defines the scope of the work involved to complete the Office 365 migration project. This document contains details such as all deliverables and milestones, the tasks that lead to the deliverables, the resources needed to complete the project and a breakdown of costs and deadlines.
Before the Office 365 migration project was completed, our Technical Account Manager also ran a number of Office 365 workshops with the existing staff members so they could become familiar with the Office 365 interface, its features and functionality.
Because most of the staff were not familiar with SharePoint, we also arranged for our in-house SharePoint consultant to visit the client’s premises and provide a demonstration of SharePoint’s many capabilities. This included a number of hands-on SharePoint training sessions onsite.
This unique and proactive approach to software implementation minimised the impact on productivity that is sometimes experienced after migration to a new software platform.
Before Office 365 was deployed in the London office, the Project Management team selected 10 staff members from different departments to pilot Office 365 in a test environment. This best practice approach ensured that Office 365 would function correctly in the client’s working environment and meet their expectations. The test also helped to highlight any potential challenges before the full migration process began.
After a successful testing period, the Project Management team started the migration process, completing the following tasks:
- Migration of 100+ mailboxes from the existing Exchange Server to Office 365.
- Migration of all existing public folders to public folders in Office 365.
- Configuration of identity and password synchronisation between Active Directory on the client’s Windows server and Office 365.
- Updates to the DNS records.
- Setup and configuration of SharePoint Online, which replaces the existing file server.
- Migration of all data from the existing file server to SharePoint Online.
- The decommissioning of the now redundant Exchange and file servers.
The client realised a massively improved email and document management service immediately after the office 365 migration project was completed. They fully migrated all their email to Office 365 which allowed them to retire their outdated Exchange server and realise the immediate benefits of using the latest and most advanced email system.
In addition, their existing file server has been replaced with SharePoint online which eliminates the older and time consuming method of sharing documents with colleagues through emails. It also added a new layer of document management and collaboration capabilities to the organisation to further increase efficiency. Although full training was provided, the existing staff members quickly adopted SharePoint thanks to its familiar and user-friendly interface.
The entire project was completed successfully within 7 days from the acceptance of our proposal and without ANY disruption to the client’s day-to-day operations.
OFFICE 365 ADDED VALUE TO THEIR BUSINESS.
- Consolidation: All staff email accounts, calendars and public folders have been consolidated into a single platform, greatly simplifying the network and reducing the number of administrative tasks for the IT Manager.
- Unification: Everyone in the organisation is now using the same version of Office, which is automatically updated to the latest version in the cloud – making training and ongoing support much more straightforward.
- New Applications: Our IT Department has helped the client to embrace other Microsoft applications that are included with their Office 365 subscription, including Skype for Business and Sway.
- Improved Administration: The IT Manager now has more time to concentrate on other tasks because of the advanced administration capabilities* included in Office 365.
- Better Collaboration: Collaboration between office and remote staff is much improved thanks to SharePoint’s document tracking and management capabilities.
- Mobility: Mobility has been improved and the sales team now shares the same email and document management platform with the office staff which is easy to access from their phones, iPads and laptops.
- Data Backup: The company now has an effective online backup solution in place for their emails and documents which are all stored in the cloud and backed up regularly by Microsoft.
*The fully featured management console lets you customise and administrate just about everything in Office 365 and is no different from deploying software on-premises.
THERE WERE ALSO MANY FINANCIAL BENEFITS.
- Reduced Financial Setbacks: The financial setbacks related to ongoing problems with email communication have been eradicated immediately with the introduction of Office 365.
- Lower Capital Expenditures: Through the implementation of a subscription-based cloud solution, the client was saved from the capital expenditure of a server upgrade project, including licensing, hardware and project management costs. We’ve estimated that this saving alone will pay for their initial Office 365 subscription for the next three years.
- Improved Financial Visibility: The Office 365 subscription-based model has helped the client to control costs and provides better financial visibility into the client’s IT spending as the business continues to grow.
- Lower TCO: Migration to Office 365 lowered the Total Cost of Ownership in terms of compliance, security, software, hardware, and IT support, in addition to web conferencing and long distance phone costs. Additionally, the ability to scale up or down at any time reduces expenditures on infrastructure that sits idle in anticipation of business growth.
WE CAN MANAGE YOUR TRANSITION TO OFFICE 365.
Our IT Department is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. We’re a trusted and highly technical Microsoft cloud solutions specialist that has successfully migrated over 500,000 client mailboxes to Office 365, in addition to introducing other Office 365 applications to the workplace, including SharePoint Online and Skype for Business.
We hope you enjoyed reading this Office 365 case study.
Let our Office 365 Migration services experts fully manage your upcoming email migration project. Contact a member of our business development team today by calling 020 8501 7676, or complete the form below to get in touch with us today.
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