IT Consulting Firm Promotes Success by Using PlexHosted to Deploy Microsoft Office 365 Technologies

For regular operations and leadership meetings there are savings of more than US$20,000 a year in travel reimbursements and as much as 1,200 hours a year saved in travel time. Without Skype PSTN Conferencing, these kinds of sessions would have to be scaled back or held far less frequently which essentially defeats the purpose.

Customer Challenge

A leading network designer faces continuous challenges with employee collaboration. As a consulting firm its employees face ever changing work environments when serving the diverse needs of its many clients. Office 365 offers numerous product solutions for meeting these collaboration challenges. However, matching the right solution to the ever changing employee work environment becomes a challenge in and of itself.

To improve global collaboration and mobility for its workforce, they turned to PlexHosted for its Office 365 expertise coupled with practical technical support experience.

Solution

The solution requires a fast and flexible Office 365 reconfiguration process, and a real time capability to map new services into changing employee work environments in minutes. All backed up by responsive technical support and a billing system that accurately tracks the continuously changing cost profile.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business is a key business tool. It provides a collaboration hub for all the parties involved in a project. Project engineers can set up folders in OneDrive for Business and send links to those who need access to the drawings and files. Parties can be limited to only view documents rather than download or modify them, which is great for data security and version control.

Project teams also use OneNote extensively for project coordination and other team cooperation. OneNote makes it a lot easier to make sure everyone is working off the same set of tasks. Some field staff use it on iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and other mobile devices to compile task lists during project meetings. In addition, teams can create project schedules with Microsoft Project Pro and use Microsoft Visio Pro for easy workflow documentation.

Technology at Work

To encourage collaboration, team members need capabilities to work from anywhere. It therefore becomes necessary to find tools employees actively want to use. That means the full complement of Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite, E1, E3, E5, as well as the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite. This gives employees the ability to pick up any device they want and have easy access to other employees and information.

Built-in Features

Additional features in Microsoft Exchange Online, such as eDiscovery, Exchange Online Protection, and archiving bring historical information to everyone’s finger tips. Long gone are the days of hunting through mailboxes and disorganized file structures.

“Today, employees work more productively on virtual teams by using Office 365 cloud-based collaboration services to respond faster to customers’ many network design needs. The result – efficiency, cost-savings, and more solutions to meet challenges.

Companies get paid to produce, not manage emails. They need the most cost-effective solution to manage emails, devices, documents, and team communications. The small fee paid per month per employee for Office 365 is always less than having a dedicated employee for system administration.”

– IT Director

Enhanced Security

There’s no way to create as resilient an environment as is available in Office 365. Microsoft has to provide tight security for its customers in closely regulated industries like financial services. All customers benefit from all the research and development put into securing the Office 365 environment for those customers.

Team Collaboration

Employees make heavy use of Microsoft SharePoint Online as the gateway to all their apps and a hub for team collaboration. PlexHosted provides assistance when deploying any new capabilities within the environment. Each team has a public and a private SharePoint Online site for sharing information—calendars, contact lists, document libraries, and Microsoft OneNote notebooks. It’s important to make sure that information is not living on one central file that is difficult to access. Since team members often work in different offices, or on customer sites, or next to each other, they’re maintaining a single source of information at the team level by taking advantage of Office 365 collaboration, version control, and other features.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business is a key business tool. It provides a collaboration hub for all the parties involved in a project. Project engineers can set up folders in OneDrive for Business and send links to those who need access to the drawings and files. Parties can be limited to only view documents rather than download or modify them, which is great for data security and version control.

Project teams also use OneNote extensively for project coordination and other team cooperation. OneNote makes it a lot easier to make sure everyone is working off the same set of tasks. Some field staff use it on iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and other mobile devices to compile task lists during project meetings. In addition, teams can create project schedules with Microsoft Project Pro and use Microsoft Visio Pro for easy workflow documentation.

Flexibility to Work Anywhere

With team members spread across the country, Click-to-Run is used to deploy Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus efficiently, ensuring that each team member always has the latest Office applications on every device. Keeping the entire workforce on the same up-to-date software improves productivity. And team members consider Office 365 ProPlus an added value because it’s free for them to use on their personal mobile devices and computers. It’s really valuable to find that files follow you from device to device readily available at your fingertips.

Significant Cost Savings, less Travel Time

Valuable work hours are often lost traveling long distances to attend meetings in person. Skype PSTN Conferencing is used for weekly operations meetings and monthly leadership team meetings that bring together as many as 30 to 40 people from multiple sites and regions. In addition Skype PSTN Conferencing is used for training, project planning, and other sessions. Usually project managers cannot afford to take time away from onsite projects for in-person meetings with project executives.

Skype PSTN Conferencing solves that problem. Decision makers and knowledge expert are “in the room” having a tactical, real-time discussions. This has a positive impact on morale as well as what is accomplished.

“There’s no way to create as resilient an environment as is available in Office 365. Microsoft has to provide tight security for its customers in closely regulated industries like financial services. All customers benefit from all the research and development put into securing the Office 365 environment for those customers.”

– IT Director

Every meeting follows an agenda in OneNote that stays open between meetings for attendees to update. Participants use screen sharing to follow the agenda and review other pertinent documents jointly. Everything and everyone needed to make decisions is right there, with no time wasted on follow-up email and calls.

In addition to making the meetings themselves more valuable, Skype PSTN Conferencing saves considerable time and expense. For regular operations and leadership meetings there are savings of more than US$20,000 a year in travel reimbursements and as much as 1,200 hours a year saved in travel time. Without Skype PSTN Conferencing, these kinds of sessions would have to be scaled back or held far less frequently which essentially defeats the purpose.

“Project teams use OneNote extensively for project coordination and other team cooperation. OneNote makes it a lot easier to make sure everyone is working off the same set of tasks. Some field staff use it on iPad, Microsoft Surface Pro 4, and other mobile devices to compile task lists during project meetings.”

– IT Director

Easier IT Administration, Reduced Costs

The IT team appreciates the self-service nature of so many Microsoft technologies. It’s a win-win situation – an environment is provided where team members can install their own applications – time is not taken away from other tasks to do the installation.

The IT team has also rethought its network and the whole approach, since it no longer needs the same level of infrastructure to support workforce productivity. The shift to Office 365 has freed up the IT team. Instead of dedicating technicians to manage and update servers, they become a partner to the business, deploying new capabilities to help make team members’ lives easier.

Support for a Larger, more Connected Community

There is an aggressive goal to grow the business. However, adding new team members can be time-consuming and cause scalability issues for IT. Three offices were recently added. The footprint could not have grown so significantly, and could not have expanded as quickly or successfully without Office 365 and capabilities like Skype PSTN Conferencing.

With five offices and many new team members today, it is a challenge to retain the same culture that has brought so much success. Not everyone knows each other, but the Yammer enterprise social network is used to engage with employees. Team members use Yammer to coordinate discussions, share information and industry news, and acknowledge excellent performance. It’s a powerful way to connect people from different offices and keep coworkers informed and inspired – for example, by snapping photos at a customer off-site and posting them right away.

By deploying Office 365 solutions, this consulting firm is meeting the employee collaboration challenges that contribute to the firm’s success. In addition it has gained the flexibility to significantly promote growth.

For More Information

To learn more about Microsoft Office 365 solutions and how they can help your business, please contact PlexHosted at 888-939-7539 or visit our Office 365 solution page by clicking here.

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