Iconic companies move to the cloud with Office 365

While most enterprise-level companies have resisted the idea of moving to the cloud, increasingly more companies are becoming more comfortable with the migration. When Office 365 was launched it was met with a mixture of excitement and skepticism, as supporters and critics debated whether the cloud collaboration, productivity and communication suite would succeed.

UK business technology website Computing.co.uk has published the results of a survey it ran across 160 IT decision makers from organizations of varying size. One of the survey’s more interesting findings was that 37% of organizations moving to the cloud for email are opting for Office 365 over all the major players.

If the numbers behind the survey hold true, Office 365 will hold nearly a double digit market share lead over Google Apps in just 24 months.

This prompted discussion in our organization and we researched some iconic companies that have already moved to Office 365.

Cloud computing with Office 365 drives innovation at Aston Martin

A year ago, Aston Martin, the iconic British sports car manufacturer, upgraded its global office systems to Microsoft Office 365. It was a natural move from the software the company had been using. Office 365 offered greater support for spontaneous collaboration, flexible mobility and intuitive multimedia communications. Aston Martin is now using cloud-based email and office systems to connect global teams, so the company can perform at peak levels.

“Email is vital to us, while SharePoint online has allowed us to set up a secure environment to share data and collaborate with our suppliers and partners. If we were running the systems internally, we would be responsible for all the servers and storage, and maintaining uptime,” said Daniel Roach-Rooke, Aston Martin’s IT Infrastructure Manager. “As Microsoft owns the products, the team there knows how to get the best out of the systems – so it doesn’t fall to me to worry about high availability or the latest updates. Microsoft also provides round-the-clock support,” he said.

Irish School of Motoring improves customer service and lowers costs with Office 365

The Irish School of Motoring (ISM) is a family owned business founded in 1961, and is Ireland’s longest established and only nationwide driving school. ISM had been operating from a number of retail locations around Ireland, and employs all its driving instructors directly. Instructor schedules and learner bookings were managed from multiple locations using a paper-based system that was both labor-intensive and error-prone. Instructors each maintained their own schedules with their own systems (often paper-based calendars or notebooks), making it difficult to track last-minute changes leading to errors and missed appointments.

Converting from decentralized, paper-based scheduling to a centralized, mobile, real-time solution was an ideal fit with Microsoft Office 365, an online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions.

By building a low cost, robust, and scalable solution, ISM believes the future is very bright. “Because of the Office 365 ‘pay as you go’ model, there’s no major capital acquisition, there are no servers, and we get the uptime, support and security that comes with a Microsoft infrastructure investment. We initially focused on pupil and instructor needs, and by building our solution around those needs, we now have an offering that will fit into other driving schools. There is opportunity for us to not only attract more Irish customers to ISM, but to provide a Software as a Service offering in partnership with Microsoft to other driver schools worldwide,” said Niall Prenty, Program Manager – Business Solutions for Irish School of Motoring.

Blue Star Infotech Limited is taking advantage of an unsurpassed productivity experience with Office 365

With operations in USA, UK, Europe, India and Singapore, Blue Star Infotech Limited, a software services and solutions provider, has moved to cloud with Microsoft Office 365 to take advantage of an unsurpassed productivity experience. The adoption of cloud is part of a global IT transformation strategy to increase collaboration amongst employees and reduce costs for better business results and to gain a competitive edge.

The deployment is also expected to reduce the total cost of ownership as the company didn’t have to deploy servers in-house. Microsoft partner PC Solutions smoothly completed the Office 365 deployment transition in just one month enabling employees to use the enterprise class capabilities.

“Microsoft Office 365 will help us to take full advantage of the latest technology trends by enabling us to move to cloud on our own terms. It will help us to enhance employee productivity and to enable better collaboration amongst employees using SharePoint integrated with Yammer. It will also provide employees operating from different parts of the world access to all their official data from any location by seamlessly integrating multiple devices like tablets, PCs, phones, hybrids, etc., thereby making the overall value all the more compelling,” said Mitul A. Shah, Head – IT at Blue Star Infotech Limited.

Clearly, from these few examples, the primary driving factor to go 365 is the flexibility and collaborative opportunities that exist. There are still plenty of questions that risk-adverse industries have in regard to security and the ability of the 365 environment to meet mandated government regulations. Our feeling is that over time 365 may be able to deal with this, but for now remains a hole in their thinking.

So while some iconic companies have moved to Office 365, there are others that will likely resist.