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Posted: 3/18/2013
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Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group Mandarin Oriental Migrates 5,000 Users to Microsoft Office 365

Business Situation
As the owner and operator of some of the world's most high-end luxury hotels, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group (the Group) has significantly expanded its reach in major business centers and leisure destinations across the globe over the past two decades. It currently owns and operates 28 hotels spanning Asia, Europe and North America.

* Microsoft Office 365 allows us to bring everyone on the same platform, which makes it easier to communicate and to access the features and functionality we’ve wanted for a while. At the same time, the cloud service will save us more than 20% in costs across the Group over five years and significantly reduce our carbon footprint. *

Raju Daryanani
Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Information Security
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Hospitality business is unique and it is running in a 24x7 environment. Prior to the migration, each of these properties ran its own on-site servers, ranging from 25-40 servers running 2-3 dozen applications simultaneously, which required round-the-clock maintenance from the Group’s IT team. The mix of owned and managed properties also meant that hotel servers and applications were erratically upgraded, a patchwork approach that led to poor reliability, higher costs, training and development challenges, slowed business growth, and limited collaboration.

Additionally, the rising IT consumerization trend meant a mobile communications solution was needed to ensure staff could reliably receive email and share documents from their mobile devices.

“Delivering our service with an oriental touch ethos globally means taking the culture we have in Hong Kong and spreading it around the world,” said Raju Daryanani, Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Information Security, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. “That means we need to be well connected and communicate effectively, anytime, anywhere and across all devices.”

The Group felt that unifying its communication and collaboration systems under a single cloud-based service would be the best way to increase overall efficiency in such a complex IT environment and ensure timely service upgrades. Moreover, by making these services an operating rather than capital expense, it makes IT investment easier to budget for and manage.

After considering other vendors, the Group selected Microsoft Office 365 which was the only solution it felt could provide the functionality it was looking for in each application. “We have evaluated other vendors, such as Google. But the issue with Google is that they do not have all the functionality that Microsoft offers, including enterprise class shared calendaring, which makes a difference in productivity,” said Daryanani.


Substantial cost and time savings - The Group’s IT team was spending as many as 20 hours per hotel every month looking after dozens of email servers and managing mailbox movements when users transferred between branches, a common occurrence in the hotel industry. “Our IT staff are responsible for many things. Email server management is only a part-time job for them,” said Daryanani. “With Office 365, they don’t have to do that anymore.”

“We've been working for a while to virtualize the servers we have in our hotels. And that's really to reduce the footprint and the complexity of hotel management. In terms of cost reduction, we estimated we could save between $300,000 and $500,000 over five years per hotel. With Office 365, we expect to save even more than that,” said Daryanani.

Strengthened internal collaboration and social networking - With Lync Online, virtual staff meetings are much more convenient, and the use of Yammer provides a social channel through which staff from different hotels can communicate and resolve common problems and share best practices more freely.

SharePoint Online improves business efficiency by allowing staff to simultaneously work on the same document, despite their being in different locations.

Raju Daryanani, Vice President of IT Infrastructure and Information Security, Mandarin Oriental Hote
Raju Daryanani,
Vice President of IT Infrastructure and
Information Security,
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
Added support for mobile devices - The inability of the Group’s older email servers to accommodate smartphones posed a difficulty for senior hotel staff. While having their own desks, many need to move and answer email from other parts of the hotels throughout the day. One major benefit of Exchange Online is its support to all the different mobile devices that users have, including BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8 and all other smartphones.

Markedly improved reliability - Recalling a prior system outage that resulted in one of the Group’s properties losing contact with guests for an extended period of time, Daryanani noted that down-time was something he had little tolerance for with a 24x7 operation. “With Office 365, we can rely on Microsoft. With their 99.9% Service Level Agreement (SLA), we don’t expect to have to deal with that kind of thing anymore,” said Daryanani.

Another benefit is the mailbox size. “Exchange Online gives us up to 25GB of mailbox storage, and this makes it much easier to manage as we don’t have to deal with users storing email in PST files on their PC. This allows us to deploy legal hold if necessary on user mailboxes as everything is now in one place,” he added.

Greater business growth potential - The move to the cloud is already proving to be a strategic differentiator for the Group. “Many hotels today are quite large, about 300 to 400 rooms. But a lot of the new hotels that we’re building are much smaller, say between 100 to 150 rooms,” Daryanani explained. “It becomes very hard to scale the technology footprint of something that’s designed for a 500 room facility to a 100 room facility - you don’t accrue a lot of cost savings,” he said. The Office 365 solution allows the Group to cut down the investment needed, putting them in a better position to keep growing.

Reduced carbon footprint -By moving email and other systems to Office 365, the Group will be able to decommission its on-site servers, reducing the need for cooling and large server rooms. “This not only reduces costs, but also reduces our carbon footprint as Microsoft data centers operate more efficiently than ours,” said Daryanani.

With support from Microsoft Consulting, Cloud Vantage Services, the Group was able to successfully kick off the initial phase of its migration to Office 365 and plan for its introduction to hotels around the world.

By the end of 2013, the Group will have transferred 1,500 users to the cloud for email via Exchange Online, and messaging and conferencing via Lync Online. This will cover all of its corporate offices and primarily those hotels that the Group owns. Later this year, the Group will migrate its SharePoint platform to the cloud, and it also plans to expand the deployment to managed hotels, pushing the total number of Office 365 users up to 5,000 next year.

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the customer hotline at (852) 2388-9600. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/hk

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement that guarantees 99.9 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to: www.office.com

Solution Overview

Organization Profile
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is the owner and operator of luxurious hotels located in prime destinations around the world.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • Cloud Vantage - O365

Vertical Industries
Other Services

Hong Kong SAR