"Being able to easily share the most recent versions of documents and project information helps us improve collaboration and responsiveness, and will in turn help us to increase our business."
- Birger Villirs, Director, Christoffersen and Knudsen
The Christoffersen and Knudsen (C+K) Construction Company near Copenhagen, Denmark provides plumbing and technical services to a varied clientele. The company is a growing construction business that depends on real-time information to deliver high-quality projects to its clients.
C+K construction projects are dynamic due to the ever-changing needs of the building owners they serve. With a team of mobile employees contributing at different times in a project, detailed documentation, timely communication, and up-to-the-minute information are critical to keep jobs on time and on budget. Situation
C+K relied on Microsoft Exchange for its built-in files, server-based folder system, and a password-protected intranet for document management. The company found, however, that email was not the most effective solution to managing project status, updating project information, or sharing and editing with multiple parties both internal and external.
||The Compliance Archive on our Microsoft SharePoint site greatly improves our documentation capabilities. Now people are getting the latest information and know that they are working with the most recent version of a document so they are responding to the most recent change requests and information.”
Christoffersen and Knudsen
Adding to the complexity is that C +K’s clientele is mainly comprised of building managers, whose needs frequently change. The company needed to provide a way to document those changes and communicate them to the project team, as well as to let their clients know the cost and time impact caused by the changes.
In addition, C+K’s mobile workforce doesn’t always access to the files and applications they need while they are at a job site. C+K previously used Microsoft Office 2007 and 2010 to keep track of projects and communicate with employees and customers. Voicemail was frequently used for more urgent messages, or situations in which an employee or customer was working in the field and not able to access a computer.
The company was also looking to reduce the amount of IT administration required by its on-premises solution. Dealing with server backups, software updates, malware protection, and licensing issues was monopolizing the time of the IT staff and preventing them from working on more strategic IT initiatives. C+K found the solution in Microsoft Office 365.Solution
Wanting to increase the ability to communicate and collaborate, C+K began to evaluate and experiment with hosted IT solutions and file backup. The company also wanted to consider adding instant messaging, presence information, and conferencing applications to provide its employees with up-to-date tools. Since the staff was already familiar with Office applications, C+K decided to try the Office 365 beta.
“We are finding the collaboration features very useful,” says Birger Villirs, Director of C+K. “The Compliance Archive on our Microsoft SharePoint site greatly improves our documentation capabilities. Now people are getting the latest information and know that they are working with the most recent version of a document so they are responding to the most recent change requests and information.”
C+K employees are also increasing collaboration through the use of the presence and click-to-communicate features from Lync Online, integrated into SharePoint Online and Microsoft Outlook. This required minimal training, since the latter two were already being used by employees. This familiarity has made it easy for employees to share data between applications, as well as to more easily share information with each other.
For example, embedded presence in SharePoint Online and Exchange Online means users can take advantage of the same click-to-call and options lists as in other applications. The company is also experimenting with SharePoint for storing project documents, which enables editing the documents online rather than sending them through email and potentially losing track of the most recent version. C+K is also considering expanding its SharePoint file sharing system with a portal for customers, rather than relying solely on email as it had done previously.
Villirs also says that the Office 365 features such as calendars, email, and contact information; and Exchange Online features, including the ability to sync mobile phones with Exchange, are dramatically improving employees’ ability to communicate in real time, making them more responsive and helping them maintain the detailed project information they need to succeed in the competitive construction industry.
C+K also found that it was able to reduce both the time and money that had been previously required to maintain its on-premises solution and the various third-party tools to support it. Using the enterprise-grade antivirus, anti-spam, and disaster recovery features in Office 365, and lowering the amount of on-premises servers reduced the burden on C+K’s IT department and estimates that it will save 18,000 – 27,000 kr. per year in IT costs. Benefits
For C+K, meeting its customers’ needs requires responsiveness and the ability to quickly adapt to change. With online versions of familiar Microsoft communications and collaboration tools, users get the anywhere-access they need, and IT can redirect its focus toward long-term goals.
Increasing Collaboration by up to 30%
Collaboration is key to a project running smoothly. With Office 365, the company created a password-protected portal for file sharing. With this single location for documents, any employee can easily find the latest version of a document, and everyone working on a project can simultaneously edit the related documents and spreadsheets from wherever they are. Prior to Office 365, these files would have previously been difficult to find, hard to manage with regard to versioning, and often were sent via email, which didn’t work for large files. Now, Villirs estimates that collaboration has improved 20-30%, due to better access to files.
Improved Mobile Access, from the Office to the Field
Previously, employees had avoided connecting to their mobile phones to the company’s old email server because it was a difficult process. C+K’s employees now have the most up-to-date tools to help them update their email, calendar, and contacts to their phones and obtain important messages or meeting notifications. All this enables them to use the project information they need and be more responsive to project or schedule changes―even when working remotely.
15% Reduction in IT Spend
Because Office 365 is cloud-based, C+K was able to dramatically reduce the overhead related to IT maintenance. “Because our IT staff no longer has to worry about data backup, malware, and software updates, they have been able to focus on the strategic infrastructure projects they had been putting off,” says Villirs. Overall, the company estimates that it will now up to 27,000 kr annually as a result of server reductions and elimination of routine administration costs.
“We were looking for a solution that would improve our ability to communicate, particularly for workers in the field. The web-enabled tools in Office 365 already feel familiar to our employees and work with the Office applications they already know―this is a huge time saving in and of itself,” says Villirs. “Being able to easily share the most recent versions of documents and project information helps us improve collaboration and responsiveness, and will in turn help us to expand our business.” 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 guaranteeing 99 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.
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