4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/31/2012
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Stevenson Group Mining, Engineering, Agriculture and Concrete Firm Transforms IT with Cloud-Based Solution

Office 365 will bring us together in ways we never imagined. We’ll work better together and respond to clients faster.

Andries van der Westhuizen, Group IT Transformation Manager, Stevenson Group

Stevenson Group Limited wanted a cost-effective way to upgrade and standardize its IT infrastructure while decreasing IT management time. As mobile connectivity and collaboration is central to its business, the company was also seeking a solution that would help its staff work more productively on the go.

Prior to deploying Microsoft Office 365, the company managed disparate email systems across multiple business units and only a handful of users were able to access their inboxes while working remotely. Stevenson Group also wanted to ensure all employees had access to the same—and most recent-versions of Microsoft applications.

Situation

For New Zealand-based Stevenson Group Limited, what began as a modest family business nearly 100 years ago has today become a flourishing organization with 550 employees. This internal expansion, due in part to acquisitions and creating new divisions, mirrors its growing impact on Auckland’s infrastructure—from laying water pipes and paving roadways to operating farms, engineering and mining.

This diversity of services is integral to Stevenson Group’s success, but it also means the company’s IT has to manage disparate systems across multiple sites. And mobility is crucial for Stevenson Group staff, which may need to access critical data while at a remote customer mining site or for the general run of the business. Many workers use a mix of various smart phones, iPhones, and iPads, but lacked easy access to important information due to compatibility issues.

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* I think of IT like a balloon—you can inflate or deflate it based on your needs but the core inherent structure remains. Office 365 gives us that flexibility while keeping our core integrity intact. *

Andries van der Westhuizen
Group IT Transformation Manager
Stevenson Group

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Stevenson Group staff frequently had to share information remotely, but without the email capacity to handle these exchanges, they often resorted to postal mail or fax. “Engineers had to print and send pages of work to clients and each other,” notes van der Westhuizen. “We needed more efficient ways to share information.”

The majority of Stevenson Group’s challenges stemmed from the fact it often relied on legacy technologies. Andries van der Westhuizen, Stevenson Group’s IT Transformation Manager, explains: “We used to only upgrade when absolutely critical, which led to inconsistencies such as having multiple versions of Microsoft applications. Historically, that placed a heavy burden on our IT staff in terms of managing disparate software systems—and it can be costly to routinely upgrade licenses and infrastructure, due to the fact that the various software versions are so out of sync.”

In addition, many of the company’s meetings required employees to travel hundreds of miles collectively, resulting in hundreds of nonproductive hours that cost Stevenson Group thousands of dollars annually.

Solution

As a first step, Stevenson Group opted to move to the cloud with Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS). “Migrating to BPOS gave us the opportunity to remove Gmail, Lotus Notes, and BlackBerry environments,” says van der Westhuizen, noting that the company previously relied on eight disparate email solutions. “Mobile users finally have a consistent Microsoft interface.”

Once the company heard about Office 365, an online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions, it knew it had found the next big step forward.

With Microsoft SharePoint Online, users can in the future reliably access what they need on almost any mobile device. “I don’t have to invest in new laptops to rectify compatibility issues because employees can still use their mobile devices to get their hands on important files no matter where they are,” says van der Westhuizen. “Employees spend less time waiting for information and more time getting work done. 

Microsoft Exchange Online provides users with 25GB of storage space and the ability to send files up to 25MB in size. “Clients get engineering proposals in minutes, not days, because we can send large files online rather than spending time printing and sending them through postal mail,” says van der Westhuizen.

Office 365 provides automatic upgrades so everyone can access the most current versions of Microsoft applications. “Office 365 gives us one standard user experience so we can minimize training, improve productivity, and reduce reliance on IT staff,” says van der Westhuizen.

The company is currently testing Lync Online, a web-based conferencing and instant messaging tool that can help reduce the travel costs and downtime associated with on-site meetings.

“Office 365 will bring us together in ways we never imagined. We’ll work better together and respond to clients faster,” van der Westhuizen remarks.

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* Office 365 gives us one standard user experience so we can minimize training, improve productivity, and reduce reliance on IT staff.  *

Andries van der Westhuizen
Group IT Transformation Manager
Stevenson Group

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Benefits

Office 365 addresses Stevenson Group’s most important business needs. “With Office 365, we have a standard platform with always-on, always updated capabilities” van der Westhuizen says. “There’s no need for huge migration plans or investments to break down our business silos and keep everything up-to-date.”

Improving Collaboration

With Office 365, employees can quickly share information—with each other and with Stevenson Group clients. “Our old servers simply could not handle the number and size of emails we needed to send,” van der Westhuizen notes. “Before, email was a nightmare but with Office 365 it works like a dream.”

Reducing IT Management Time

By moving to the cloud, Stevenson Group’s IT staff spends far less time addressing problems or managing disparate software systems. “IT managers used to have to put out fires,” says van der Westhuizen. “With Office 365 they will save up to five hours per day due to reduced maintenance time—and we’ll save thousands of dollars by not having to upgrade or purchase new licenses,” he adds.

Instant Connectivity

Anywhere access means employees will be able to instant message each other—from anywhere—to quickly ascertain answers to important questions. Nonproductive time –will be significantly reduced by hosting meetings in the cloud. As an added benefit, managers can also receive briefing notes for meetings well in advance. “We’ll regain 100 hours per year by not having to travel to meetings,” says van der Westhuizen. “And we’ll save nearly 500 hours annually because managers can access briefing notes on their mobile devices rather than wait for information to be physically compiled and sent to them.”

On the company’s long-term vision, van der Westhuizen says “I think of IT like a balloon—you can inflate or deflate it based on your needs but the core inherent structure remains. Office 365 gives us that flexibility while keeping our core integrity intact.”

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.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:

www.office365.com

For more information about Stevenson Group Limited products and services, visit the website at:

www.stevenson.co.nz

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 550 employees

Organization Profile

Stevenson Group Limited is a major player in New Zealand’s construction industry, supplying aggregates, concrete and engineering services. They have strong roots in businesses including mining, quarry management, agriculture and property.


Business Situation

With disparate email solutions across the company’s business units and multiple versions of Microsoft applications, Stevenson Group wanted to cost-effectively streamline its IT.


Solution

Office 365 provides a consistent, unified set of tools and automatic updates to keep on-site and on-the-go workers in touch with what matters most—all for a fixed monthly cost per seat.


Benefits

  • Saved 1,400 hours in IT
  • 600 staff hours regained
  • 20% increase in productivity


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • SharePoint Online

Vertical Industries
Architecture, Engineering & Construction

Country/Region
New Zealand

Business Need
Business Productivity

Languages
English

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