The expansion of activities of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments required upgrading the IT structure accordingly to enable improvements of the corporate workflow and avoid excessive
financial investments. Organization implemented the Office 365 solution, which allowed saving the financial resources and expanding the range of IT services available to the employees at the same time.
Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments (LPS) is a public organisation whose task is to resolve common problems of all Latvian local and regional governments and to represent them in contacts with the state institutions. Founded in 1991, the organisation
has 118 members: local and regional governments of nine Republic Cities and 109 regions. LPS employs 25 persons at its offices and also has a representative office in Brussels.
A number of employees of LPS frequently make business trips or work remotely, therefore the IT resources include both desktop and laptop computers. It is essential to enable the people frequently working remotely to be able to perform as efficiently as those
working at the office. The computers are equipped with office software, which is supplemented by specific programs as required, for example, a document management system. Most of the IT maintenance services are outsourced, thus reducing the additional maintenance
costs. Accordingly, the chosen Office 365 solution was also in line with the philosophy of the organisation due to being available from any location that has internet connection.
After several months of testing, the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments chose the Office 365 plan P1. There are a number of reasons why the Office 365 cloud service was chosen. Key reason - the available e-mail storage and service fees. Secondly,
the availability of the service regardless of the user's location.
"There are not many service providers in Latvia that offer a 25 GB mailbox for a reasonable price. The cost of the Office 365 plan we have selected is only EUR 5.25 per user per month. E-mail is still the most important means of communication and people working
||This is a good solution for us, as we can offer more options to our employees while reducing our own costs.
| Guntars Krasovskis
Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments
outside the office will struggle without their communication history. However, to keep the conversation history for a sufficiently long time, the mailbox needs to be reasonably big. This is a good solution for us, as we can offer more options to our employees
while reducing our own costs," says the IT expert of the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments Guntars Krasovskis. He points out that previously the mailboxes only had 2 GB of storage space. The online users of the e-mail are probably the biggest
winners, as the environment looks the same both online and from the machines in the office. By supporting the most popular smartphone platforms (Windows Phone, iOS, Android, Symbian), Office 365 offers 100% employee mobility - e-mails, current calendar updates,
contacts, Lync communication environment are always at hand.
Krasovskis believes that Office 365 has a very convenient administration environment, i. e., the change of password, creation of new user accounts or deleting of old ones is very simple and the monthly service cost is very easy to understand and transparent.
The Microsoft Lync communication tool is used for broadcasting the committee meetings of the Association. This allows representatives from local and regional governments to take part remotely. "If you have something to say, we can hear and see you here in
the office thanks to the computers equipped with webcams. If you only want to leave a comment, that is possible as well," says Krasovskis. Until now, a similar solution required additional investment and purchase of commercial solutions because the LPS committee
meetings are viewed remotely by dozens of people in almost all local and regional governments.
"Office 365 is an easy to implement and effective solution that enables organisations to become more efficient and focused on their key functions without large investments or time expenditure. If you choose Office 365, Microsoft and its partners will take care
of the technology and the use of its potential. Furthermore, the latest versions of Microsoft software are always available to the clients," states Andrejs Juščenko, Head of Microsoft Office Business Group in the Baltics.
The Office 365 work productivity IT platform was implemented in August 2012 and a large proportion of tasks was carried out by Microsoft partner SIA Belam Rīga. The implementation of the product took approximately a week and did not impair daily work. Further
plans include the implementation of SharePoint and probably Microsoft Active Directory.
In comparison with the services used previously, the monthly e-mail maintenance costs have reduced by approximately one hundred lats: maintenance of 32 user mailboxes costs EUR 160 (LVL 135) per month, whereas the previous provider charged more than LVL 200
for mailboxes of the same capacity. Furthermore, with Office 365 the monthly cost is calculated only for the actually connected users.
Mihails Ivanovs, Head of Belam Rīga Microsoft product department, says that the cloud service mailbox capacity (25 GB) should be sufficient for at least a few years of efficient work performance. "If in some cases 3 GB was available for e-mails for several
years, then the current capacity should last for a longer time," says Mr. Ivanovs.
The solutions - the Microsoft Office 365 work productivity IT platform allows the Latvian Association of Local and Regional Governments to maintain a work-focused communication environment and save resources.
• Cloud service provides a reliable large-capacity e-mail storage accessible from within and outside the office.
• It offers high-quality synchronised communication with multiple remote users in videoconference mode.
• The service is easy to administer and has an easily understandable and controllable cost structure.
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