Staff at Malaysia-based publisher MPH Group often struggled to send emails with graphics-file and video attachments. In mid-2012, the firm moved 350 employee email accounts into the cloud with Microsoft Exchange Online, part of Microsoft Office
365. The transition was easy, and the company reduced IT costs by USD3,000 each year. Now, employees have richer, secure, reliable email they can easily access on their own mobile devices.
Founded in Singapore in 1890, MPH Group (MPH) is one of Malaysia’s best-known book publishing, printing, distribution and retail businesses. The group employs 300 staff at its headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Selangor and other offices, and more than 700 retail
staff in 32 stores in Malaysia and Singapore.
To provide all staff with email, technical staff maintained their own email server on purchased hardware installed at a local datacenter. While this enabled staff to use Microsoft Outlook on their desktops, the technical team struggled to keep the back-end
“We couldn’t keep pace with ever-growing email attachment file sizes,” says Mr. K.H. Lee, Assistant General Manager, MPH Group. “My colleagues needed to send advertising video files to vendors, and book cover designs to and from distributors, but capacity
constraints meant our email server often failed. If staff wanted to send 2MB files, they had to ring me up to ask, ‘can I do it now?’ Inevitably, bottlenecks occurred, and staff had to wait several minutes to send urgent emails.
To keep the group’s email system operating, Lee’s IT support team spent over four hours each week managing capacity and troubleshooting. If staff worked during weekends, however, they often overloaded the server causing it to crash. IT staff had to then
rush to the office to reconnect it.
“For a low-end email system, its costs were surprisingly high,” Lee adds. “Besides the software license and datacenter fees, I had to pay for top-quality anti-virus software and an effective firewall to protect sensitive corporate data. I wanted a secure,
low-maintenance, high-capacity email system that worked twenty-four seven.”
In early 2012, Lee attended a seminar hosted by cloud computing consultancy Fedelis Sdn. Bhd. He was introduced to a subscription software service, Microsoft Office 365, which includes the hosted email server, Microsoft Exchange Online as an option.
“Exchange Online is a very attractive proposition for small- and mid-sized companies because you get enterprise-grade email for a monthly per-user subscription fee,” says Kevin Ku, Sales Director, Fedelis Sdn Bhd. “The transition to cloud-based email is
very straightforward, and it’s easy to add and delete email accounts, making the service highly scalable.”
To test Exchange Online, Lee asked one of his colleagues to sign up to Office 365. Besides assessing functionality, the trial also examined the ease of use of email on mobile devices.
“We already had a fleet of 15 Blackberry devices, but we knew many staff wanted to access email on their mobile phones,” says Lee. “What particularly impressed us during the trial was the improved functionality available on Blackberry devices once email
was managed by Exchange Online. Accessing our emails became so easy, even on Windows- or Android-based phones, or iPhones.”
Happy with the results, Lee decided to decommission his own email server, and migrate all 350 head office email accounts to the cloud, using Office 365. Two weeks before going live, Fedelis Sdn Bhd planned the migration, explained the new functionality and
coached IT staff on how to set up new accounts.
“Moving to Office 365 for email proved much easier than anticipated,” says Lee. “Migrating account identities only took half a day over one weekend, and it was very straightforward. Almost all Blackberry owners managed to re-set their devices by themselves,
and my IT colleagues completed the rest in a few minutes. When our arrived on Monday morning to work, everything worked perfectly.”
By subscribing to Office 365 and replacing its email server with Exchange Online, MPH Group improved email reliability while reducing costs and IT maintenance requirements.
USD3,000 saved each year in IT costs
Since migrating to cloud email, Lee has replaced annual software license fees, server maintenance costs and data centre charges with a simple monthly fee based on actual users.
||The Exchange Online service is totally reliable and simple to run, and I save money on anti-virus software and firewall protection because Office 365 has excellent security features. I’m saving USD3,000 in IT costs each year.
| Mr. K.H. Lee
Assistant General Manager,
“The Exchange Online service is totally reliable and simple to run,” says Lee.
“I save money on anti-virus software and firewall protection, because Office 365 has excellent security features. In total, I’m saving USD3,000 in IT costs per year.”
“Providing mobile access to email is also much cheaper with a user-based licensing model, because we are now licensed per employee, rather than per device, so employees can access the service on more than one device at no additional cost,” he adds.
Staff who previously had to wait to send large files to advertisers and distributors are delighted because now they are able to send the files whenever they need to—from their laptop, desktops or mobile devices.
“They are very happy because their email is faster, and there are effectively no limitations on the attachments they can send,” says Lee. “They can send files bigger than 2MB in size and never have to call IT.”
No complaints, no four-hour weekends
For Lee, Exchange Online has proved far easier to support than his old email infrastructure. The switch to cloud email saves him over four hours per week in maintenance, and eliminated weekend call-outs.
“It’s having to wait for a vendor to get back to me,” he says. “Since we moved to Office 365, I have not received a single complaint.”
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