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Posted: 5/16/2013
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ISKCON Bangalore Religious Organization Saves Costs, Improves Uptime and Efficiency with Hosted Email

ISKCON Bangalore is actively involved in multiple social causes in the state of Karnataka. It is involved in charitable activities, distributes Vedic literature and conducts educational programs. . The organization wanted to upgrade its existing on-premise Microsoft Exchange Server to accommodate the growing number of users. It wanted to take advantage of sophisticated messaging capabilities without the operational burden of an on-premise server. It, therefore, evaluated cost and administration factors of Microsoft Office 365, the cloud- based IT solution. The new hosted email service, Exchange Online, reduces the operating costs by 50 percent, improves uptime to almost 100 percent, and hence enhances the productivity and efficiency of the team.

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* Cloud-based email and rapid provisioning enable the team to focus on more important IT issues instead of managing the IT infrastructure. It assures a high level of security, access, and privacy. *

Amitasana Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore
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Situation

Established in 1966 by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) is a religious movement that also identifies itself as the Hare Krishna Movement. It practices the philosophy as presented in traditional Indian scriptures, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita.

ISKCON Bangalore is a charitable society registered in Karnataka, India. It promotes Vedic culture and spiritual learning. The temple of Radha and Krishna in Bangalore is one of the largest ISKCON temples in the world.

Initially, ISKCON Bangalore was using an open source Linux based POP3 solution for email services. In 2008, it switched to Microsoft Exchange Server and to improve collaboration, it began using free instant messaging services.

Gradually, non-IT users also began using Microsoft Exchange Server, resulting in explosive growth in data. Initially planned for 300 users within the group, ISKCON now extended the email solution to 600 users. “With the increase in users, we had to reduce the initial 250 MB mailbox size to 100 MB to accommodate all users in our limited server and storage capacity,” recalls Janaki Vallabha Dasa, Division Head ─IT, ISKCON Bangalore. Therefore, the users were forced to store data and emails in personal folders. This required frequent backs-ups, which in turn consumed much of the productive time of the team, bringing down efficiency levels.

Lately, due to the increasing number of users, there have been frequent outages and a noticeable increase in email downtime and server failure. To maintain uptime of the on-premise server was a major challenge faced by the organization. “Sometimes users had to wait for hours for the problem to be resolved so they could access email. This increased the downtime to as much as 25 percent,” states Ayyappa Dasika, IT Project Manager, ISKCON Bangalore.

To continue with the existing email and messaging services was no longer advisable nor reliable. There was neither a track record of communication nor any guarantee of security.

Solution

As a spiritual organization, ISKCON can’t plan and predict future growth. Thus, as a long-term strategy, the organization started looking for an alternative on-cloud solution that maintains high uptime, and also scales easily to meet unpredictable growth patterns.

Since ISKCON was using Microsoft on-premise Exchange Server, migrating to an online Microsoft solution was the most logical and economical option. “We didn’t have the budget to invest heavily in other hardware and software infrastructure,” recalls Janaki Vallabha Dasa, Division Head ─ IT, ISKCON Bangalore. “We calculated that capital and running costs for an on-premise model would be financially less viable as compared to an online solution.”

He adds, “Also, we would need to outsource management and administration of the on-premise Exchange Server and hardware or train a team to manage the infrastructure. Thus, we preferred Microsoft Office 365, with Microsoft Exchange Online hosted enterprise email service.”

In October 2012 ISKCON migrated all users from the on-premise server to Microsoft Exchange Online. It procured 425 P1 licenses. The whole migration process took only two days. The transition was seamless. During the migration, users had access to emails via Outlook Web Access. This allowed them to access the Exchange mailboxes via the web portal, while a team of 10 people spent a week to archive the older emails for each employee.

After the migration was completed, members could access their emails via Outlook that had been pre-configured on their laptops or desktops. With Exchange Online, users continued using Microsoft Office Outlook, including email, calendar, contacts, and personal archives. Emails are downloaded to the Outlook Personal Folders and are also available on the server. With a 25 GB mailbox size, there was no need for back-ups.

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* With on-premise set up, we could get 75 percent uptime whereas now Microsoft promises 99.99 percent uptime. We have not experienced any down time in the last three months since we have migrated to the cloud. *

Janaki Vallabha Dasa
Division Head ─ IT, ISKCON Bangalore

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Benefits

ISKCON deployed Microsoft Office 365 to improve the reliability of email messaging. “The cloud-based email and rapid provisioning enable the team to focus on more important IT issues instead of managing the IT infrastructure. It assures a high-level of security, access, and privacy,” states Amitasana Dasa, Vice President, ISKCON Bangalore.

Reduces Email Administration

With simplified email integration and administration, the IT team need not spend time in dealing with email and server issues but are free to work on the organization’s activities. There is no need to train teams from specialized agencies. “The time and effort required maintaining email accounts of all the users and associated investment on management has considerably reduced. We need not be concerned with administering, maintaining, and backing up our Exchange Server anymore,” says Pradeep Kalal, Manager ─ IT Services, ISKCON Bangalore. “Our team previously spent 50 percent time on server administration; it now devotes almost 100 percent time on the organization’s value adding activities, thus improving productivity.”

Offers 100 Percent Uptime

Email access is most important for the smooth execution of any organization. Earlier, due to low server and storage capacity and hardware outages, there were frequent downtimes. As a result, ISKCON was losing up to 25 percent of productive time. “With the on-premise set- up, we we were getting 75 percent uptime, where as now Microsoft promises 99.99 percent uptime,” says Janaki Vallabha Dasa, Division Head ─ IT, ISKCON Bangalore. “We have not experienced any downtime in the last three months since we have migrated to the cloud.”

Saves Capital Expenditure on Technology

By migrating to the cloud, ISKCON Bangalore saves capital expenditure and operating costs required to maintain an on-premise infrastructure. These include software, hardware, and a qualified IT team to manage and support it. “Had we decided to continue with our on-premises solution, we would have had to upgrade it,” says Janaki Vallabha Dasa, Division Head – IT, ISKCON Bangalore. “After moving to the cloud, we save on server acquisition cost, support cost, upgrade cost and human resources.”

Janaki Vallabha Dasa continues, ”We calculated the cost of 250 MB mailbox per user for an on-premise set-up that came to INR 250 per user; the Exchange Online plan, on the other hand, costs only INR 110 (US$ 2) per user for a 25 GB mailbox. It was easy for us to see the cost savings coupled with larger mailboxes with Office 365. We currently save INR 140 per use,r which is commendable.”

Moreover, with increasing users, the organization can quickly add subscriptions without any need to upgrade or without affecting productivity.

Offers Ease of Use with Scalability

The new cloud-based email system enables high-end users to access email remotely. The team is comfortable using the same Microsoft Outlook as before. Additionally, with the 25 GB mailbox size users need not download everything to their personal folders. Besides high availability, and security, disaster recovery capabilitiesalso offer a high level of services. Technical support from Microsoft is another major advantage.


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

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

www.microsoft.com

For more information about ISKCON Bangalore products and services, call (91)(80)(23471956) or visit the website at:www.iskconbangalore.org

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




Organization Profile

Founded in 1978, ISKCON Bangalore is a religious and social welfare organization that promotes prosperity and harmony.


Business Situation

ISKCON Bangalore was running an on-premise email solution. This could not keep pace with the organization’s growth and was riddled with management issues and high downtime.


Solution

ISKCON Bangalore deployed Microsoft Exchange Online, the hosted enterprise email service and a part of Office 365.


Benefits

  • Reduces email administration
  • Offers 100 percent uptime
  • Saves capital expenditure on technology
  • Offers ease of use with scalability


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Exchange Online

Vertical Industries
Charities & Philanthropic

Country/Region
India

Languages
English

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