4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/14/2011
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Enterprise Architects Consultancy Connects Workforce with Switch from Google to Microsoft Online Services

To try and deliver collaboration resources to its widely distributed consultants, Enterprise Architects adopted the Google Apps suite of online messaging and productivity services. But after almost a year, the company was still struggling to integrate Google Apps with its IT infrastructure, and to manage and share knowledge across the organization. Before renewing its Google Apps agreement, Enterprise Architects migrated its entire PC environment to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a package of messaging and collaboration solutions delivered through Microsoft Online Services. As a result, Enterprise Architects has connected its workforce with the information and expertise it needs, reduced its infrastructure and operational costs, enhanced the level of customer service it can offer, and helped optimize its business potential.

Situation
Enterprise Architects is an IT strategy and architecture consultancy headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and with operations in Sydney, Johannesburg, South Africa, and London, United Kingdom. The company helps Fortune 500 companies and public institutions around the world align their IT architecture with their business goals, train their architecture team, and recruit qualified employees from a global talent pool.

Enterprise Architects is staffed by a workforce of 90 people, consisting of management, office support, and a large number of consultants and associates in the field. The company also maintains a worldwide network of more than 10,000 architects, providing a rich talent pool for its own consultancy services and customer staffing. Enterprise Architects consultants are routinely distributed at customer sites around the globe, often working from hotels and airports. To help them respond quickly as customer needs arise, Enterprise Architects has to provide its consultants with effective connections to their colleagues.

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* When we took into account the extra services we had to adopt to fill the gaps in Google Apps, our business case showed that Business Productivity Online would be substantially less expensive. *

Craig Martin
Chief Architect, Director of Products and Innovation, Enterprise Architects

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“We wanted to connect our widely distributed consultants to collaboration resources that would make them feel part of the culture at Enterprise Architects and help them deliver an increasing level of customer service,” says Craig Martin, Chief Architect and Director of Products and Innovation at Enterprise Architects.

But without advanced tools for sharing information and expertise, Enterprise Architects consultants relied on email communications to search for the information they needed, a process that could sometimes take days or even yield no result at all. “We lacked a way to leverage or commoditize the knowledge our consultants were generating,” says Martin, “So we were wasting what could have been tremendously valuable intellectual property.”

For example, Enterprise Architects wanted its recruiting specialists to collaborate more closely with the company’s architecture experts. The company saw that if its recruiters could find the expertise they needed more easily, they could match staffing candidates with specific customer requirements more efficiently and reduce the cost of staff acquisition.

To meet these challenges while avoiding high upfront investments in staff and infrastructure, Enterprise Architects turned to cloud technology—offsite computing resources delivered as online services. The company had developed a cloud-based e-learning environment using the Google API, and in late 2009, Enterprise Architects adopted the Google Apps suite of online messaging and productivity services.

Almost immediately, however, Enterprise Architects experienced problems integrating Google Apps with its IT environment and delivering the collaboration solutions its employees needed. After using Google Apps for almost a year, Enterprise Architects still needed an effective way to connect its workforce and to manage and share knowledge across the organization—challenges the company had to meet in order to maximize its business potential.

Solution
Although Enterprise Architects had not been able to build the collaboration environment it wanted with Google Apps, it still wanted a cloud-based content management system. The company evaluated several solutions, including Microsoft SharePoint Online, which is a component of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a package of messaging and collaboration solutions delivered through Microsoft Online Services.

Enterprise Architects worked with Online Services Corporation (OSC), a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate Partner, to develop a business case for migrating from Google Apps to the full Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. The company learned that with a single monthly subscription fee, it could combine the file-sharing, search, and collaboration capabilities in SharePoint Online with Microsoft Exchange Online for enterprise-level messaging, Microsoft Office Live Meeting for web conferencing, and Microsoft Office Communications Online for instant messaging.

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* We wanted to connect our widely distributed consultants to collaboration resources that would make them feel part of the culture at Enterprise Architects and help them deliver an increasing level of customer service. *

Craig Martin
Chief Architect, Director of Products and Innovation, Enterprise Architects

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In November 2010, just before it had to renew its Google Apps agreement, Enterprise Architects switched its entire PC environment to the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Martin calls the migration the most streamlined he’s ever been involved in. Enterprise Architects used OSC’s proven migration approach and best practice toolset to rapidly move users seamlessly from Google Apps to Microsoft Online Services.

“It was all done on time and budget, saving us a lot of typical headaches around traditional migration exercises,” says Martin. “When a data migration goes bad, the loss in productivity can start to cascade, but when we did the cloud to cloud mig-ration to Microsoft Online Services, it was pleasantly seamless and transparent to us.”

The company now uses SharePoint Online to create, store, and manage documents, data, and employee profiles, and help employees search for information and expertise. According to Martin, his field consultants find the integration of SharePoint Online with Office Communications Online and the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client particularly valuable.

“Consultants can now use Office Communications Online to reach me when they need me,” he says. “Through Microsoft presence, they can now see if I’m available across the full collaboration environment, and initiate an instant message, to communicate with me immediately around critical issues.”

With Google Apps, administrative staff found it difficult to organize a meeting or attach a candidate’s resume when scheduling an interview, but with Exchange Online, all Enterprise Architects employees can send email messages, schedule meetings, and manage attachments with the advanced yet familiar messaging and calendar features in Outlook. Enterprise Architects consultants, trainers, and recruiters can meet online using Office Live Meeting, so the company no longer has to pay for and manage a third-party web conferencing solution.

The Office 2007 and Office 2010 software that Enterprise Architects uses interoperates with the services in the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, so company employees have the tools they know and need to collaborate effectively. “With Google Apps, we had some ability to collaborate on documents and spreadsheets,” says Martin, “but not the functionality we were familiar with to edit, format, import, export, or otherwise make spreadsheets, documents, emails, and presentations presentable for customers.”

For instance, Enterprise Architects consultants rely heavily on Microsoft PowerPoint presentation graphics software, but they could not use Google Apps to jointly build and edit presentations. “Google Apps offered no way to collaborate with some of our most important tools our consultants use, like PowerPoint and Orbus iServer for Visio and Office,” says Martin. “With SharePoint Online, our consultants can work together across business and geographic boundaries to build, review, and present PowerPoint presentations as well as architecture schematics in a shared Visio environment.”

Benefits
By migrating from Google Apps to the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, Enterprise Architects has made it easier for its widely distributed workforce to share information and expertise so it can collaborate more effectively and the company can reduce costs and enhance the level of service it offers. After struggling to build an advanced collaboration environment with Google Apps, the company is now confident that it can develop enterprise-level solutions with Microsoft Online Services.

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* With Google Apps, we had some ability to collaborate … but not the functionality we were familiar with to edit, format, import, export, or otherwise make spreadsheets, documents, emails, and presentations presentable for customers. *

Craig Martin
Chief Architect, Director of Products and Innovation, Enterprise Architects

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“We came to the view that Google was just not a fully integrated business solution,” says Martin. “But with the services in Business Productivity Online, we can build comprehensive solutions based on established business technology.”

Connected, Creative,Competitive Workforce
For a consultancy, the key differentiators for Enterprise Architects are knowledge and experience. Now that the company has an efficient way to store, manage, and share information, it can harness the knowledge and experience generated by its consultants and use it to help solve its customers’ business challenges and drive revenue opportunities.

“When we can find the right documents and involve the right people without wasting time trying to locate the information we need, we can deliver projects under budget and ahead of schedule,” says Martin. “And we can package that knowledge by developing templates, tools, and presentations that we can offer to our customer community.”

Reduced Costs
By using the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, Enterprise Architects has improved its business efficiency and reduced infrastructure and operational costs. With Microsoft Online Services, Enterprise Architects pays a single monthly fee for a comprehensive set of collaboration and communication services, so the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite is easier for the company to manage and more cost-effective to use than Google Apps, which required Enterprise Architects to buy and manage third-party web-conferencing, file-sharing, and other business solutions.

“When we took into account the extra services we had to adopt to fill the gaps in Google Apps, our business case showed that Business Productivity Online would be substantially less expensive,” says Martin.

Martin credits the integrated nature of Microsoft technology and the availability of a broadly experienced Microsoft Partner Network in helping Enterprise Architects reduce the time and cost of deploying and managing its collaboration environment.

“If I look in the market place for anybody that can help me with an issue I’m having with Google Apps, there’s nobody there,” he says. “But with Microsoft I can rely on a worldwide partner network supported by training and accreditation, so I can find qualified people who know Business Productivity Online and can help us build and maintain cost-effective solutions.”

Optimized Business Potential
Enterprise Architects can use the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite to engage with its customers on new levels. Its consultants can quickly and seamlessly share content, respond to time-sensitive queries, or collaborate remotely with their customers on specific issues, which the company expects will enhance customer confidence and positively impact revenue.

“Our value proposition is customer intimacy,” says Martin. “With the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, we can build even closer relationships with our customers and introduce even higher levels of service, which is going to impact our revenue goals.”

Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft Online Services are business-class communication and collaboration solutions delivered as a subscription service and hosted by Microsoft. With these offerings, customers can cost-effectively access the most up-to-date technologies and immediately benefit from streamlined communications, simplified management, and business-class reliability and security features.

For more information, visit:
www.microsoft.com/online

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 Online Services Corporation products and services, visit the website at:
www.onlinesc.com

For more information about Enterprise Architects products and services, call (44) 208 906 6885 for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, (61) 3 9615 6500 for the Asia Pacific Area, and (212) 634-4834 in North America, or visit the website at:
www.enterprisearchitects.com

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 100 employees

Organization Profile

With offices in Australia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, and partners in North America, Enterprise Architects provides consulting, training, and staffing services focused on business technology architecture.


Business Situation

After using Google Apps for almost a year, Enterprise Architects still needed a way to connect its widely distributed workforce, manage knowledge, and build an effective collaboration environment.


Solution

Enterprise Architects migrated its PC environment to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a package of messaging and collaboration solutions delivered through Microsoft Online Services.


Benefits

  • Connected, creative, competitive workforce
  • Reduced costs
  • Optimized business potential


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite
  • Exchange Online
  • SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Office Live Meeting
  • Microsoft Office Communications Online

Vertical Industries
Professional Services

Country/Region
Australia

Business Need
Business Productivity

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Online Services Corporation

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