4-page Case Study
Posted: 7/10/2012
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Be Learning Creative Learning Consultancy Gains Easy-to-Use, Scalable Collaboration in the Cloud

Office 365 has addressed all of the IT issues that we had within the business. It is flexible and exactly what we needed; now our team can grow and be flexible, and our infrastructure will keep up.

Alisha Waterman, Strategic Projects Manager, Be Learning

Be Learning, a creative learning and development consultancy, was founded with a vision of inspiring people to reach their full potential. Be Learning has experienced phenomenal growth and developed a track record of delivering interactive and entertaining learning with excellent results. The company’s learning experiences are designed to refresh and revive communication in the workplace and have impressed corporations across a range of industries, including finance, professional services, industrial, government and fast consumer goods.

Be Learning brings learning to life in an authentic, tangible, and experiential way. Its innovative approach has garnered numerous international business awards. The company was experiencing problems due to its on-premises infrastructure not being able to keep up with growth, particularly with its expansion into the US.


The process of creating training for Be Learning’s clients involves a great deal of intellectual property in the form of proposals, investment summaries, and custom course designs. Yet the company’s document management was hosted on a share drive that was “absolutely humongous, disorganized, and overall did not work very well,” comments Alisha Waterman, Strategic Project Manager for Be Learning. Collaborating on a learning plan could take 2 - 8 extra days depending on the size of a course, due to difficulties in finding the right file, version control issues, multiple file names. “Our models, methodologies, and client data are our most precious resource. We needed a more streamlined way of working together on them, with everything in one place, so people don’t waste time looking for things or working on the wrong version,” Waterman adds.

* Office 365 has addressed all of the IT issues that we had within the business.  It is flexible and exactly what we needed; now our team can grow and be flexible, and our infrastructure will keep up.  *

Alisha Waterman
Strategic Projects Manager
Be Learning

Approximately 75 percent of Be Learning’s workers are mobile; these are primarily the company’s facilitators, who are out conducting training sessions; and the sales force, which is out meeting with clients. Employees rely on email so as not to disrupt training or meetings, but the company’s on premise email solution was experiencing frequent crashes. Depending on the availability of support personnel at its IT provider, the company could lose up to a half day of productivity just waiting for someone to respond, and the cost for break-fix solutions was high. During a storm, employees couldn’t provide updated flight information to stranded colleagues because the server was down, and had to send individual texts.

Server difficulties also hampered employees’ ability to address client needs; salespeople frequently had no visibility into facilitators’ calendars, making it difficult to schedule new training requests for clients. In addition, the company’s CRM solution was difficult to use and as a result, the company was experiencing lack of adoption by employees.


Online Services Corporation (OSC), a Microsoft Gold and Cloud Accelerate Partner, helped Be Learning qualify and prioritise its cloud strategy. OSC recommended Microsoft Office 365, an online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions, to meet their requirements. The company evaluated Google documents, but decided against it due to the lack of consistency and control with documents and the unfamiliarity of its users with Google email. “Based upon OSC’s Deployment Road Map, the majority of Be Learning’s issues are solved by Microsoft SharePoint Online. OSC will also deploy Exchange Online, a Microsoft SharePoint-based Intranet communications portal with a corporate information document centre, and a client/contact CRM system, with Microsoft Lync Online flowing throughout,” says Rowland Parr, Business Development Manager of OSC.

To address document creation and sharing, SharePoint will be configured as a branded Intranet landing page for corporate-wide communications. This will include a library of corporate documents and templates to ease the creation of new content. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we’ve had to because our old system made it too difficult to find data, and we had a lot of redundant files. Office 365 will make us much more efficient,” says Waterman.

Be Learning chose Office 365 to meet its needs for an easy to manage, easy to use platform to scale with its growth. Microsoft Exchange Online and Outlook can make email communication easier and more reliable, and eliminating the aging email server can reduce the cost of and reliance on external IT support.

Be Learning also chose Office 365 to provide employees with the ability to check email and calendars from their mobile phones; or use Lync Online to help get answers to questions, determine a colleague’s availability, and conduct online meetings – all important tasks for the company’s staff.


Be Learning chose Office 365 to provide users with a document management and collaboration platform to help unify its offices and users, reduce its support and licensing costs, and provide an integrated, scalable, and reliable solution that will grow with them.

Estimated 80 percent reduction in time to collaborate on documents

Waterman is looking forward to the way the new SharePoint Intranet will improve the way employees work together. “One of the features I love with Office 365 is collaboration on documents. It will be a big time saver for us to have the co-authoring and sharing capabilities, and it’s essential to our core business for our documents to be accessible and secure,” she notes. Waterman estimates that the time to collaborate on a learning plan will reduce from 3 – 10 days to 1-2 days.

* We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we’ve had to because our old system made it too difficult to find data, and we had a lot of redundant files. Office 365 will make us much more efficient.  *

Alisha Waterman
Strategic Projects Manager
Be Learning

Up to estimated $16,000 reduction in IT support costs

Be Learning’s employees will soon be able to access email reliably. Waterman estimates that the company will also save $16,000 - $18,000 in IT support costs, for incident-based external IT to repair issues. They will also save money by avoiding future hardware upgrade costs and eliminating software that wasn’t being used. “It’s important for us to track how much we are spending monthly on certain areas. We were throwing away money on hardware before, and on licenses for software that employees didn’t use,” comments Waterman.

Integrated, scalable, reliable solution

Be Learning is now able to bring their disparate offices and remote employees closer together, using tools that can integrate seamlessly with Office. Says Waterman, “Office 365 is very user friendly, and it’s great for the majority of people on the team who are not very technically minded.” A bespoke CRM system has also been built in SharePoint to capture client contact details as well as allow the sales team to capture meeting notes and track the status of the sales process.

Waterman and Be Learning’s management are delighted with the changes; the company even plans to hold a “server burial party” to celebrate Office 365 in a fun way, with employee training. “Office 365 has addressed all of the IT issues that we had within the business,” comments Waterman. “It is flexible and exactly what we needed; now our team can grow and be flexible, and our infrastructure will keep up.”

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.

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

Organization Size: 30 employees

Organization Profile

Be Learning is Australia’s leading creative learning consultancy combining theatre, film, digital, and social media to inspire positive change and drive business results.

Business Situation

With two offices in Australia and a US addition, Be Learning needed better communication between sites, a unified working platform, and CRM capabilities that fit their needs.


The Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based solution provided the platform Be Learning needed to communicate, collaborate, and manage its intellectual property.


  • Collaboration time reduced
  • Lowered IT costs by $16,000
  • Scalable, reliable solution

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

Vertical Industries


Business Need
Business Productivity