Chandris Hotels and Resorts needed a new email solution because the existing hosted service was unreliable and inundated with spam. The company resolved its problems by adopting the cloud-based solution Microsoft Exchange Online. Today, employees respond quicker to enquiries, boosting productivity by 12 per cent and increasing sales by 5 per cent. In addition, the company has reduced call costs by around 5 per cent because people are corresponding more by email.
Chandris Hotels and Resorts offers customers five-star accommodation and modern conference facilities across Greece. The organisation, established in 1969, has hotels in Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as on the islands of Corfu and Chios. Since 2009, Chandris Hotels and Resorts has gone through a multimillion euro investment programme to update many of its hotel rooms and facilities, particularly the conference halls and meeting rooms. As part of this investment, the company built the Met Hotel—a luxurious hotel with 212 rooms and suites—in the city of Thessaloniki.
As part of the same programme, the company also updated its hospitality systems, which help personnel manage everything from event bookings to food and beverage orders. Leonidas Christou, IT Manager at Chandris Hotels and Resorts, says: “These applications help us to make better use of our data to run the business.”
But the email system wasn’t working effectively. “It could be down for a few days, costing us a lot of business and adding to our operating expenses,” he says. The company’s email solution was delivered by a local internet service provider, which supplied just 2 gigabytes of capacity per inbox and didn’t adhere to a service-level agreement. Christou says: “Apart from the regular downtime, around 45 per cent of the email messages we received were spam, and I regularly spent time treating computers infected with viruses.”
On an average day, Christou received around 15 calls from personnel complaining about email messages that hadn’t arrived or hadn’t been delivered to customers. He says: “I was spending many hours each week trying to resolve our email challenges. It was affecting my ability to work on strategic IT projects for the company.” Solution
Chandris Hotels and Resorts already had close links with Microsoft—with around 95 per cent of the company’s systems running on its software—and spoke to Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Algosystems about the email challenges. The partner proposed Microsoft Exchange Online, part of Microsoft Office 365, which delivers leading Microsoft software solutions through a cloud-based service. Christou says: “Algosystems helped us a lot. It made the whole Exchange Online proposition easy to understand.”
At the same time, Christou also considered Google Apps for Business as a possible cloud-based alternative. “I wasn’t 100 per cent confident with the support services for Google Apps,” says Christou. “The technical support information wasn’t clear, and I had to be confident that enquiries would be answered quickly.” Furthermore, Christou wanted to avoid implementing a solution that would require additional software to integrate with the company’s systems. “It could have reduced the reliability of some of our computers,” he says.
Chandris Hotels and Resorts chose Microsoft Exchange Online, with Christou working closely with Algosystems during the move. According to the IT Manager, the migration was seamless, taking him less than 24 hours to set up 120 email accounts and change the domain name system servers and mail exchanger records. He says: “Everything was so simple using the migration tools for Exchange Online—I think a junior IT assistant could do it.”
Today, employees at Chandris Hotels and Resorts have reliable and secure email and up to 25 gigabytes of storage per inbox, which they can access through desktops, the internet, and mobile devices. The majority of personnel are using Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 and Outlook Web Access as their desktop and web-based interfaces, but a growing number are using Windows Phone 7. “With the addition of mobile access, personnel can deliver a better level of service to customers and drive growth,” says Christou.Benefits
Chandris Hotels and Resorts has increased sales by 5 per cent because employees can now deliver a better level of service to customers. With constant access to email from multiple locations, they respond around 12 per cent faster to enquiries and work more closely with colleagues. The company has also reduced call costs by around 5 per cent because staff are corresponding more by email.
Personnel increase sales by 5 per cent with a more responsive service. Employees respond around 12 per cent faster to customers by email. “There has been an increase in business of 5 per cent because Exchange Online helps us deliver an excellent level of customer service,” says Christou.
Employees reduce downtime with secure email solution. The cloud-based solution features Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange, which includes multiple filters and virus-scanning engines to prevent spam, viruses, and phishing scams. Christou says: “With our Exchange Online solution, we can deliver 99.9 per cent uptime.”
IT increases productivity through easier management. Because Christou is no longer answering up to 15 calls a day from colleagues reporting email issues, he can focus on higher value tasks. He says: “I now have time to work on strategic projects. For example, I can dedicate myself to rolling out Microsoft SharePoint Online, which we aim to do before the end of 2011.”
Company reduces call costs by around 5 per cent with cloud-based solution. Chandris Hotels and Resorts has gained a better email service, while cutting IT expenditure. “We’ve lowered call costs by around 5 per cent with Exchange Online because people use email more,” says Christou.
Customer has peace of mind with service-level agreement. Besides the savings, Chandris Hotels and Resorts now has a money-back service-level agreement with round-the-clock support. “The support for Exchange Online is excellent. Any enquiry is answered in a matter of minutes,” says Christou.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.