ISS has implemented Microsoft Exchange Online, the e-mail component of the cloud-based system, Microsoft Office 365, to more than 20,000 staff in more than 50 countries. Microsoft Exchange Online enables ISS to build up a unified, centrally manageable e-mail platform for a large number of personnel across diverse IT environments. Personnel have full and easy access to mailboxes where there is an internet connection, without requiring a VPN or access to the local ISS network.
The majority of ISS Group's 520,000 employees are client facing and represent ISS to the outside world; they clean, guard, answer
||With Office 365 you get a simple, user-friendly service coupled with a transparent and reasonable pricing policy. This strategy suits ISS extremely well.
Global IT Sourcing
the telephone, make canteen meals, water the plants and fix stuck radiator valves in the offices of hundreds of thousands of companies and organizations around the world.
A targeted acquisition strategy has made ISS one of the world's largest facility services companies with operations in more than 60 countries. However this acquisition strategy has also created a range of IT-related challenges that the Group's IT division has found increasingly challenging.
"For example, we have so many different e-mail systems operating in approximately 50 different countries where our 25,000 information worker staff are based - can make collaboration a bit difficult," says Morten Wagner, who heads up Global IT Sourcing at ISS.
"We have a delightful mix of everything from Lotus Notes to new and elderly versions of Exchange and various less known systems. The result is a complicated mix of license and hosting contracts, and a non transparent expenditure on hosting and maintenance," he adds.
The challenge for Morten Wagner and his team was to rationalize the existing email systems and to implement a single worldwide solution that delivers a unified, centrally manageable e-mail platform for a large number of personnel across diverse IT environments.
Within ISS, email is the primary mode of communication and the myriad of email systems currently utilized were not compatible with the company’s strategy of simplifying communication processes and focusing on collaborative working worldwide.
For the past five years, ISS have been searching for a central, cloud-based e-mail solution to roll out across the group and standardize the email service. Microsoft’s cloud system was considered but the Group IT division felt, until recently, that the system was insufficiently mature.
In June 2010, it became apparent that Microsoft had fully invested in cloud-based services, which was reflected in the development of Office 365 (formerly BPOS) a highly respected, robust and stable solution.
“With Office 365 you get a simple, user-friendly service coupled with a transparent and reasonable pricing policy. This strategy suits ISS extremely well," says Morten Wagner.
"The mail component of Office 365, Exchange Online, also works very effectively with Outlook, which is what the majority of our colleagues are already using. So it was the ideal way to go for us," he adds.
The ISS migration strategy was based on migrating national offices with the largest number of personnel first and then focusing on the smaller offices.
Initially this procedure resulted in the successful migration of 8,000 employees to Microsoft Exchange Online from the six largest ISS countries. This was undertaken seamlessly without losing e-mail access or data in the process Most of the remaining 17,000 key staff will have migrated by Q2-3/2011.
"It is actually quite straightforward to set up personnel in Exchange Online once the migration of the Active Directory is in place. It is basically just a matter of pressing a button. We also had to migrate existing mail data and naturally the older the mail system being migrated the greater the complexity." says Morten Wagner.
The migration project to Exchange Online has been a great success and according to Morten Wagner, one of the most encouraging results has been how well ISS staff have taken the change to Exchange Online.
"Typically there is always a considerable amount of skepticism when we ask national offices to make changes to the tools they use every day. But this specific project has been unusually well received. Not just among the 5,000 Lotus Notes users that have now received Exchange Online combined with Office 2010, but also more widely among existing Exchange users," he says.
"Firstly, our colleagues are happy that their e-mail is fast and stable and secondly, they suddenly have 25 GB of capacity to work with. No longer do personnel get constant reminders to delete e-mail which, as we know, is an unpopular time-waster in all organizations," says Morten Wagner.
"Today users also have access to e-mail as a standard where there is an internet connection. In ISS, this is seen as a real benefit and basically makes people more flexible," he adds.
Finally, the switch to Office 365 has made it possible for the IT personnel at ISS to prioritize their time now that they no longer expending energy on administration or operating mail servers, and "that releases resources which we can be focused on developing ISS business applications," says Morten Wagner.
To summarize Office 365 provides:
Microsoft Online Services
- A solution that makes it possible to build up a unified, centrally manageable e-mail platform for a large number of personnel across a wide range of different IT environments
- An Attractive and predictable pricing structure compared to operating on-premise or using external hosting partners
- Extensive mailbox capacity of 25 GB per account that cuts the need for constant, time-consuming cleaning up
- A solution where personnel have access to their e-mail accounts where there is an internet connection
- A simple, well-known user interface minimizes the need for courses and training
- Quantifiable and substantial financial benefits.
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 IT staffers, Microsoft Online Services are backed by strong service level agreements and help reduce the burden of performing routine IT management, freeing up time to focus on core business initiatives.
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