4-page Case Study
Posted: 5/10/2012
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Qurrent Renewable Energy Energy Company Saves Time and Money with Do-It-Yourself Cloud Solution

Office 365 enables us to grow without the hassle of big investments from an on-premises server farm.

Michel Muurmans – Managing Director, Qurrent Renewable Energy

Qurrent Renewable Energy is founded on “do it yourself” energy—helping people to either generate their own power or find ways to conserve it. In this spirit, Qurrent managed its own servers running Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, until its rapid growth made the company turn to a Microsoft Office 365 cloud solution to gain the scalability and flexibility for employees to work from home, from the company’s temporary headquarters on a boat, or from the new office, still under renovation in April 2012.

The company will save US$12,000 on managing its own software updates and hardware, and employees will save half an hour weekly by taking a DIY approach, using SharePoint Online to establish workflows and build their own project sites. Employees can collaborate from almost anywhere or any device, accessing all the applications and data they need online.

Situation

Qurrent Renewable Energy won the 2007 €500,000 Picnic Green sustainable technology challenge for its computer-controlled, residential solutions, in which users create energy (through solar and wind technologies) or optimize power usage among all participating houses. With prototype models of its Local Energy Network mini grids in pilot production in early 2012, Qurrent is poised to grow quickly and become a major player in the Dutch energy market.

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* With Office 365, we save money by eliminating the need for additional IT personnel. We don’t have to worry about doing software updates anymore either. *

Michel Muurmans
Managing Director
Qurrent Renewable Energy

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At first, the company managed its own servers running Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, but Michel Muurmans, Managing Director at Qurrent, anticipated exponential growth in 2012 after the company acquired the final round of funding necessary for an official launch in July. Muurmans wanted to free employees’ time from hardware maintenance to focus on the business. The company also wanted to stop managing software and updates.

Qurrent’s 30 employees usually work from home using company-issued portable computers and their own mobile devices, but the company had not set up remote access to SharePoint sites, so employees could not consistently use version control. Any new solution would have to accommodate rapid growth, to follow the pioneering business wherever it might go.

Solution

In late 2011, Qurrent considered using Google Apps, but chose Microsoft Office 365 because it includes Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint technologies working together. Office 365 is an online service that unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions. Because it is an online service, Qurrent no longer needs to perform server maintenance and software upgrades.

Qurrent’s technology partner, Compete, configured employees’ portable computers and set up Microsoft SharePoint Online. Compete also took over basic administration, such as managing user names and passwords.

Muurmans reports that the deciding factor in choosing Office 365 was the integration of Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint technologies, to better manage company projects. Qurrent employees can use built-in templates and SharePoint Designer to build and manage custom project sites and internal workflows themselves. And, SharePoint Online content is available offline through SharePoint Workspace (part of Office Professional Plus); employees can use single sign-on (SSO) to access critical business documents from anywhere.

Employees can also use SharePoint Online as a central content and records management repository, complete with data rules, document IDs, comprehensive search, version control, and metadata management.

Qurrent is using Office Professional Plus, a subscription to desktop versions of Office Professional Plus 2010. Employees can install Office Professional Plus on five different devices, to manage email and calendars with the new conversation and calendar management tools. Multiple employees can work simultaneously on documents and share presentations with others instantly. For added collaboration value, Qurrent uses the instant messaging and presence features in Lync Online, integrated with the Outlook web application, to stay in touch more efficiently.

Benefits

Qurrent will save time and money with its flexible and low-maintenance new solution while boosting collaboration with rich new features and improved remote access.

Improved Collaboration and File Access

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* The only IT maintenance we have is on the laptops.  If a computer breaks, we replace it and users reboot and have the information and applications they need immediately. *

Michel Muurmans
Managing Director
Qurrent Renewable Energy

Qurrent streamlined collaboration with central file storage and management features of SharePoint Online, including version control and remote access. The company uses SharePoint Online as an office and IT management tool. Muurmans says, “We’re storing all our project and company information in SharePoint Online, including a company blog with meeting minutes, so we can stay up-to-date. And, we’re integrating SharePoint Online with workflows, for everything from small projects to our finance department processes. We even have Microsoft Project synchronized with our project planning in SharePoint.”

Time and Cost Savings

Qurrent saves the equivalent cost of one full-time employee by no longer managing an on-premises infrastructure—time that was spent on server maintenance—for a total of US$12,000 annually. “With Office 365, we save money by eliminating the need for additional IT personnel. We don’t have to worry about doing software updates anymore either,” says Muurmans.

With the Microsoft solution, there was no learning curve for employees, and Muurmans notes that deployment was smooth and simple: “Our partner Compete did the very easy one-time configuration of our laptops, and then we were in business.” Employees save 30 minutes a week thanks to efficient new collaboration features, or 24 hours annually.

Flexible, Scalable Solution

Qurrent has a solution that will grow with it. Muurmans says, “The only IT maintenance we have is on the laptops. If a computer breaks, we replace it and users reboot and have the information and applications they need immediately. It’s an easy way of managing our IT needs.”

“Office365 enables us to grow without the hassle of big investments from an on-premises server farm,” notes Muurmans. “In late 2011, we were headquartered on a boat using a DNSx QE3 Internet connection —and we couldn’t have done that without a cloud solution.” Part of that easy growth comes from the freedom employees gained with the new solution.“

Muurmans credits the solution’s success to a DIY approach to business. With Office 365, he says, “Microsoft gives us the platform to work independently. Just like we give our customers the platform to generate and save their own energy. Our employees build their own project sites and workflows, and all our productivity applications are there when we need them—our whole office suite is online.”

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 about Compete products and services, visit the website at:

www.compete.nl

For more information about Qurrent products and services, visit the website at:

www.qurrent.com

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

Netherlands-based Qurrent Renewable Energy takes a collaborative approach to energy production and management. The company won a €500,000 technology challenge for its residential solutions.


Business Situation

Employees work from home, the road, and even a boat, so they needed robust collaboration and remote access tools. The company wanted a flexible solution that would grow with it.


Solution

The company chose Microsoft Office 365 for its integration of Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint technologies, and also free up one full-time employee’s hours from hardware maintenance.


Benefits

  • Save $12,000 annually
  • Save 24 hours annually
  • Improved collaboration


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

Vertical Industries
Other Services

Country/Region
Netherlands

Business Need
  • Business Productivity
  • Mobility

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Compete

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