We were able to get up and running with Office 365 in hours, not days.
Graham Dockrill, Co-founder and VP of Sales, hairyLemon
On February 22, 2011, a 6.3-magnitude quake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, forcing the employees of hairyLemon out of their offices. All employees safely evacuated the digital marketing firm’s offices on the fourth floor, but the downtown area
was devastated. The company’s entire computer infrastructure was lost, and the building was condemned.
hairyLemon executives regrouped to evaluate the catastrophe and plan their next steps. With no offices, no computers, and no way to communicate with clients, hairyLemon managers brainstormed ways to get up and running again.
Managers knew they had to re-establish business quickly, and keep costs low. The quake was a catalyst for change, inspiring hairyLemon to rebuild and grow with cloud technology.
hairyLemon has a team of 30 that specialises in web design, search engine optimisation, software development, e-commerce, and mobile app development. It services clients in the education, media, finance, government, and science industries.
While hairyLemon was able to recover data from its server, the infrastructure was destroyed. The company was faced with replacing costly servers and computers, in addition to finding ways to back up its client data. No physical office space meant that employees
had to rely even more on mobile access, which could be tricky to manage.
||Office 365 has revolutionised our business. We can be assured that our information is secure with Microsoft, and we’re seeing huge gains in time, money savings, and productivity. Best of all, Office 365 runs itself!
| Graham Dockrill
Co-founder and VP of Sales
Employees of hairyLemon sent and received thousands of emails each week. “Email is mission critical for us. We need to be connected to our clients and each other to make sure everything is running smoothly,” says Graham Dockrill, Co-founder and Vice President
of Sales at hairyLemon.
Meetings at hairyLemon often went past the scheduled time allotment when employees had to set up conference calls and work around everyone’s schedules. Executives often traveled to visit clients throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. Travel
costs were mounting, and time was lost in transit.
Executives at hairyLemon decided a cloud-based solution would best fit the company as it rebuilt from the ground up. The company looked at Google Apps but decided the unfamiliar interface would be too challenging for employees to learn quickly. They chose
Microsoft Office 365, an online service that unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions.
“The earthquake was a real turning point for us,” says Dockrill. “We were left with no physical space or equipment, but we had to rebuild quickly, and with minimal cost. Cloud technology was clearly the smartest move for our company.”
The company was excited to try Microsoft Exchange Online as it streamlines communication for busy employees. Employees can now sync their business email anywhere and across multiple devices. “A lot of our employees are still rebuilding homes, and now they
can easily stay in touch with the office and clients while they’re making important decisions from home, too,” says Dockrill.
hairyLemon was able to store its recovered client data on a 2007 virtual server, eliminating the need to buy and maintain expensive servers. The company plans to migrate its large number of quotes, proposals, and other client engagement to the cloud with
Microsoft SharePoint Online. “We have up to 10 terabytes worth of source code and graphics and client solutions that will be much easier to access and maintain once we move to SharePoint Online,” says Dockrill. “With team workspaces and anywhere access to
files, SharePoint Online will greatly increase our productivity.”
Microsoft Lync Online provided new collaboration and communication capabilities that hairyLemon employees were excited to try out. “We love using Lync Online. It was easy to set up, easy to use, and it’s already made fans in the office,” says Dockrill. “Lync
is all about real-time decision-making and collaboration. We use instant messaging to get answers faster, and video calls to put a personal face on our business. Collaboration is a critical part of our rebuilding process. Anywhere we have internet access,
we’re able to connect with our clients and each other.”
Office 365 has helped hairyLemon get back to business quickly without incurring high costs of buying new equipment. Meetings are more productive, and employees have greater mobility to stay connected while rebuilding their own damaged homes.
||Lync is all about real-time decision-making and collaboration. We use instant messaging to get answers faster, and video calls to put a personal face on our business. Collaboration is a critical part of our rebuilding process. Anywhere
we have internet access, we’re able to connect with our clients and each other.
| Graham Dockrill
Co-founder and VP of Sales
“We were able to get up and running with Office 365 in hours, not days,” says Dockrill. “This service gives our employees the flexibility of working from home or just about anywhere. They can take care of their personal rebuilding needs, like meeting with
vendors or being on site to manage their home projects. And they can still be connected and keep projects on track.” The cloud-based solution for email eliminated need for local backups and avoided the cost of buying a new server saving IT staff 10 hours each
week on server maintenance.
Office 365 provides 24/7, enterprise-level security for hairyLemon’s email, and scans it for spam and malware. The company plans to integrate SharePoint Online, which will provide added storage and easier access to client data. “Our data is stored on a virtual
server, but once we add SharePoint Online to our service, we’ll be able to share, revise, and control distribution easily,” remarks Dockrill.
Microsoft Exchange Online provides 25GB mailboxes for high-volume email traffic and large files. “We create and maintain many graphics files that can quickly overwhelm a traditional email system,” says Dockrill. “With Exchange Online, we never have to worry
about filling up too quickly or losing emails.”
Employees were already using Microsoft SharePoint on-premises, so the transition to Microsoft SharePoint Online is eagerly awaited. “We are starting to plan the migration to SharePoint Online, and we expect that it will be easy to deploy and use. It’s a
familiar product with even more good things to offer in terms of productivity. Team workspaces and version controls are two key features we look forward to using,” says Dockrill.
Lync Online has already proved a valuable improvement in communication at hairyLemon. “Lync has provided significant savings in many ways. I used to travel quite a bit for business, and I alone have saved $30,000 in travel costs with Lync,” declares Dockrill.
The company is saving thousands of dollars each month in phone bills and reduced travel, in addition to a time savings of up to 15 percent as a result of fewer and more productive meetings.
Dockrill says the concerns about not having an on-site server for backups and email storage is a thing of the past. “Office 365 has revolutionised our business. We can be assured that our information is secure with Microsoft, and we’re seeing huge gains
in time, money savings, and productivity. Best of all, Office 365 runs itself!” exclaims Dockrill.
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:
For more information about hairyLemon products and services, visit the website at:
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.