Founded in the 1990s, Pragma has steadily evolved into one of the most recognised and dependable global physical asset management service providers.
With over 360 permanent employees and a physical presence in both South Africa and Brazil, Pragma is well known for its dedication to customer service and innovation.
Many of the group’s products and services, including its On Key Enterprise Asset Management system, Asset Care and Service Centres, Asset Management Improvement Plan (AMIP) and Pragma Academy are highly regarded within the global asset management environment.
Its dedication to internal development has also earned the organisation the Deloitte Best Company to Work For award for four consecutive years in South Africa.
Playing a leading role in the custodianship and development of the ISO 55000 standard for asset management, Pragma is clearly a leader within its field. Ultimately, the group aims to expand its BRICS footprint to support underserviced, yet flourishing economies.
Effective and consistently available email communication is absolutely critical to the success of any business - especially one tasked with managing mission critical physical assets situated within a host of global locations.
Although Pragma had traditionally run its own Microsoft Exchange servers to meet this need, the limitations associated with the company’s Exchange 2003 environment were beginning to prove restrictive. With a maximum database size of just 75GB, employees
were being limited to 250MB mailboxes. As such, many were forced to store and clear .PST files in a number of disparate locations to receive mail.
The situation, says Pragma IT Manager Darryl Lampert, was stifling internal productivity.
“Our on-premises messaging and collaboration solutions gobbled IT resources, and inadequate mailbox size inconvenienced our employees, who wanted modern, integrated collaboration and communication tools they could use on all their PCs and mobile devices.
We wanted to help them be more productive. It was time to find a more integrated, cost-effective solution that didn’t involve spending money on servers.”
Although the organisation had previously investigated off premise cloud solutions such as Google Apps, these services did not suit the needs of internal staff.
“We found that Google’s integration with Microsoft Outlook and calendars was lacking. After being informed by them that there were no plans in place to improve cross platform functionality and that all staff would be forced to use the web based Google mail
client we decided to start our search afresh”.
In early 2012, Pragma began investigating Microsoft Office365 – a newly introduced platform which allows individuals and companies to manage email, documents and software licenses via the cloud. After a thorough examination, the company made contact with
Microsoft Certified Partner, Space Age Technologies, to begin implementing this service internally.
“We migrated from the on-premise Exchange 2003 to a single sign-on Office 365 solution without needing to go onsite. This highlights a significant advantage for companies that move to the cloud: relatively easy access to top specialists in the technologies
they choose to use, irrespective of where they, or their service providers, are located,” said Chris Welham, Marketing Director at Space Age Technologies.
As one of the first local organisations to embrace Microsoft Office 365, Pragma soon began to enjoy the benefits.
Significantly, user inboxes were immediately increased from 250MB to 25GB while the implementation process allowed employees to seamlessly move over to Microsoft’s Office 365 platform without interruption.
Furthermore, by moving into the cloud Pragma was afforded the benefits of updated software including Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint and the Microsoft Office suite. The organisation also opted to implement Microsoft Lync – equipping staff with the
ability to swiftly contact colleagues via IP enabled voice and presence functionality.
The decision to move to Microsoft Office 365 has resulted in a significant CAPEX saving for Pragma, believes Microsoft South Africa’s Office lead, Uriel Rootshtain. Traditionally, an on premise Exchange 2010 installation with similar mailbox capacity would
have been prohibitively expensive for Pragma given the costs related to archiving, backups, disaster recovery and associated hardware requirements.
“We often talk about effective scalability, and this has certainly been the case. The cloud model allows for simple and rapid expansion to cater for company growth. With Pragma having multiple geographic locations, this elasticity is particularly important.”