Amphigean required a system that could support its employees in communicating more effectively, helping them provide a better service to customers. Excalibur Communications assisted the firm in moving to Microsoft Office 365, delivering the latest Microsoft communications technology over the Internet. With Office 365, employees can hold virtual meetings, saving time and travel expenses, and they can coordinate their diaries and process documents wherever they are in the world.
Specialist telecommunications consultancy Amphigean has a core team of employees that work in different locations throughout the United Kingdom (U.K.) and overseas. The firm used a variety of cloud-based services for hosting, document sharing, and email, but these were not integrated and were purchased from a number of different suppliers. Peter Greaves, Director, Amphigean, says: “We wanted to keep costs low to maximise the value for our customers, and still use the latest enterprise applications in an integrated way to improve our responsiveness.”
The company’s existing POP3 email had some major drawbacks. For example, it didn’t synchronise well if the team tried to use their smartphones and Microsoft Outlook on their laptops. “Employees would regularly lose emails when they switched to their smartphones,” explains Greaves.
The system didn’t provide shared diaries for the team to coordinate meetings and keep track of what everyone was doing. Nor did employees have any method to cost-effectively meet to work on projects together. Team meetings could cost £1,000 just for travel, accommodation, and subsistence—in addition to time lost in travelling.
But Amphigean couldn’t justify buying on-site servers for email and file storage, and this concept didn’t fit with its ethos of using cloud-based services. With four of the team living in Kendal, one in Wales, and Greaves near Chichester—and with a large team of associate consultants based throughout the world—the firm needed a solution that supported multiple, geographically dispersed offices. Solution
Within its wide portfolio of services, Amphigean provides consultancy and training to many corporates and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) about the issues of convergence—combining business mobile phones, fixed lines, and Internet access for small businesses without any on-premises hardware or upfront capital costs. As a result, the concept of accessing enterprise applications within the cloud appealed to Amphigean.
So when it visited Excalibur, the team was excited to learn about Microsoft Office 365. With three offices across the south of England, Microsoft Gold Partner Excalibur specialises in communication and IT solutions for SMEs. It used its expertise to help Amphigean go live with Office 365 over the course of a weekend, moving existing email archives and redirecting incoming messages from the POP3 account to the new email service. Amphigean chose the version of Office 365 that includes licences for Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus. This full Office suite of applications was easily downloaded and installed on each user’s laptop. Benefits
Professional email. Thanks to Office 365, Amphigean has an advanced, professional email system that works well across different models of smartphones. This helps its people stay in touch and respond to customer requirements wherever they are.
Shared calendars. The system lets employees share their diaries, so they know what’s going on and when people are free, making the resourcing of customer projects much faster.
Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus. The company chose the Office 365 payment plan that includes licences for the latest versions of Microsoft business software, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. “Now we know that we’re always going to have the latest versions, but without the extra cost of upgrading every time a new version comes out,” says Greaves.
Shared files. As a consulting company, Amphigean creates many documents, including large PowerPoint presentations and videos, which are too large to share by email. Office 365 gives the company an online file store using Microsoft SharePoint Server technology. This lets them work together on documents, edit them online or using Office applications, and even use their smartphones for editing. They can share links with clients to view and edit documents, which shortens project timescales for customers. The way that SharePoint sites can be structured helps ensure that projects are managed efficiently using the latest collaboration techniques. “It’s already changing the way we work,” says Greaves.
Online conferences. Office 365 includes Microsoft Lync 2010. This lets users chat using instant messaging or voice and video links over the Internet. By integrating availability information with communications, it provides a great way for employees to stay in touch. “We’re using Lync 2010 for most of our day-to-day communications—both internally and with customers,” says Greaves. “It’s easier to arrange meeting with customers virtually, and means we can spend more time on projects rather than travelling. This shortens project timescales for our customers.” It is also saving money by cutting the costs associated with travel.
One bill. Amphigean also uses Vodafone One Net, a hosted phone system that works in a similar way to Office 365, being Internet-hosted without any on-premises hardware or software. Excalibur supplies this service to Amphigean so the company benefits from having one bill and one point of contact for its telecoms and IT needs, reducing the challenges of working with multiple suppliers.
Office 365 has proved to be a boost for Amphigean and its customers. It supports the company’s ethos of working in the cloud, gives employees access to the latest enterprise-grade applications, and easily supports the rapid expansion of the company.This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.