Investment holding company Dawood Hercules Corporation needed to upgrade its communications and collaboration platform to enhance resilience and lower operating costs. After evaluating available offerings, it chose Microsoft Office 365 in the
public cloud and migrated more than 500 users—with the potential to scale up to 2,000 users. Office 365 ensures business continuity and compatibility with existing IT systems with no downtime for users.
Dawood Hercules Corporation was established in 1948 in Pakistan and is listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges. It has diverse interests ranging from IT and financial services to food, fertilizers, chemical manufacturing and storage,
and energy. Hussain Dawood is chairman of the group, and also chairman of the Karachi School for Business and Leadership, a project of the Karachi Education Initiative developed with support from The Dawood Foundation. He is a keen advocate of IT in business,
and cloud computing in particular.
Based in Karachi, Dawood Hercules has one subsidiary and seven affiliated companies, all of which share centralized IT services. Zubair Abdullah, IT Head, Dawood Hercules Corporation, says: “We wanted to increase IT efficiency and reduce infrastructure operating
costs. Until December 2012, we were using Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Enterprise Edition in an on-premises configuration. Our chairman was supportive of cloud computing, so we spent considerable time researching our options.”
Dawood Hercules evaluated another cloud productivity suite for web-based email, calendar, and documents, and one of its affiliated companies implemented it, but with some limitations. Abdullah says: “The experience of our affiliate company didn’t give us
confidence. We found that the other productivity suite was far behind the top technological advancements in communication and collaboration infrastructure—both in its products as well as the end-user experience. Microsoft Office 365 has a native document format
that’s widely in use globally.”
In June 2012, Microsoft announced the commercial launch of Microsoft Office 365 in the Middle East and Africa region, including Pakistan. The next-generation cloud productivity service for businesses of all sizes was made available with local pricing for
After a rigorous evaluation period involving assessment of features, functionality, and availability, Dawood Hercules decided to move to the public cloud with Microsoft Office 365. It brings together the latest version of Microsoft Office—as well as Microsoft
SharePoint Online, Microsoft Exchange Online, and Microsoft Lync Online—in an up-to-date service, at a predictable monthly cost.
Abdullah says: “We began exploring this as an alternative productivity suite, especially as we were already on a Microsoft platform throughout the business. Office 365 offered compatibility with our in-house applications and hosted our data in secure data
centers, thereby simplifying system management.”
Pakistan-based Microsoft Cloud Services Partner CubeXS initially helped with deployment. It began integrating Office 365 in December 2012.
Abdullah says: “We’ve already upgraded to Exchange Online for more than 500 seats and are using SharePoint Online in some of our operations. In addition, we now also have Microsoft Office 2013. Our intention is to introduce Lync Online for unified communications
in a further phase of development.”
Staff familiarity with Microsoft Office was a key factor in the choice of Office 365. Abdullah says: “Moving to the cloud with Office 365 doesn’t require Dawood Hercules to change the way it works, because the service is based on familiar productivity tools—including
Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—which our people know and trust.”
By deploying Office 365, Dawood Hercules Corporation has avoided capital expenditure on a new communications and collaboration infrastructure. Business continuity has been ensured and risk minimized from a disaster recovery perspective. Office 365 is fully
compatible with existing desktop formats, email, and data. And, because it’s in the cloud, operating costs are significantly reduced.
Office 365 gives firm automatic upgrade to Office 2013. Abdullah says: “With Office 365, we’ve already benefited from a free upgrade to Office 2013, with free maintenance and zero downtime.”
New system interoperates with line-of-business applications. “When one of our affiliate companies deployed another productivity suite, we realized it lacked compatibility with the Microsoft Office suite. With Office 365,
colleagues can share calendars and collaborate easily with familiar Microsoft productivity tools,” says Abdullah.
Cloud solution cuts costs and avoids need for upfront expenditure. Abdullah says: “By deploying Office 365, we’ve avoided significant capital expenditure on a new on-premises infrastructure. We have a monthly
pay-as-you-go agreement with Microsoft that’s scalable and removes the burden of operating costs, storage, and third-party spam and malware protection services.”
Office 365 ensures business continuity and greater resilience.
With Office 365, Dawood Hercules has minimized the risk of loss of data by using the public cloud. Abdullah says: “Business continuity is a key factor in our business and we’ve had no downtime with Office 365. We provide IT services to Dawood Hercules group
companies and Office 365 has been well received by users.”
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