2 page Case Study
Posted: 5/31/2012
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Green Fuels Engineering Firm Improves Collaboration, Supports Growth with Cloud-Based Solution

Green Fuels needed to update its laptops, smartphones, and IT systems to enhance collaboration across borders and time zones. With Microsoft Cloud Essentials Partner Expressware, the firm replaced all its computers and notebooks, upgrading to Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010, Office 365, and Windows Intune. Staff can now stay in touch, coordinate diaries, access shared documents, and get remote support from around the world.


Business Needs

Green Fuels builds equipment that converts waste cooking oil into biodiesel. Over the past few years, the family-owned firm has seen exports increase dramatically, from 20 per cent of turnover to 90 per cent. With offices in the U.K., the U.S., and Hong Kong, and representatives and sales activity worldwide, the 12-person company is growing rapidly.

This has created a number of IT challenges. Key members of staff travel extensively, so they need access to the latest versions of key documents. James Hygate, Chief Executive Officer, Green Fuels, says: “Last summer, I was in Latin America and I couldn’t get the files I needed because everyone in the office had gone home. I needed to be able to log on to any computer so that we didn’t have to stop working when the office was closed.”

As the company grew, it added new laptops and desktops with different versions of Windows, Office, and antivirus programs. Hygate says: “We’d lost control over what we were paying for and what was on each of the computers.” This wasn’t practical for a growing company because it made technical support complex and expensive.

With offices and employees worldwide, the company also had to collaborate across borders and time zones, sharing and updating documents, coordinating diaries and communicating through voice, instant messaging, and audio and videoconferencing. The company had been using on-premises servers linked through virtual private network and consumer conferencing technology, but this lacked reliability and availability. “The technology wasn’t keeping up with our growth,” says Hygate.

Solution

To address these needs, Hygate decided to trial Microsoft Office 365. Seeing how it worked in practice convinced him that cloud technology could help Green Fuels. Although it is easy to set up, Hygate wanted a comprehensive approach to IT and found Microsoft Cloud Essentials Partner Expressware—specialists in Windows Intune and Office 365—through the Microsoft Pinpoint website, a directory of Microsoft Partners and their competencies.

With help from Expressware, he replaced all the company’s laptops and computers. He also deployed Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Office 2010—included in the Office 365 subscription fee—and Windows 7. It was a comprehensive upgrade to the latest technology. And it’ll stay that way because Windows Intune includes Software Assurance upgrade rights to future versions of Windows.

Office 365 has given Green Fuels a reliable, secure email system and shared diaries. Employees now also have access to a Microsoft SharePoint document library and the ability to edit documents with Office 2010 or Office Web Apps in a web browser. In addition, they can now access secure, business-class instant messaging, and audio and videoconferencing, along with the ability to share desktops and collaborate in real time. Windows Intune complements Office 365 with computer management and support tools such as Problem Step Recorder, including advanced antivirus protection, remote deployment, and software inventory management to keep track of software installed on the company’s computers.

Benefits

With Office 365 and Windows Intune, Green Fuels now has a modern, professional IT infrastructure to power growth. Already, the plants sold by Green Fuels have offset about 2,500 tons of carbon dioxide a day by producing around a million litres of biodiesel.

Teamwork. “Microsoft Lync Online [included in Office 365] is a great solution for internal calls,” says Hygate. Because it runs over the Internet, there’s no cost to the company for calls or even videoconferencing among staff anywhere in the world. It also provides presence information so employees can see if colleagues are at their desks and available to answer calls. “Microsoft Office 365 and Windows Intune have made us more professional, efficient, and productive,” says Hygate.

Up-to-date information. Office 365 gives staff access to a central document library so they always have the most up-to-date versions of key documents. This helps them give a better, more joined-up service to their customers and respond faster to queries because they always have the latest information.

Consistency. Everyone in the company is running the same operating system, the same productivity software, and sharing the same email, communications, and diary technology. Not only are the latest versions of Office and Windows more productive than previous versions, but they also require less support and training, which has reduced costs.

Support. Windows Intune gives Green Fuels proactive tools to manage its fleet of computers. It also lets Expressware provide remote support to users when they have problems, so they can get back to work faster. It can alert Expressware if there’s an issue with one of the company’s computers, allowing the team to take action before the user is affected.

Resilience. Thanks to Office 365, employees can keep working even if they encounter problems. For example, if an employee has a hardware issue with his or her laptop, they can swap to another computer and still have access to email, diary, and key documents using a web browser.

Green credentials. By switching to more energy-efficient computers, avoiding the cost of a high-powered server, and gaining better support for flexible working, Green Fuels has an IT system that’s aligned with its green agenda.

Cost efficiency. Windows Intune and Office 365 let Green Fuels pay for the software it uses on a per-user, per-month basis rather than paying for it upfront. In addition, Windows Intune helps the company keep track of software and makes sure employees don’t install unlicensed or non-approved programs. This further reduces software licensing costs.

Flexibility. Thanks to Office 365, staff can work at home and use their smartphones to get email and other information. This supports mobile and flexible working, which is important when key staff travel frequently. Hygate says: “On my last trip, we closed a £400,000 sale. Being able to get into documents remotely and stay in touch with my colleagues in real time was essential. In 12 hours, almost anything can happen and Office 365 lets me stay ahead, even when I’m on the other side of the world.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 12 employees

Organization Profile

As the world's leading biodiesel equipment supplier, Green Fuels designs and manufactures a range of affordable biodiesel processing equipment that produces fuel from used and virgin oils. Its offerings range from systems for small-scale, domestic production to commercial production levels of 50,000 litres.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Windows Intune

Vertical Industries
  • Manufacturing & Resources
  • Life Sciences, Chemicals; Oil & Gas, Mining

Country/Region
United Kingdom

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Expressware

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