Founded in 1980 in Jakarta, Indonesia, MedcoEnergi Internasional now has operations in seven countries and employs 3,000 people. MedcoEnergi frequently acquires new companies, and it was concerned about the time and effort to transition new employees over to its messaging and collaboration solutions. As the company grows, the burden on its IT team increases, along with the cost for maintaining on-premises solutions at offices around the world. After a pilot test of Microsoft Office 365, the next generation of hosted services from Microsoft, MedcoEnergi realized that a cloud-based email service could complement its current on-premises unified communications solution and offer employees all of the same capabilities they need to do their jobs. It decided to move employee mailboxes to Microsoft Exchange Online to help reduce IT administration, reduce costs, and provide more flexibility.
Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, MedcoEnergi Internasional (MedcoEnergi) is an integrated energy company with operations in seven countries. It focuses on oil and gas exploration and production, power generation, and downstream industries, which include fuel distribution and biofuel production. The company has approximately 3,000 employees.
With multiple business units and geographically distributed operations, the company relies on a robust unified communications platform to share information and collaborate. For messaging, the company had deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 email messaging and collaboration software. For collaboration, MedcoEnergi deployed Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. To provide instant messaging, presence, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities, the company deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 on-premises in a virtual environment based on Windows Server with Hyper-V virtualization technology. It also set up federation with partners and vendors who use Microsoft unified communications, so that employees could share calendars and presence information.
For voice service, MedcoEnergi deployed Lync Server enterprise voice capabilities so that employees can place voice over Internet Protocol (voIP) calls directly from the Microsoft Lync 2010 desktop client. In addition, employees use Exchange Unified Messaging to view voice mail and email through their Microsoft Outlook 2010 messaging and collaboration client inbox. Employees can view presence information or interact with contacts through Outlook 2010, Lync 2010, or through Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites.
For employees in remote locations, the company provides low-cost redundant voice connections through OfficeMaster Survivable Branch Appliances (SBA) from Ferrari Electronic, media gateways that provide a public switched telephone network connection in the event of wide-area network failure. It uses SBAs at its branch offices to provide a redundant voice connection in the case of a network outage. Employees can also continue to use the presence and instant messaging capabilities through Lync 2010 or Outlook 2010.
As a public company operating in many industries, MedcoEnergi frequently buys and sells smaller companies. For its IT staff, this means it must often maintain separate messaging and communications solutions until they can transition accounts for the new employees. MedcoEnergi also has many employees who work from truly remote locations and need reliable access to email and voice communications. Also, as the company expands, employees change roles often. For the IT team, all this means they must spend extra time managing accounts.
MedcoEnergi has 28 locations around the world—all with local Exchange Server 2010 deployments. “We are supporting a lot of hardware to maintain our current messaging solution, even at our smaller locations,” explains Cecep Saefudin, Manager–Infrastructure Services at Medco Energi Internasional. “Most of our employees access email through Outlook Web App so they do not have to worry about a VPN connection, but we still have to manage everything on the back end.”
||With Exchange Online, we can avoid the cost of additional Exchange Server deployments at new office locations.
Manager–Infrastructure Services, MedcoEnergi Internasional
MedcoEnergi decided to consider other options for its messaging solution, because it wanted to extend some of the cost and administration reductions it experienced with its Lync Server deployment. It also wanted a simpler way to create and manage user accounts—especially email accounts—for new employees and for people who change roles within the company. It also wanted to ease administration for its IT team and reduce the amount of infrastructure they must manage on a daily basis.
For several years, MedcoEnergi considered moving to a hosted email solution. “We are in the planning stages for a data center refresh in 2012, so we decided to reconsider the option of a hosted service,” explains Saefudin. The company learned about Microsoft Office 365, the next generation of hosted services that combines the familiar Office desktop with enhanced cloud-based communication and collaboration services. MedcoEnergi joined the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program to pilot test Microsoft Exchange Online, a messaging solution designed for organizations who want the benefits of cloud-based email without sacrificing the business-class capabilities that Exchange Server has provided for decades. With an enterprise licensing subscription for Office 365, MedcoEnergi can move employees between its on-premises Exchange Server and its hosted Exchange Online service as needed. When employees are moved to Exchange Online, their voice mail moves with them. In addition, by licensing the E4 enterprise plan, they can take advantage of the Lync Server enterprise voice, conferencing, and presence capabilities they use today.
Because MedcoEnergi manages all of its Microsoft solutions through the Active Directory service, the IT team found it simple to prepare for the transition to Exchange Online. “It only took us about a day to prepare our existing Active Directory accounts,” explains Arif Budiman, Data Center Operations Lead at MedcoEnergi Internasional. “We used Office 365 Directory Sync and simply followed the instructions on the website.” The Directory Synchronization tool updates the Office 365 group policy settings when the IT team changes settings in Active Directory, so they do not have to maintain two sets of policies. The company also deployed Active Directory Federation Services to enable single sign on, so that employees can use their existing domain credentials to access their Exchange Online, Exchange Server 2010, SharePoint Server 2007, or Lync Server 2010 accounts.
For now, the company plans to keep its current on-premises Exchange Server 2010 deployment at its headquarters. However, it will transition some of its remote offices to the hosted service as soon as possible, and any new companies will use the hosted service as soon as they join the company. With Office 365, Medco can easily move employee mailboxes between Exchange Online and on-premises Exchange Server deployments when people transfer to new positions in the company or to new office locations. The company also hosts email accounts for several of its vendors and partners, and it will transition these accounts to the hosted service.
With Exchange Online, MedcoEnergi has access to the same capabilities it has with its on-premises Exchange Server deployment. For example, employees can access their personal archive folders. To safeguard sensitive company information, the company uses Information Rights Management (IRM) policies, so employees can continue to create and access IRM-protected messages through Outlook 2010, Outlook Web App, or through Microsoft Office Outlook Mobile on their mobile devices. Employees can also expect the same level of security, because Exchange Online uses Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange and Microsoft Forefront Protection for Exchange Server to help protect email messages from transferring malicious software.
For employees, changes to the messaging solution are mostly transparent, and they have access to all of the same unified communications capabilities they use every day. “Because MedcoEnergi will configure Exchange Online to interoperate with its on-premises Lync Server deployment, employees can continue to view presence information, start instant messaging sessions, or initiate phone calls or conferences with colleagues through Outlook 2010,” notes Saefudin. Employees can also continue to federate with trusted vendors and partners to share calendar information. In addition, with hosted voice mail through Exchange Online, they can continue to receive and answer voice mail.
For the IT team, Office 365 provides the same web-based administration capabilities as Exchange Server and Lync Server. With Exchange Online, the IT team can use the Windows PowerShell command-line interface to create mailboxes and manage settings. They can also use the web-based controls to manage Lync Server and Office 365 from anywhere on the corporate network.Benefits
With a mobile workforce that often travels to remote locations, MedcoEnergi believes that using cloud-based services to supplement its on-premises unified communications solution is the answer. “We believe in cloud-based services because people are no longer attached to a specific office,” says Ageng Wiryawan, IS Relations Manager at MedcoEnergi Internasional. By transitioning much of its messaging solution to Exchange Online, MedcoEnergi enables its employees to remain productive no matter where they work, while it reduces costs and helps the company to grow without placing additional burdens on its IT team.
With its Lync Server 2010 deployment, MedcoEnergi had already reduced hardware and operations costs by deploying Lync in a virtual environment. The company’s decision to move its email solution to a cloud-based service was primarily based on reducing IT costs even further. “With Exchange Online, we can avoid the cost of additional Exchange Server deployments at new office locations,” says Saefudin. In addition, it can also repurpose existing hardware as it transitions employee mailboxes to the online service.
Provides More Flexibility as Company Grows
With cloud-based services and technology such as SBAs to extend its unified communications capabilities, MedcoEnergi can quickly bring new companies on board after mergers or acquisitions. “We can add a new employee account quickly, no matter what email service they were using before, because location no longer matters,” explains Saefudin.
||It only took us about a day to prepare our existing Active Directory accounts. We used Office 365 Directory Sync and simply followed the instructions on the website.
Data Center Operations Lead, MedcoEnergi Internasion
With employees’ email and enterprise voice account information centrally managed in Active Directory, the IT team can also more easily manage employee moves, because they can seamlessly move mailboxes between Exchange Server 2010 and Exchange Online. “When we deployed Lync Server, we basically freed employees from their desk phones and eliminated our need to move hardware and phone lines,” explains Budiman. “With Exchange Online, we have the same sort of freedom.”
With Exchange Online, employees continue to have access to the same Lync Server capabilities, such as presence and instant messaging, that they use to stay productive. Also, employees can continue to use their existing user name and password, and remote employees do not have to worry about accessing the company network through VPN before they log on to their email accounts. Eases Administration
By deploying Lync Server in a virtual environment, MedcoEnergi reduced the amount of hardware it had to manage by 50 percent, a trend it expects to continue by transitioning from Exchange Server 2010 on-premises to Exchange Online. “At many of our locations, we can eliminate our on-premises servers running Exchange Server altogether, which will greatly reduce administration,” explains Saefudin. “In addition, when we acquire new businesses, we can avoid deploying additional hardware in those locations.”
For locations where it will keep its on-premises Exchange Server deployments, the IT team can easily move employee mailboxes between the cloud and the on-premises servers as needed. When the IT team needs to configure new accounts or change group policy settings, it can perform tasks in one place—Active Directory--because Office 365 Directory Sync replicates the user account information into the cloud service. The IT team does not have to perform any additional steps to maintain the configuration settings of the on-premises and online solutions.
With Office 365, the IT team can also take advantage of Windows PowerShell and web-based administration capabilities to automate tasks and manage daily maintenance. In addition, it can continue to use desktop sharing through Lync 2010 to help employees who are having trouble with their email accounts.Maintains High Level of Service
MedcoEnergy upgraded to Exchange Server 2010 to take advantage of Database Availability Groups to provide better disaster recovery and decrease failover time in case of an outage. With Exchange Online, MedcoEnergi can expect even better disaster recovery through continuously-replicated, geo-redundant data centers that are third-party certified to international standards.
By transitioning email to Office 365, MedcoEnergi continues a trend it began with Exchange Server 2010 and Lync Server 2010: to reduce costs and to ease administration while providing employees with access to instant and reliable communications and collaboration capabilities.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 that guarantees 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
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