4-page Case Study
Posted: 3/13/2012
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Rookie Recruits Recruiting Firm Drives Innovation and Growth with Switch from Google to Microsoft Office 365

To help maintain a high level of innovative service for its customers, provide flexibility for its remote workforce, enhance collaboration, and simplify its IT environment, Rookie Recruits adopted Google Apps. But almost immediately, the company’s employees began experiencing challenges with the Google email, document, and spreadsheet web services. Rookie Recruits worked with the cloud-engineering partner Paradyne to switch from Google to Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, a suite of cloud-based online messaging and collaboration solutions. After Rookie Recruits switched to Office 365, the company was able to support its innovative business model, build a flexible, powerful, and simple-to-manage working environment, and create a competitive advantage that helped it expand by almost 40 percent.

Situation
In 2009, Jason Murray and Andy Springer founded Rookie Recruits to help employers fill career-start positions with candidates who make up in enthusiasm and ambition what they may lack in experience. Based in Sydney, Australia, the company recruits candidates from throughout Australia and New Zealand, and since 2009, Rookie Recruits has successfully placed people in hundreds of positions for a variety of employers.

The Rookie Recruits selection process combines a rigorous discovery of a candidate’s attitude and natural talent with a detailed understanding of available positions to find the perfect match. Once a candidate is placed, Rookie Recruits remains engaged in the development of the candidate through its 12-month coaching and mentoring program, which helps employees integrate their enthusiasm and determination into the start of their careers and helps employers get the most out of their new employees.

This approach to career recruitment is innovative and much more challenging than simply checking off skill sets on a list. Murray and Springer knew they had to be just as innovative in their own hiring. “To find and help develop the candidates who have that awesome attitude, we need the best recruiters available,” says Springer, Director at Rookie Recruits. “We wanted to provide a completely flexible and remote working environment so that we could assemble a team based on the level of service we could deliver, not just based on where people could work from.”

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* When we switched from Google Apps to Office 365, we freed our people to work together in synergy, and it has produced good results in every area of our business. *
Andy Springer
Director, Rookie Recruits
*
With a dedicated team of talent screeners, talent scouts, coaches, and salespeople—many working offsite—Rookie Recruits needed a technology environment that would provide its employees with the flexibility to deliver high-quality service from anywhere to candidates and employers distributed across a continent.

“To effectively engage with candidates, deliver information to employers, gather feedback, and get conversations started, our team need instant communication and immediate access to our network resources,” says Springer.

To manage its messaging and collaboration environment, Rookie Recruits used Microsoft Exchange Server 2003—delivered and maintained by a large hosting provider—but the provider’s system did not adapt to the company’s changing needs. “As the business grew, we wanted to enhance things, such as document and spreadsheet sharing, live presentations, and videoconferencing,” says Springer. “Ultimately, the hosting provider we were using could not meet our speed requirements.”

While Rookie Recruits needed more collaboration capability, it also wanted a simple IT infrastructure that it could adopt and maintain at reasonable cost. “The last thing we wanted was a patchwork of technologies to maintain,” says Springer. “We don’t have a dedicated IT department, so we wanted an environment that we wouldn’t need to worry about.”

Springer and Murray knew that they could control costs and still get the capability they needed by managing a messaging environment using cloud technology—remote computing resources delivered as services over the Internet. In 2011, Rookie Recruits adopted the Google Apps suite of cloud-based messaging and productivity services. But almost immediately, the company’s team began to complain about the Google Apps interface and user experience.

The team felt that the Google word processing and spreadsheet applications lacked the feature-rich experience that they were accustomed to with Microsoft Office productivity software. Compared to sending and receiving email messages and managing their calendars using the Office Outlook messaging and collaboration client, the recruiters found that Google Mail lacked the familiar tools they had come to depend on in order to communicate effectively, manage appointments, organize meetings, and work productively. Google offered an add-in so that employees could interoperate Google Mail with Office Outlook. But Rookie Recruits found it difficult to install the add-in, which only added a layer of complexity to sending and receiving emails that slowed and frustrated employees.

“We knew right away that Google was not going to work for us and that we needed to make a change quickly,” says Springer. “We were concerned that it would impact the level of service we provide or even affect an opportunity with an employer or candidate. We just couldn’t afford that.”

Solution
Rookie Recruits began working with Paradyne, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and one of the leading cloud-engineering providers in Australia. Paradyne was the second partner in the world to earn a Microsoft Cloud Accelerate competency, and it was a 2011 Microsoft Australia Online Services Partner of the Year finalist. “We focus on helping customers get the most out of cloud technology,” says Loryan Strant, Director at Paradyne.

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* We knew right away that Google was not going to work for us and that we needed to make a change quickly. We were concerned that it would impact the level of service we provide …. We just couldn’t afford that. *
Andy Springer
Director, Rookie Recruits
*
After determining the business requirements at Rookie Recruits, Paradyne recommended that the company switch to Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, a suite of hosted online messaging and collaboration solutions that includes Microsoft Office Professional Plus along with Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online, and Microsoft Office Web Apps. “For business use, we thought Office 365 packed a much greater punch than Google Apps,” says Springer. “Google turned out to be too lightweight, and it required work-arounds that just added complexity. By choosing Office 365, we got everything we needed in single suite of familiar technologies that’s easy to use and simple to adopt. Paradyne told us the migration would take 48 hours, but I think it took 12.”

Instead of struggling in Google Mail with an unfamiliar interface and a lack of features, Rookie Recruits employees can use Exchange Online and Microsoft Outlook to access email and manage their calendars and contacts with the tools they know and need. They can use Office 365 to access email using the variety of PCs, Mac computers, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and other mobile devices used by different team members. “We don’t make set rules about what kind of devices we will support. We are more concerned about meeting the needs of our team members,” says Springer. “So we focus on making sure our systems will be safeguarded on any device, and we work with vendors like Microsoft based on the levels of security they can deliver.”

With Office Web Apps, Rookie Recruits employees can access web versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software, the Microsoft OneNote note-taking program, and Microsoft PowerPoint presentation graphics program from virtually any PC or other device with an Internet connection. While Rookie Recruits talent scouts typically use Skype to interview candidates, they now use Lync Online for instant messaging, voice and video calls, and online meetings with colleagues, partners, and customers.

Talent scouts and coaches now use SharePoint Online to share documents and collaborate online with colleagues and employers. “Our coaching team uses SharePoint Online to connect from anywhere at any time and collaborate to develop new ways of helping the rookies we have placed to grow and succeed in their roles,” says Springer.

Instead of installing add-ins and working with third-party solutions to get the functionality it needed with Google Apps, Rookie Recruits can manage Office 365 from a single, easy-to-use Administration console. “We had to reinstall the Google add-in for Outlook several times, and then it conflicted with a plug-in from another provider. When we finally got it running, we had the user problems to deal with,” says Springer. “But with the Office 365 Administration console, it is so simple and so quick to manage our services. We can set configurations, create or delete users, or make changes as needed in literally minutes.”

Benefits
When Rookie Recruits switched from Google Apps to Office 365, the company was able to achieve its goals of supporting its innovative business model, building a flexible and powerful working environment that was simple and inexpensive to manage, and creating a competitive advantage that helped it expand by almost 40 percent.

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* I have great trust that Microsoft will deliver the support we need, but with Google, it was an unknown. In business, I need certainty, and with Office 365 I have that certainty. *
Andy Springer
Director, Rookie Recruits
*
Increased Business Innovation
By using cloud technology and Office 365 to support its messaging and collaboration environment, Rookie Recruits quickly delivered the advanced tools its team needs to effectively identify candidates with the right attitude, find the right employer and role for them, and develop the right path for their career acceleration and growth. Now the company can enhance its level of service, develop innovative offerings, and expand its business without having to manage its own infrastructure or incur major new IT costs.

“We want to use cutting-edge technology to meet the needs of the market, introduce new offerings in our industry, and deliver amazing levels of service to our customers,” says Springer. “When we switched from Google Apps to Office 365, we freed our people to work together in synergy, and it has produced good results in every area of our business.”

More Flexibility, Faster Communication
By providing a flexible work environment, Rookie Recruits has empowered its high-performance team to work remotely from anywhere in Australia with seamless access to the same tools, data, and resources as people in the office, no matter what device, operating system, or web browser they use. “Now that we have built a completely flexible work environment using Office 365, we can maintain and support exactly the team we need,” says Springer.

By switching from Google Apps to Office 365, Rookie Recruits optimized its messaging environment and delivered powerful online collaboration tools that—according to Springer—his employees could now not do without. By using Office 365, employees can centralize and share information, collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations simultaneously, and have live conversations and online meetings with candidates, employers, and colleagues.

“With Office 365, our email is 50 percent faster than it was with our hosted Exchange Server, and collaboration is much simpler and more powerful than it was with Google Apps,” says Springer. “We are much more involved in regular and immediate conversations. A recruiter at home in Melbourne can share ideas with a coach at a conference in Queensland and then instantly use that to help a candidate.”

Decreased Management Time
When it used Google Apps, Rookie Recruits had to spend time and resources installing add-ins, changing configurations, and helping employees understand the new interface. But with the simple, web-based Office 365 Administration console, a single administrator can manage Office 365 seamlessly and address issues within minutes from any location.

“We need systems that are simple and effective and that don’t require a lot of resources to manage, so our team can focus on delivering service and we can focus on our business,” says Springer. “The issue is not that we’re too small to have an IT department. We don’t want to have to manage an IT department, no matter how big we get.”

Springer states that Google did provide online help for Google Apps, but when he contacted Google for support, it took more than a day to receive a reply. He says that Microsoft usually replies within minutes, and notes that he is not surprised. “I have great trust that Microsoft will deliver the support we need, but with Google, it was an unknown,” says Springer. “In business, I need certainty, and with Office 365 I have that certainty.”

Improved Competitive Advantage
With the ability to collaborate efficiently and create new ways to serve candidates and employers, Rookie Recruits can meet the needs of its customers more quickly and effectively, which has helped the company grow rapidly. In 2011, while the Australian recruiting industry saw less than 5 percent growth, Rookie Recruits grew by almost 40 percent.

Springer is convinced that it was the right business decision to switch from Google Apps to Office 365. “Google Apps was too light to meet the complex needs of a growing business,” he says. “But by switching to Office 365, we gave our team the flexibility to work more effectively, find more candidates, fill more positions, and serve more customers.”

Springer believes that switching to Office 365 has helped Rookie Recruits offer more value to customers while keeping costs down. “With Office 365, we can provide each employee with all the collaboration tools and features they need for the price of a sandwich per month,” says Springer. “In fact, using Office 365 helps us deliver recruitment services and a 12-month coaching engagement for the same price that our competitors can offer only recruiting. We deliver service beyond belief at value beyond compare. That is a definite competitive advantage.”

According to Strant, the simplicity and power of Office 365 compared to Google Apps is also a competitive advantage for partners like Paradyne. “With Office 365, we can offer customers a familiar technology, a brand they trust, and the power and reliability they need to focus on running their business instead of an IT infrastructure,” he says.

Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft Online Services are business-class communication and collaboration solutions delivered as a subscription service and hosted by Microsoft. With these offerings, customers can cost-effectively access the most up-to-date technologies and immediately benefit from streamlined communications, simplified management, and business-class reliability and security features.

For more information, visit:
www.microsoft.com/online

For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
www.microsoft.com

For more information about Paradyne products and services, visit the website at:
www.paradyne.com.au

For more information about Rookie Recruits products and services, visit the website at:
www.rookierecruits.com 

Solution Overview



Organization Size: 14 employees

Organization Profile
Based in Sydney, Australia, Rookie Recruits screens, places, and mentors candidates for career-start positions in businesses throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Business Situation
To enhance collaboration and simplify its IT environment, Rookie Recruits adopted Google Apps, but it quickly began experiencing challenges with the email, document, and spreadsheet web services.

Solution
Working with cloud-engineering partner Paradyne, Rookie Recruits switched from Google to Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, a suite of hosted online messaging and collaboration solutions.

Benefits
Increased business innovationMore flexibility, faster communicationDecreased management timeImproved competitive advantage

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Online
  • SharePoint Online

Vertical Industries
Professional Services

Country/Region
Australia

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Paradyne

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