Based in Germany, the Sartorius Group helps pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical and food and beverage producers around the world efficiently implement complex lab and production processes. To help its global workforce improve communications, IT staff sought to upgrade its aging Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 messaging solution. The IT staff recently moved a small group of employees over to a Microsoft hosted communications solution with minimal effort. Based on this experience, Sartorius joined the Microsoft Office 365 Rapid Deployment Program to evaluate the next generation of Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online. With the flexibility and agility of the Office 365 cloud-based services, Sartorius expects to deliver improved communication tools to all its employees and reduce administration costs for its on-premises IT infrastructure.Situation
The Sartorius Group is a leading international laboratory and process technology provider that covers segments of biotechnology and mechatronics. Its technological prowess, quality of products and services, and global presence make Sartorius a preferred partner to the pharmaceutical, biotech, chemical, and food and beverage producers. Headquartered in Goettingen, Germany, the company has 40 office locations and 4,000 employees worldwide.
The company considers employee communications critical to help its customers efficiently implement complex lab and production processes. Global teams exchange emails, make phone calls, and conduct meetings for daily communications. Project leaders are often required to travel internationally for onsite meetings.
||Global deployments of on-premises solutions would take us months. With Office 365, our employees will not have to wait to benefit from the latest messaging and communication capabilities.
Corporate Administration, IT Infrastructure and Standard Applications, Sartorius Group
A small IT staff at Sartorius manages its Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 deployment on 15 servers with 3,200 employee mailboxes. Due to the limited availability of the corporate network worldwide, Sartorius could not add all employees. Employees manage their inboxes and calendars with Microsoft Office Outlook 2003. For instant messaging and conferencing capabilities, the IT staff recently moved an initial group of 200 employees into Microsoft Office Communications Online and Microsoft Office Live Meeting; both solutions are part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. This test group improved communications among themselves, but the remaining employees were still without a standard tool for instant messaging and conferencing. For collaboration, teams use Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2003, but Sartorius is currently upgrading to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
Heiko Moeller is responsible for global IT projects for the IT Infrastructure and Standard Applications team at Sartorius. Moeller says, “We realized it was time to upgrade our aging messaging system, but server upgrades and worldwide rollouts have historically been a burden for our small IT team.” The IT staff also wanted to standardize its communications systems to reduce administration for activities such as ongoing server maintenance, constant security patches, and time-consuming backups. “We wanted a standard solution that could support all of our employees, but it had to be manageable,” adds Moeller.
Employees also expressed interest in more advanced email and communication capabilities to help improve productivity and to help them work better with geographically dispersed teams. Moeller says, “Experts within Sartorius are spread out all over the world. Team leads are constantly travelling for onsite meetings. We would like to offer these employees communication alternatives, like video conferencing.” To address employee frustration with managing increased volumes of email in their inboxes, the IT staff also sought to increase the size of employee mailboxes and provide them with better inbox tools.
With the recent success of its Office Communications Online and Live Meeting hosted solution, the IT staff decided to further investigate Microsoft cloud-based services to upgrade its communication capabilities and reduce the complexities of its on-premises IT infrastructure.Solution
Sartorius joined the Microsoft Office 365 Rapid Deployment Program to evaluate next-generation communications and collaboration cloud-based services. As a first step, the IT staff will upgrade the Microsoft Office desktop suite from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2010 for approximately 250 employees. Then IT staff will move these employees to Office 365 to evaluate Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Lync Online. Moeller says, “With the administrative controls in Office 365, we can quickly transition employees into the hosted services. Then, almost instantly, employees can sign in and take advantage of communication capabilities in Exchange Online and Lync Online with the help of Office 2010 on their desktops.”
||Microsoft will take care of much of the administration, such as server maintenance, backups, and upgrades, so we focus on other opportunities for the company.
Corporate Administration, IT Infrastructure and Standard Applications, Sartorius Group
With the rich hybrid capabilities of Exchange Online, employees can still see free/busy information of their colleagues whose accounts are still being managed on-premises in Exchange Server 2003. Employees can use enhanced email and calendar management tools in Microsoft Outlook 2010, such as Conversation View, MailTips, and Calendar Preview. To help with heavy email volume, employees will enjoy a large increase in mailbox size: up to 25 gigabytes (GB) in Exchange Online, an Office 365 default. IT staff can also grant access rights to employees who need email archiving.
With Lync Online, employees will have access to more communication tools such as presence and instant messaging, ad hoc collaboration and online meetings, and desktop and application sharing. Employees can see presence indicators and Contact Cards in Outlook 2010 and other Office 2010 applications, so they can quickly see the availability of colleagues from within an email or document and then click to start a conversation instantly. Dispersed project teams can choose to use audio and video conferencing to communicate ideas and resolve project issues. The IT staff is also excited that Lync Online combines the capabilities from its Office Communications Online solution and Live Meeting solution into one online service.
Moeller will evaluate the experience of this initial deployment group to determine when and how the rest of the organization will move to Office 365. Moeller says, “We will test the full-fidelity hybrid features between Exchange Server and Exchange Online that are only possible with Microsoft. This flexibility gives us a choice in how we plan our transition to the cloud.” For example, Sartorius may decide to move all of its European employees to Office 365, while upgrading its on-premises messaging solution to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 for employees working in regions with slower network connections, like China. In addition, the company will also consider Microsoft SharePoint Online, also part of Office 365, as a future option to help with team collaboration.Benefits
Sartorius believes its business and its employees can benefit from the improved communication tools hosted in Office 365. The IT staff also anticipates that it can avoid spending time on server administration and deployment efforts, while providing the global organization with a standard solution for messaging and communications.
Reduce IT Administration
By moving to Office 365 hosted services, the IT staff expects that it can significantly reduce the amount of time it spends on administration and server deployments. This will allow the IT staff to focus on other projects for the business, like addressing poor network bandwidth at offices in China. Moeller says, “Microsoft will take care of much of the administration, such as server maintenance, backups, and upgrades, so we focus on other opportunities for the company.”
Decrease Complexities and Improve Productivity with IT Standardization
Standardizing IT systems is important for Sartorius to decrease IT complexities and costs, but it also helps ensure application compatibility, which improves employee productivity and reduces IT support calls. The company can ensure its employees are all working in the same cloud-based services with Office 365. Moeller says, “Office 365 can help us reach our goal of standardization of IT systems worldwide.”
Increase Flexibility and Agility
Employees will take advantage of new capabilities much sooner because Microsoft upgrades Office 365 services throughout the year. Moeller says, “Global deployments of on-premises solutions would take us months. With Office 365, our employees will not have to wait to benefit from the latest messaging and communication capabilities.”
Provide Better Communication Tools
With Exchange Online and Outlook 2010, employees will enjoy larger mailboxes and improved email and calendar management tools. With Lync Online, it will be first time all employees are equipped to communicate from within familiar Office 2010 applications with presence indicators and instant messaging. Plus, with audio and video conferencing tools in Lync Online, employees everywhere can communicate more efficiently, which will help to reduce travel costs. Moeller says, “Worldwide, our employees will benefit from faster and easier communications in many of our business processes.”
IT staff also anticipates providing messaging capabilities to all employees. These employees can be easily added to the Office 365 service. Moeller says, “With the flexibility of Exchange Online coexisting with Exchange Server, we have more options to determine what is best for our business. Either way, we expect full access to these messaging and communication tools to boost employee productivity.”
With a move to Office 365, Sartorius expects to improve communications for its global workforce while reducing administration costs of its on-premise IT infrastructure.
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.
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