Slovenian Steel Group (SIJ) and its six affiliate companies had separate IT departments and maintained different email systems. Managing such a vast IT infrastructure was drawing resources away from core business activities. SIJ and its affiliates
migrated their IT systems to Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based service, enabling them to focus on their core business activities, improve communications, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.
With total production volume of over 560,000 tonnes of steel products and annual sales of about US$1bn, Slovenian Steel Group (Slovenska Industrija Jekla or SIJ) is one of the largest companies in Slovenia. SIJ plays a key role in Slovenia’s economic development,
exporting 85 percent of its production and employing more than 3,300 people.
The company comprises six metallurgical enterprises spread across multiple locations. SIJ and its affiliate companies employed in-house IT staff and had several IT systems using different platforms, creating a mixed environment of Microsoft Exchange Server
and open source solutions. This situation led to issues with interoperability, high maintenance costs, and communication inefficiencies. It also drew valuable resources away from essential activities which are driving the business. The fact that the production
locations are scattered in different parts of the country only emphasized the need for an efficient and a reliable platform for enterprise-wide communication.
“We saw a need to consolidate our IT systems, unify our communication infrastructure, be better connected, and create a platform for collaborative work. We also needed to focus more on our core business activities,” says Boris Horvat, Chief Information Officer
at Slovenian Steel Group. “Unless it was really necessary, the company did not want to allocate resources on non-core business activities,” he adds. Being a Microsoft customer, SIJ turned to Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) for advice on how to address
these business priorities.
||“We saw a need to consolidate our IT systems, unify our communication infrastructure, be better connected and create a platform for collaborative work. We also wanted to focus on our core business activities. By shifting to Office
365, we are now able to focus on core business activities.”
| Boris Horvat
Chief Information Officer
Slovenian Steel Group
After careful consideration of all SIJ’s requests for improvement of business processes, primarily communication, MCS suggested Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based platform that brings together business email, shared calendars, instant messaging, video conferencing,
file sharing, and Microsoft Office desktop applications on PC’s throughout the company.
Besides all the elements of the Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan, the complete software upgrade at SIJ also included SharePoint Online for enterprise content management, and Lync Online for extended communication and conferencing features.
The implications of a massive and widespread migration of the current on-premise solution, in use by SU and its affiliate companies, to cloud-based services were assessed in detail by the management of SIJ. This included a thoughtful consideration of security
and trust issues over the migration from an on-premise IT infrastructure to online services.
Addressing those concerns, MCS pointed to the robust enterprise-grade security of Office 365, which was designed for reliability and security. Upgrades would also be provided by Microsoft continuously, at no additional cost. With MCS as quality assurance
architect and project manager, SIJ and its affiliates proceeded to migrate to Office 365 and the cloud. KOPA, a Slovenian computer engineering company and long-standing partner of SIJ, was selected to deploy Office 365. KOPA has over 30 years of experience
in providing complete information systems solutions to top companies in Slovenia and Eastern Europe.
“The project, which involved preparing the IT infrastructure, limited testing, and migration to the cloud, was rolled out in phases across SIJ and its affiliates within one month. Ultimately, the migration to Office 365 affected more than 1,100 employees,”
explains Tomaž Valjavec, Solution Sales Specialist at Microsoft.
The adoption of Office 365 has enabled the SU to focus on its core business activities, improve communications, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.
Streamlined IT Operations
“By shifting to Office 365, we are now able to focus on core business activities that provide direct value to our business and customers, as well as give our business a competitive advantage,” says Horvat. “As well, we no longer have to invest too much time
and resources on setting up email accounts and managing our IT infrastructure,” he adds.
Decrease in Infrastructure Costs
Migrating to Office 365 also lowered IT infrastructure costs. Instead of maintaining multiple IT systems and staff across its various businesses and locations, SIJ was able to centralize its IT infrastructure with Office 365. The move to the cloud translated
into direct savings in hardware, maintenance, and staff costs.
Improved Company Communications
“With Office 365 we gained a platform which offers improved communication, and this enabled us to be better connected,” explains Horvat. Exchange Online provided the infrastructure for email, calendars, and contacts, while Lync Online enabled online meetings
and video conferencing. This capability was crucial, given the multiple offices of SIJ and its affiliates, whose staff typically travelled from one office to another. It also boosted its sales and marketing capabilities by enabling constant and reliable communication
among SIJ staff.
Office 365 also enhanced productivity at SIJ and its affiliate companies, not only by improving communication, but by establishing a platform for collaborative work. In particular, SharePoint Online enabled SIJ employees to centralize files and documents,
share them with each other, as well as with partners and customers. By this they are reducing the costs of travel and communication, ensuring they always have the latest information, which is crucial for daily operations, and are also reducing costs for storage
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