Restaurant brand YO! Sushi was determined to find a cost-effective way to replace its on-premises messaging solutions. With the help of Information Management Group (IMGROUP), it adopted Microsoft Office 365, which delivers Office applications
through the cloud. Today, employees collaborate securely from anywhere using an always-on service, while the annual costs of replacing and running the company’s on-premises systems are cut by 40 per cent.
YO! Sushi has brought authentic Japanese food to customers since it opened in 1997. Its first restaurants were based in London, in the United Kingdom (U.K.), but YO! Sushi has since become an iconic sushi brand across the country and worldwide. Today, it
serves 4 million customers a year from more than 60 restaurants.
YO! Sushi takes pride in its modern image, tempting customers with quality sushi and Japanese dishes using an innovative conveyor-belt system. The organisation aspires to apply this clean, seamless approach to all elements of the business. Today, U.K.-based
operations are spread across the country, so YO! Sushi relies on its state-of-the-art communications technology to support 150 users. These include restaurant managers, operations managers, and administrative employees.
As the only dedicated IT staff member, Billy Waters, IT Manager at YO! Sushi, is under pressure to ensure the organisation’s infrastructure offers always-on solutions that can be managed efficiently. But by 2011, Waters was concerned that the company’s Microsoft
Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Office 2003 environments were not running as they should. He says: “Our hardware was reaching the end of its life cycle. We were close to our data volume limits, and the system simply could not sustain our rate of growth
or performance needs.”
Meanwhile, YO! Sushi managers had requested additional tools, such as an intranet, to aid their day-to-day operations. They wanted to offer the rapidly growing workforce a central information portal, which would help people collaborate. But Waters knew that
the necessary hardware replacements and software upgrades would require substantial investment. “We were convinced there was a more cost-effective, and efficient alternative to a room full of servers,” he says.
Waters examined three possible options. He says: “The first was to replace our on-premises environment with new hardware running Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, which we’d support in-house. Second, we considered hosting our own server in an external data
centre. The third possibility was Office 365.”
IMGROUP is Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year in business intelligence and data management, a title it has held for four years. Its IT consulting experts showed YO! Sushi how Microsoft Office 365—which offers familiar Microsoft Office collaboration
and productivity tools delivered through the cloud—could meet its needs. Jeremy Neal, Head of Online Services, IMGROUP, says: “We knew that YO! Sushi could cut costs with Office 365.”
Waters says: “The IMGROUP proposal appealed to us because the more we looked into the benefits of Microsoft Office 365, the more we realised that it could have been tailor-made for us. It was considerably less expensive than the alternatives, easier to manage,
and removed our business continuity and disaster recovery concerns.”
As an early adopter of Office 365, YO! Sushi is finding new ways to take advantage of the technology. Already, users can access email, contacts, calendars, and documents from any location or using their mobile devices while travelling between offices or
restaurants. Meanwhile, Waters can rely on a 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee from Microsoft, while remaining in control of user accounts, deployment, and access using the Office 365 administration console.
Office 365 comes with Microsoft SharePoint Online for file sharing, collaboration, and document management. This gives YO! Sushi a ready-made platform for its intranet, which Waters plans to develop. “The My Site functionality in SharePoint Online will give
employees in the more remote restaurants the information they need to identify their colleagues at head office, search for contacts, or find how-to guides,” says Waters.
Microsoft Office 365 gives YO! Sushi predictable, annual IT costs, while employees benefit from the latest versions of software. “Expert support from IMGROUP has ensured a seamless transition to the cloud,” says Waters. “With Office 365, we can provide consistent
IT services to users whether they’re accessing their documents or emails from head office, a remote restaurant, or their mobile devices.”
Organisation expects 40 per cent savings. Waters says: “The move to Office 365 will save us around 40 per cent of the costs we’d otherwise incur installing and running new on-premises servers each year. We will also avoid the ongoing expense
of replacing the servers every five years.” In addition, he says that YO! Sushi will save around £200 a year in licensing costs for email alone, because each user licence allows installation on up to five computers.
User access is seamless and secure. Office 365 offers secure Internet access using industry-standard encryption, and antivirus and antispam solutions. Users sign in to all their Office 365 services using a single logon and password. “Employees
don’t have to connect to a virtual private network,” says Waters. “We can comply with strict banking requirements around handling transactional information and still improve the user experience.”
Management burden is eased. Waters still has control over the system, but day-to-day issues are taken care of. “I’m confident that users will receive an always-on service,” he says. “Office 365 scales to meet our needs, so I’m no longer
concerned that adding new users will affect memory space and processing power.”
Solution inspires future cloud opportunities. “It’s not complicated to combine on-premises technologies with hosted systems,” says Waters. “Our goal is to move all our systems online. Office 365 has demonstrated to us that it makes good
business sense to use the cloud for all of our IT operations in future.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.