Events and hospitality company iLUKA will increase its staff from around 116 to more than 1,000 for the London 2012 Olympic Games, with each employee requiring access to email and applications. The firm also
needs to comply with its clients’ demanding IT requirements. Through cloud-based Microsoft Office 365, iLUKA can pay for software on a per-person, per-month basis. The company will cut its software licencing costs by tens of thousands of pounds, ensure enterprise
levels of security and availability, and reduce the IT team’s workload by decommissioning redundant email servers.
Events management company iLUKA arranges corporate hospitality and events for some of the world’s biggest banking, oil, and pharmaceutical companies at big sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup.
While the core company is made up of around 116 people, for a big event such as the London 2012 Olympic Games, staff numbers will rise to more than 1,000. Each
employee needs access to the company email system, and the ability to work on documents using Microsoft Office applications such as Word and Excel.
This presents a financial challenge for iLUKA. Buying conventional software licences outright is expensive if they’re needed for just one or two months. It also means that the company has to scale its email servers quickly to cope with significantly increased
levels of traffic. In addition, the firm’s large clients expect it to have enterprise-level IT systems, demanding the highest standards of security, reliability, and resilience. This is especially the case for big sporting events, where companies are spending
tens of millions of pounds on sponsorship.
They can’t afford the reputational damage that a technical issue might cause, even if it happens down in the supply chain. Tim Chapman, IT Director at iLUKA, says: “We needed our data to be secure, and we had to keep risk to a minimum.”
Microsoft Office 365 was the answer to both challenges. The company decided to switch from on-premises servers to Microsoft Office 365 to provide email for its staff. It also gives each user a licence for Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010.
Being Microsoft software, it delivers enterprise-class security and availability with multiple data centres, best practice security, and a 99.9 per cent uptime guarantee.
With Office 365, iLUKA can add hundreds of users and pay for the software on a per-user, per-month basis. This means it can add employees as needed to support larger events, paying for their email and Office software while they’re working, and then delete their
accounts once they leave.
The company also uses Microsoft Lync 2010 and the Active Directory service, running on the company’s own servers. This required a technically-demanding hybrid deployment. Fortunately, Microsoft Partner AIMS Online Services was there to help. Although it specialises
in supporting other partners, IT companies sometimes refer complex problems like this to the firm. “I couldn’t have done it without AIMS,” says Chapman. “The deployment has been very successful. AIMS let us know what was going on, but we didn’t have to get
involved in the details.”
For iLUKA, there were four main benefits.
Enterprise-class infrastructure. With the reputation, technology, and commitment of Microsoft, iLUKA and its clients can be confident that they’re getting a reliable, secure, well-managed service.
Significant savings. Office 365, including a licence for Office Professional Plus 2010 costs about £15 (U.S.$23) a month, but a licence for Office 2010 alone is around £300 to £400. With hundreds of temporary employees for
the Olympic Games, iLUKA is saving thousands of pounds with Office 365.
Fewer on-premises servers. Office 365 has allowed the company to decommission seven servers. At a cost of between £8,000 and £9,000 each, including software, this is a significant saving.
Reduced workload for IT department. Office 365 is easier to administer because there are no servers to manage and keep up to date. It’s also simple to organise user licences from the Office 365 control panel,
and there’s less paperwork involved.
“Our objectives were to lessen risk within the business, cut costs during the Olympic Games, and meet our clients’ IT standards,” says Chapman. “Office 365 has delivered everything we expected. It’s been a significant win for our company.”
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