Eligeo IT needed to reduce operating costs while still delivering high-quality service to clients. After experiencing persistent problems with Google Apps, the company switched to Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Now, because staff can be more productive from practically any location, Eligeo IT no longer needs to maintain its physical office space, resulting in estimated savings of CDN$15,000 (U.S.$15,553) a year.
Eligeo IT prides itself on its responsiveness to clients. Says Derek Major, the company’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, “We differentiate ourselves from other IT services firms by focusing on developing long-term client relationships.” And it shows. Roughly 90 percent of the company’s sales are the direct result of referrals from existing clients.
This consultative, hands-on approach means that Major and his colleagues spend most of their time away from the office. While working remotely, they depend on access to email messages, contact lists, and project documentation. From its founding, the company relied on Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003, in conjunction with Microsoft Office 2007 applications, to gain the functionality it needed.
To reduce internal costs, Eligeo IT wanted to move away from sourcing and maintaining IT infrastructure. Major also anticipated the growing importance of cloud computing, both for the company’s own operations and as a way to meet the needs of clients.
In November 2009, Eligeo IT adopted Google Apps for Business, which includes Google Mail (Gmail), Google Docs, and Google Sites. The company intended to use Google Apps in conjunction with the client versions of Microsoft Office, including the Microsoft Outlook messaging and collaboration client.
Over the next 14 months, Eligeo IT experienced a number of difficulties with Google Apps. Major explains, “First of all, Gmail didn’t provide the functionality to share contacts. I’d have to send contact details to staff via email. If I was unavailable for some reason, they’d have to wait, which meant we couldn’t be as responsive to our clients or prospects as we needed to be.” Staff also discovered that they often could not find email messages. “The synchronization service through Gmail was totally unreliable,” says Major. “I would need to search through my Gmail account to find missing email messages and then resend them so that I’d have them in Outlook.”
||Simply put: The Microsoft solution works better than Google Apps. Whether I’m on my phone or using my laptop, I can quickly find all the information I need, so I can get more work done.
Chief Executive Officer, Eligeo IT
In addition, Major and his colleagues noted that they repeatedly needed to repair the layout and design of documents that had been edited using Google Docs. Finally, staff found Google Sites difficult to use and lacking familiar time-saving features, such as the ability to move items between folders using drag-and-drop functionality.
Frustrated by the need to continuously mitigate problems with Google Apps, which cost the company time and distracted staff from focusing their efforts on delivering client service, Eligeo IT began searching for an alternative solution.Solution
In February 2011, the company decided to replace Google Apps for Business. Major and his team selected Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a Microsoft Online Services offering. The suite is a set of services-based messaging and collaboration tools that includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Communications Online, and Microsoft Office Live Meeting.
“We needed a solution that works everywhere, that’s simple and cost-effective to maintain, and that’s compatible with the productivity applications we use each day,” says Major. “Because Microsoft Online Services meets all of those criteria, we saw it as a great fit for our business.”
The company appreciates the simplified access to information that the solution delivers. Staff can use a web browser, either on their portable computer or on their mobile device, to sign in to their email account. Major and his colleagues have found that the synchronization between Exchange Online and web and mobile email clients is always fast and reliable, which means they no longer need to search for missing email messages.
Members of the Eligeo IT team also take full advantage of familiar, business-oriented functionality to save time. “Now I can share my contacts, which is crucial to enabling us to stay connected to our clients and follow up on leads in a timely way,” says Major. And they use intuitive tools in SharePoint Online to set up and design sites with ease, and to move content between folders in a matter of seconds. In addition, they can rely on interoperability between SharePoint Online and Microsoft Office productivity applications to ensure standardized document formatting and version control, which helps simplify collaboration.Benefits
By adopting Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, Eligeo IT is experiencing the following benefits:
Greater mobility. Now staff can count on more reliable mobile access to messaging and collaboration functionality, which means they can work with confidence from practically any location. “Simply put: The Microsoft solution works better than Google Apps,” says Major. “Whether I’m on my phone or using my laptop, I can quickly find all the information I need, so I can get more work done.”
Yearly savings of $15,000. Based on the ability of his team to work remotely with greater ease and efficiency, Major has decided to shift to an entirely mobile operation. This strategic move also aligns with the company’s focus on delivering in-person IT support and other services to its clientele. “We’ll save [CDN]$15,000 [U.S.$15,553] a year by eliminating the need to maintain a physical office,” says Major. “We can redirect that savings to continued innovation, so we further our competitive edge.”
New revenue opportunities. Eligeo IT has already experienced increased sales activity by incorporating Microsoft Online Services solutions into its existing offerings. In a single month in early 2011, it helped three new clients migrate to Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, including one that had recently been using Google Apps. “Like us, our client who made the switch from Google Apps is much happier now,” says Major. “The word is spreading that Microsoft has a really strong cloud-based productivity and collaboration solution. We’re able to back up that growing perception with our own great experience using the solution, which has given our sales a tremendous boost.”
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