With only seven part-time employees and little in-house IT expertise, archery association NHB wanted to simplify its IT environment. When NHB replaced its on-premises collaboration environment with the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, it opted to manage its PCs with Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC-management and security service. NHB now spends less time maintaining its PC environment and has reduced its overall IT costs.
NHB is an amateur archery association based in the Netherlands, with more than 10,000 members in 250 local clubs. With just seven part-time staff and three or four trainers and coaches, NHB publishes a website and a magazine, organizes competitions, and coaches national teams. NHB is working with the Netherlands Olympic Committee to help organize and train a team to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
||Software used to be something that held me back. With Windows Intune, I can now use IT to work with my coaches and volunteers to promote and enhance the sport of archery.
Program Manager, NHB
To help manage its membership, collaborate with partners, and communicate with up to 800 remote volunteers, NHB used Windows Small Business Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, the Windows XP operating system, and Microsoft Office 2007 productivity software. Without an IT staff, NHB relied on an outside provider to help manage its servers, at an average cost of €9,000 (U.S.$13,000) a year. To safeguard its IT environment from malicious software (malware), NHB spent another U.S.$2,900 a year to deploy GFI MailEssentials and Sophos security solutions.
Bas Mooren, Program Manager at NHB, has some IT experience, so he managed the association’s PCs. “I spent about four hours a week on PC issues and malware alerts,” says Mooren. “Then, once a month, I had to research and download updates and make sure everybody was connected to the network so they could install the updates. It was a bit of a hassle.”
When it suffered a power outage in 2010 that damaged its servers, NHB became interested in replacing its on-premises infrastructure with cloud technology—remote computing resources that are delivered as services over the Internet. Working with IT partner Solid IT Solutions, NHB decided to simplify and reduce the cost of its IT environment by adopting the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a package of online messaging and collaboration services.
However, NHB also wanted a solution that it could use to easily monitor, update, and help safeguard its PC environment and that would interoperate well with Business Productivity Online. “The most important thing we wanted was to make everything as simple as possible,” says Mooren.Solution
To achieve the simplicity NHB needed, Solid IT Solutions suggested that it combine Business Productivity Online Standard Suite with Windows Intune, a cloud-based PC-management and security service from Microsoft. In April 2011, NHB worked with Solid IT Solutions to replace staff PCs with new PCs that were equipped with subscriptions to Business Productivity Online and Windows Intune.
“Initially, NHB considered an on-premises upgrade, but Windows Intune is a perfect fit for them,” says Philipp Müller, Cofounder and Director at Solid IT Solutions. “It helps them stay connected to their many volunteers, and it is much simpler for them to manage.”
Although Solid IT Solutions takes care of secondary support and remediation, Mooren still has primary responsibility for managing the NHB computers. However, by using the web-based console in Windows Intune, he can more easily monitor the PCs at NHB. Windows Intune includes endpoint protection that is built on the same Microsoft Malware Protection Engine used by the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite. In addition, Mooren can distribute updates without requiring staff to connect to a network, as long as they use a standard Internet connection and a browser running Microsoft Silverlight.
“From wherever I am, I can log on to Windows Intune, see the status of all our PCs, and address little issues before they become big problems,” says Mooren.
The new PCs at NHB came equipped with Windows 7 Professional, and the association used the option in its Windows Intune subscription to upgrade each PC to Windows 7 Enterprise. NHB also intends to update its collaboration environment from Business Productivity Online to Microsoft Office 365 in late 2011 or early 2012.Benefits
By managing its PCs with Windows Intune, NHB can spend less time maintaining IT and more time promoting archery. The association has also reduced its IT costs and made it easier to plan expenditures and expand its IT capacity.
Simplified IT Environment
Since NHB adopted Windows Intune, Mooren spends less time managing the association’s IT environment. Instead of hours a week, he now spends only a few minutes a day monitoring and updating staff PCs. Because NHB replaced its on-premises infrastructure with Windows Intune and Business Productivity Online, he no longer has to maintain software and servers or worry about the threat of a hardware or software breakdown.
“Software used to be something that held me back,” says Mooren. “With Windows Intune, I can now use IT to work with my coaches and volunteers to promote and enhance the sport of archery.”Reduced IT Costs
To upgrade the association’s on-premises environment and replace its PCs, Solid IT Solutions had estimated a cost of more than U.S.$21,500. When NHB instead opted to use Windows Intune and Business Productivity Online, it reduced that upfront investment by approximately U.S.$14,400, a 66 percent savings.
NHB also anticipates reducing its IT management and maintenance costs. Instead of paying to deploy, manage, and maintain multiple collaboration, PC-management, and security solutions, NHB now pays predictable monthly subscription fees for Windows Intune and Business Productivity Online. As a result, the association expects to reduce its annual IT budget by almost half, from nearly U.S.$16,000 to U.S.$8,600.
“For the first time, we can actually plan our IT budget and add new tools,” says Mooren. “We expect to be able to distribute portable PCs to our coaches and even some volunteers and still enjoy a decrease in costs.”
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