Admiral Beverage needed to improve the performance and reliability of its messaging infrastructure. After thoroughly testing both Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, it chose the Microsoft solution. In addition to gaining fast, flexible, and highly secure email service at a reduced annual cost, the company’s IT team is now better able to support long-term business growth.
Founded in 1947, Pepsi bottler and distributor Admiral Beverage has experienced near-constant growth over the past six decades. Its headquarters and main production facility are still at the company’s original location, in the shadow of the Big Horn Mountains in Worland, Wyoming. It now has sales and distribution centers in seven states in the western United States.
Geographically dispersed operations and a history of steady growth created several challenges for Admiral Beverage. For several years, the company has relied on aging infrastructure to handle email. However, employees increasingly rely on email to handle critical tasks, such as collaborating on sales quotes and communicating last-minute changes to delivery routes. “Email is mission critical for us; we can’t afford to be without it for any length of time,” says Jim Hill, Director of IT at Admiral Beverage.
||After testing both solutions, it’s clear to us that Microsoft offers a more reliable, secure cloud-based messaging and collaboration solution than Google.
Director of IT, Admiral Beverage
As the company’s use of email grew, Hill and his team fielded a rising number of complaints from employees about poor connectivity, slow data transmission, and email service interruptions. “Employees reported that they had trouble connecting to the email server from a remote location about 50 percent of the time,” says Hill. “When people were connected, they often indicated that their email messages were getting stuck in their Outbox folders.” As a result, IT staff spent up to five hours each week either troubleshooting email problems by phone or providing desk-side support to employees. The company also experienced a growing problem with spam, which occupied storage space on email servers and clogged employees’ inbox folders. To mitigate connectivity problems, the company had invested in redundant digital communication lines and wide area network optimization solutions. To deter unwanted email, it needed to install and maintain spam-filtering and antivirus software.
Executives realized that, to foster continued growth, Admiral Beverage had to improve the reliability and scalability of its communications infrastructure. They also realized the importance of a messaging and collaboration solution that would help the company improve network security while helping to minimize operating costs. Solution
In July 2010, Admiral Beverage concluded a solution search process and began testing Google Apps for Business. The company also began testing Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, a set of service-based messaging and collaboration tools that provide rich capabilities without the need to deploy on-premises software and hardware.
A team of five people from the company’s IT department compared Google Apps for Business with the Microsoft Online Services tools. “We looked closely at a number of factors, including the administrator experience, antivirus and spam-filtering functionality, mailbox size limitations, and the ease of use of the collaboration tools,” says Hill. The company also paid close attention to the accessibility and quality of the technical support that each vendor provided. “We opened up a number of service tickets to compare the responsiveness and follow-through of the support from each vendor,” says Hill.
In August 2010, Admiral Beverage decided to deploy Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Executives placed a priority on migrating mailbox data from the previous messaging environments to Microsoft Exchange Online. Managed Solution, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, first helped Admiral Beverage deploy the solution to 400 employees at the Worland location and then to an additional 100 employees in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In addition to retiring the aging infrastructure that supported its previous messaging environments, Admiral Beverage capitalizes on comprehensive spam filtering and endpoint protection through a single solution.
Going forward, the company plans to deploy Microsoft SharePoint Online to host both its public website and intranet, providing employees with web-based access to collaboration tools. Benefits
By deploying a Microsoft Online Services solution for messaging and collaboration, Admiral Beverage benefits from:
Enhanced speed and reliability of email service. Through its adoption of Microsoft Exchange Online, Admiral Beverage has improved email performance. “Employees have been raving about how quickly they can connect to their email from anywhere without any problems,” says Hill. “From an IT perspective, it makes our lives much easier, too. We are able to deliver fast, reliable email service without having to constantly upgrade and maintain infrastructure to handle redundancy, disaster recovery, and security.”
A projected cost savings of more than $100,000. By eliminating the need for on-premises email servers, redundant communication lines, and separate spam-filtering and antivirus solutions, the company avoided a one-time infrastructure acquisition cost of U.S.$100,000. It also expects to save $12,000 yearly. “Exchange Online gives us a cost-efficient way to scale email service while gaining improved security,” says Hill. “After testing both solutions, it’s clear to us that Microsoft offers a more reliable, secure cloud-based messaging and collaboration solution than Google.”
Greater IT efficiency. As a result of deploying Exchange Online, Hill’s team spends substantially less time responding to service requests related to email. Hill estimates that his team saves five hours each week by eliminating the need to troubleshoot problems with network connectivity and difficulties from spam.
Better vendor support. Executives appreciate the ability to access highly responsive phone-based support through Microsoft and hands-on assistance from Managed Solution. “To feel confident in moving critical applications like email to the cloud, we needed to be comfortable with the technology provider and not just the functionality,” says Hill. “With Google, we were largely on our own. By contrast, Microsoft has shown a commitment to fostering the long-term growth of our business.”
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