Microsoft helps high-profile women’s health charity realise ‘anywhere working’
By Emma Pinker, Digital & Branding Manager, Wellbeing of Women
"Celebrating our 50th anniversary next year, Wellbeing of Women is the charity dedicated to improving the health of women and babies. Every year, we invest in special research projects and allocate funds towards the training of specialist doctors and midwives, which will have a huge impact in the UK and translational benefits to healthcare across the world. We’re generously supported by many celebrity ambassadors and over the last 50 years, we’ve enabled many of the major breakthroughs in obstetrics and gynaecology.
A year ago, we were running the charity from within a larger organisation and relying on an IT infrastructure ‘on loan’ from the building in which we were based. We had been given use of their IT infrastructure for emails, applications and document management. However, it was quite old and we just didn’t have the service and capability we needed - quite often we'd have to stop working at 4.30 in the afternoon because of the system reliability! We were limited to 1GB mailboxes and our network was littered with archived PST files. Also, as we rely on donations, we are always out and about meeting new sponsors and customers and were really struggling to support mobile working. We needed to be much more autonomous and adopt a solution that would allow us to seamlessly migrate from our buildings infrastructure as well as supporting our mobility issues. We wanted an IT infrastructure that would support our plans for the future and support the growth of the charity.
We chose Office 365 because we felt a cloud solution would give us the reliability and availability we needed right away, but also the breadth of applications to help as the charity progresses. Our IT partner, Cloudamour, advised us on the right mix of cloud services for us and led us on a 7 month migration journey; firstly moving email to the cloud to help with the data storage challenges we’d been experiencing; then transitioning across to the full Office 365 suite; and finally moving our business applications, including our contact database, onto Azure in April 2013.
Most of the time, I am out of the office meeting existing and new sponsors and as a team we clock up hundreds of meetings each week. With Office 365 in place I am always connected - I can access my emails, view and edit documents and stay connected wherever I am. My speed of working and responsiveness has rocketed because if things arise when I’m out, I can send a quick-fire response and am not wasting time catching up on emails when I get back to my desk.
Office 365 is so straightforward - we've all picked it up straight away and there's been no need for training. We love the new features and the ability to work on the same documents - we don’t run into versioning issues, can change content quickly and get work finished faster. And Microsoft Lync is a real revelation for us! With instant messaging and presence I can get answers to questions much quicker without filling up inboxes. I can connect with large groups of people without having to worry about whether the system will seize up. This helps me be much more responsive and keep in touch with the people who matter.
The real test came in May 2013, when we relocated to new offices on Oxford Street, London. It took 2 weeks for our ADSL to be connected, but we continued to work at pace as we had Office 365! Simply with our smartphones and 4G laptop dongles, we could access email and work on documents seamlessly! It was a very frenetic time but Office 365 really helped us keep the charity up and running.
Office 365 does everything it promises and makes life easier for everyone at the charity. It’s reliable, it supports the way we need to work, and it’s easy, speedy and straightforward - all really good things! In the last year, I’d say we've gone from 'zero to hero,' and it’s really good to know we are on an up-to-date system and at the forefront of what Microsoft has to offer - with great quality, fast applications. We definitely couldn’t function without it!"
For more information on Wellbeing of Women, please visit www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk
For more information regarding Cloudamour, please visit www.cloudamour.com