IT firm expects to lower operating costs, boost revenue with online PC management
IT services provider Care Micro wanted to expand its offerings to include a simple, affordable PC management tool. The company selected Windows Intune, an all-in-one, cloud-based PC management and security solution. By using Windows Intune, Care Micro expects to increase online services revenue by as much as 20 per cent within three years, exponentially increase IT efficiency, reduce operating costs by 15 per cent, and simplify IT operations.
Since 1992, Care Micro has grown to become one of the leading providers of online solutions in the United Kingdom. The North Yorkshire-based company currently supports more than 25 customers who rely on Microsoft Online Services, such as the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite-a collection of collaboration and communication tools designed to help boost productivity. Care Micro, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, has used these cloud-based services to help customers work together in more efficient and cost-effective ways, and realised that it needed a similar solution to simplify PC management.
"In the past, there really wasn’t an affordable PC management solution for businesses with limited IT resources,” says Craig Marsden, Technical Sales Manager at Care Micro. “On-premises solutions can place a severe strain on our customers’ resources. We wanted to find an alternative solution for them."
Many of the company’s customers also relied on third-party security solutions, making it difficult for Care Micro to assess the overall health of PCs within each company. “It was challenging and time consuming to switch between tools for PC management and security monitoring,” Marsden says. "We had a dedicated employee who spent nearly five hours a day on these tasks. We wanted to find a single solution that could show status and security information simultaneously."
We’ve already reduced costs by moving to the cloud and, with Windows Intune, that savings continues to increase. … We expect that using Windows Intune will help us save up to 15 per cent in operating costs.
Craig Marsden, Technical Sales Manager, Care Micro
Customers also expressed interest in upgrading to the Windows 7 operating system; however, many were not ready for a companywide deployment. “Our customers wanted Windows 7, but cash flow was often an issue,” says Marsden. “And they were wary of upgrading only a few PCs at a time, as that could make their IT environments even more complex."
To address these challenges, Care Micro selected Windows Intune, a cloud-based solution that delivers PC management and security features via a standard Internet connection using a browser enabled with Microsoft Silverlight. Because Windows Intune is web-based, Care Micro has immediate visibility into the health of all managed PCs, and can easily provide remote assistance to customers-all from a single, easy-to-use console.
Windows Intune is a subscription-based solution and includes upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise, as well as endpoint protection built on the same Microsoft Malware Protection Engine used by the Microsoft Forefront Protection Suite. “Upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise can help standardise a customer’s IT environment, which further reduces the time and effort required to manage PCs,” Marsden explains. Care Micro believes customers will also benefit from the enhanced security features included with Windows 7, such as BitLocker Drive Encryption technology and BitLocker To Go for removable storage devices.
Because it is cloud-based, Windows Intune does not require the costly and time-consuming setup and maintenance typically associated with on-premises PC management tools, and it can easily scale to handle changing workloads. “With Windows Intune, we are able to offer an attractive combination of lower operational costs, less time dedicated to IT support, and simplified and more secure IT operations,” says Marsden. “In short, the solution is cost-effective, time-efficient, and scalable in a way that simply was not possible before.”
By using Windows Intune, Care Micro expects to gain the following benefits:
Expanded customer reach. increased revenue. By offering Windows Intune alongside its other cloud-based offerings, Care Micro can deliver more services to existing clients-while also attracting new ones. “By adding Windows Intune to our offerings, we can cross-sell cloud-based PC management with other Microsoft Online Services,” Marsden says. “This gives us a tremendous opportunity to deliver more services to existing clientele and offer a variety of solutions that reach new customers-all without increasing our overhead. Currently our revenue from online services makes up 15 to 20 per cent of our total revenue, and-thanks to Windows Intune-we expect that to grow to 30 to 35 per cent within the next three years.”
Increased efficiency. By using Windows Intune, Care Micro can support more customers without adding infrastructure or hiring more employees. “Our efficiency has skyrocketed,” Marsden says. “Previously, our five IT administrators could manage 100 sites, but by using Windows Intune we estimate that we can manage 5,000 sites with the same five employees. Also, the employee previously dedicated to monitoring and management has gained two-thirds of his day back and can spend that time on higher-value tasks. The fact that we can support more customers with the same infrastructure is a massive benefit. In my opinion, this solution is a huge opportunity for partners to deliver more services to customers without increasing their costs.”
Reduced costs. Care Micro expects that by using Windows Intune, the company will be able to downsize its physical operations while continuing to support rapid business growth. The company has reached maximum capacity in its current location, but rather than moving to a larger facility, Care Micro is considering relocating to a smaller office. “Employees can work just as effectively from remote locations when using Windows Intune and the Business Productivity Online Standard Suite,” says Marsden. “We’ve already reduced costs by moving to the cloud and, with Windows Intune, that savings continues to increase. Long term, we expect that using Windows Intune will help us save up to 15 per cent in operating costs.”
Simplified IT operations. A Windows Intune subscription includes upgrade rights to Windows 7 Enterprise, and Care Micro uses this benefit as an incentive to help customers simplify their IT environments. “Our customers are excited to standardise their IT environment by upgrading to Windows 7 Enterprise,” Marsden says. “It’s easier to stay on top of updates and manage PCs when you only need to focus on one operating system, and our customers get the added benefit of a more stable, highly secure operating system.”