2 page Case Study - Posted 4/22/2013
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Shipping Firm Cuts Costs and Improves Productivity by Implementing a Cloud Solution
As members of a newly-established company, employees at Element Shipmanagement needed to have access to their email, calendar, and contacts across multiple devices without spending time, effort, and budget on building and maintaining a local
IT infrastructure. By implementing a cloud-based solution using Exchange Online, the company was able to meet its business needs on time and within budget.
A spin-off of a larger company, Element Shipmanagement is in the business of managing container vessels all over the world. In practice this means being responsible for vessel maintenance and all equipment, crew assignment, purchase of supplies, provision
of security, as well as financial control such as operational expenses and budgeting.
The employees needed to be able to communicate to their customers quickly and be accessible round-the-clock. In order to do this, it was critical that they have access to their emails, contacts, and calendars at all times with the option of using different
||Because of Exchange Online, we can access our email, calendar, and contacts anytime, anywhere using multiple, connected devices. This enables us to respond faster to our customer needs and provide better service – all at a fraction
of the cost of a desktop solution.
| Alexandros Lemonidis
Element Shipmanagement S.A.
“When I was in the process of assessing our business requirements, it was made clear to me that the company did not want to invest heavily into hardware, maintenance, and ongoing support. We needed a solution that would be cost effective, highly available,
user friendly, and require little or no employee training. On top of that, it had to be deployed and ready for use within a few days,” explains George Bougiakas, who works as an IT specialist at Element Shipmanagement.
There were two possible options for the company: to deploy a solution locally or move to the cloud. Taking into account company requirements, as well as the desired timeframe for deployment, Element Shipmanagement decided to deploy Exchange Online, a hosted
Although there are a number of email hosting solutions available on the market, Element Shipmanagement decided to implement Exchange Online.
Since employees had been using Microsoft Exchange locally at their former company prior to the spinoff, Element Shipmanagement wanted to ensure that the transition would be an easy one for them. The company also did not want to incur productivity losses
as a result of having to train employees to use a new solution.
“One of the primary reasons we decided to deploy Exchange Online was because our users have been using Microsoft solutions for many years, and they are familiar and comfortable with them,” says Alexandros Lemonidis, GM of the company.
To ensure the implementation would go smoothly, the company engaged the services of Active Computer Systems (ACS), a Microsoft Certified Partner. ACS helped the company purchase a plan as well as a domain, create email addresses for all employees, configure
their computers, and run tests to ensure that email was arriving to their inboxes.
The Exchange Online deployment was simple and straightforward, and it took just one weekend for setup and testing. By the time employees arrived on their first day at work at the spinoff company, everything was ready for them. “Employee feedback has been
extremely positive. I do not believe they even noticed their data was now in the cloud!” comments Bougiakas.
Company management is pleased with the results as well. “Because of Exchange Online, we can access our email, calendar, and contacts anytime, anywhere using multiple, connected devices. This enables us to respond faster to our customer needs and provide
better service – all at a fraction of the cost of a desktop solution,” says Lemonidis.
Implementing Microsoft Exchange Online has proven to be highly beneficial for the company, providing it with a powerful, scalable, and cost-efficient solution with several times lower operational costs.
Lower Hardware and Maintenance Costs
Having moved company email to the cloud, the firm no longer needs to buy hardware infrastructure or software licenses for its employees. This has translated into significant savings in capital expenditure for the company.
“We had reserved an initial budget of several thousand Euros to deploy a local solution. However by moving to the cloud, this costly budget is no longer required, and our CFO is quite pleased with this outcome,” explains Lemonidis.
Being able to access their data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, has given employees the flexibility they need. Because the company manages container ships around the world, it is important that their employees have access to their email anytime and anywhere;
especially if a situation develops that requires their immediate attention.
“As our employees now have access to their email anytime and anywhere, this means that even if our local telecommunication provider’s system is down and our landline is cut off, we can still access our data using a GSM modem, by logging in through a hotspot,
or even by visiting an internet café,” emphasizes Lemonidis.
Prevention against Data Vulnerability and Loss
Data security is a major concern for Element Shipmanagement as the company handles sensitive business data from many clients. So the fact that the data is hosted at a remote location, maintained by proven experts and protected with the most up-to-date solutions
has left the company’s management fully satisfied.
“Knowing that our company data is safe and secure in the cloud has given our employees and clients peace of mind,” says Lemonidis. The data in the cloud is backed up regularly using multiple servers, which ensures that all employee emails, calendars, and
contacts are safe, secure, and can be restored quickly if needed.
One objective was to be able to provide IT support to the company without creating an IT department or having an IT specialist onsite. By choosing Microsoft Exchange Online services, IT support is now provided remotely to the company and its users.
The company chose the Exchange Online Plan 1, which is a price plan that met their business requirements and budget.
“Since the company has 10 employees, paying US$4 per month/per user is a bargain compared to the budget that we would have otherwise spent, had we decided to implement a local solution,” concludes Lemonidis.
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