2 page Case Study - Posted 6/6/2012
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A&N Media Uses Cloud Collaboration Suite for Round-the-Clock News Gathering
As part of a three-year strategy to move its infrastructure to the cloud, A&N Media chose to deploy Microsoft Office 365. The first phase of the deployment was to 2,800 users at Northcliffe Media, with other companies to be migrated within the
next few years. Office 365 was chosen after a thorough evaluation of competing solutions, meeting the organisation’s criteria for reliability, performance, and flexibility.
The A&N Media publishing portfolio encompasses a range of popular print and online news titles in the United Kingdom (U.K.), including The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and free newspapers Metro and the Evening Standard. Mail Online is the most successful
English-language news website in the world, attracting 77 million unique visitors each month. Northcliffe Media handles the majority of the corporation’s 103 regional print and web news titles, and provides comprehensive digital classified advertising services.
A&N Media employs around 7,000 staff in the U.K. and overseas, and the company’s IT systems must support round-the-clock global news gathering. David Henderson, Chief Information Officer, A&N Media, says: “Publishing has changed massively in the last 10
years. Our websites attract 100 million users each month and there’s always a demand for the latest news, so we employ many journalists who create a lot of content. It’s a challenging environment and our staff are highly mobile—researching, editing, and publishing
articles wherever they’re working from and on whatever device.”
The company supports content created on different devices and operating systems. “We tell people they can bring in their Windows or Apple Mac laptops, their tablet PCs, or whatever devices they like from home. Our main IT challenge is to make that possible,”
His second challenge is to accommodate users’ expectations of performance. “Our journalists need the tools to publish content 24 hours a day, seven days a week from wherever they are in the world,” says Henderson.
A&N Media researched the market for potential cloud solutions, but only Microsoft Office 365, which brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online, met its criteria. Henderson says: “We trialled several collaboration
and email systems, but our users preferred Office 365 functionality. It worked well with lots of different devices, including iPhone devices—better than anything else we tested. Integration with the on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM system was particularly
important for the sales and marketing team. Office 365 also met our technical and business requirements for flexibility and lower operating costs.”
Northcliffe Media journalists use email to write and publish their stories. “The 25 gigabyte mailboxes for Exchange Online are crucial because our journalists write most content in an email,” says Henderson. “All users found that the search speed in Exchange
Online was faster than other solutions.”
Initially, the organisation deployed Office 365 to the 2,800 employees at Northcliffe Media. The multimedia business—with a print readership of 5.8 million and more than 4 million online users—was a good place to start. Microsoft Services partnered with
A&N Media to migrate user mailboxes. Microsoft also worked alongside the IT team at A&N Media to prepare its business desk and IT administration processes. Sheena Pabari, Project Manager, A&N Media says: “Microsoft Services was incredibly supportive. Through
knowledge share sessions we learnt a lot that we can apply to our future cloud deployments.”
The Microsoft Office 365 deployment at Northcliffe Media supports round-the-clock news gathering. The IT and development teams can focus on delivering new products to market quickly in a cost-efficient, reliable, and high-performing cloud infrastructure.
Reliable, accessible cloud service increases competitiveness. Henderson says: “Our users have high expectations. With Microsoft Office 365, they can research, create, and publish content 24 hours a day, wherever they are in the world.”
New products go to market quickly. The A&N Media team can deliver better business value by spending more time on innovation rather than maintenance and platform upgrades. Henderson says: “By moving our core business platform to the cloud,
we’re letting experts run those services for us, so we can do what we do best, which is publish great content and news.”
Total cost of ownership is reduced. A&N Media purchased Office 365 on a per-user basis. This purchase model—combined with improved resourcing and less routine maintenance and upgrade work—contribute to lowering the cost of ownership compared
to running the same solutions on-premises.
Deployment consultancy services support fast, seamless migration. The rollout to Northcliffe Media users was achieved within the tight timescale demanded by A&N Media. Paul Kelly, Office 365 Sales Executive, Microsoft, says: “Microsoft Services
drew on its experience of Office 365 best practice migrations to help A&N Media prepare and migrate to the cloud.”
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