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How ISM Boosted Sales by 25% by moving to Microsoft Cloud

Driving School Improves Customer Service & Lowers Costs considerably with Microsoft Office 365

Published: November 2012

Because of the Office 365 'pay as you go' model, there's no major capital acquisition, there are no servers, and we get the uptime, support and security that comes with a Microsoft infrastructure investment. Niall Prenty, Program Manager – Business Solutions, Irish School of Motoring


  • Enabled ISM to Grow the Business & expand to over 120 franchises
  • Reduced Administration for every Instructor by 5-10 hours per week
  • Increased Value for Students - Instructors time focused on students not admin
  • Decreased Overall IT Expenditures utilising 'pay as you go' model
  • Reduced risk for company with Microsoft support & security


The Irish School of Motoring (ISM) is a 100% family owned business founded in 1961, and is Ireland's longest established and only nationwide driving school. ISM had been operating from a number of retail locations around Ireland, and employed all its driving instructors directly. Instructor schedules and learner bookings were managed from multiple locations using a paper-based system that was both labour-intensive and error-prone. Instructors each maintained their own schedules with their own systems (often paper-based calendars or notebooks), making it difficult to track last-minute changes leading to errors and missed appointments.

The company's goal was to go fully nationwide but realised that its business model and systems would not support their growth strategy. A key challenge for ISM was that their instructors, who teach driving every day, are by their very nature the epitome of mobile workers. ISM realised that by implementing a centralised, cloud-based approach to bookings and scheduling, it could improve customer service and employee satisfaction, decrease costs, and increase revenue.

To accomplish this, the company decided to set up a National Customer Call Centre and change its business structure to an Instructor Franchise model. A key supporting element of this approach was the development of a proprietary booking system based on Microsoft cloud and Exchange mobile technology, providing instructors and pupils with up-to-the-minute schedule information and alerts on their smartphones, tablets and home pcs. Future plans include launching Ireland's first online booking engine for driving lessons, which will make it even easier for a learner to find an ISM instructor in their area, allowing them to book and manage their own lessons.


Converting from decentralised, paper-based scheduling to a centralised, mobile, real-time solution was an ideal fit with Microsoft Office 365, an online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions. Through their IT partner Nostra Systems, ISM used Exchange 2007 for headquarters staff's email, so it was a natural progression to move to an Exchange-based mobile platform to push calendars to instructors on their smart phones or via computer if their phone is not available.

With real-time, mobile scheduling, ISM has saved money for reinvestment into other areas of the business. ISM has also grown to more than 100 franchisees. "We have enhanced our competitive edge by offering instructors an innovative technological solution to managing their business, critical in attracting and retaining franchisees. Our instructors appreciate the technology, security, and peace of mind they get from being able to access their schedule no matter where they are," said Karl Walsh, Managing Director of ISM.

By building a low cost, robust, and scalable solution, Prenty believes that the future is very bright for the Irish School of Motoring. "We initially focused on pupil and instructor needs, and by building our solution around those needs, we now have an offering that will fit into other driving schools. There is opportunity for us to not only attract more Irish customers to ISM, but to provide a 'Software as a Service' offering in partnership with Microsoft to other driver schools worldwide."

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products - Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online - with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:

For more information about Nostra Systems products and services, visit the website at:

For more information about Irish School of Motoring products and services, visit the website at:

About Microsoft in Ireland:

The Irish Sales, Services and Marketing Operation of Microsoft was established in 1991. The full-time team market all Microsoft products and services in the island of Ireland, targeting customers both North and South. The team services customers across all segments including enterprise, small and medium sized businesses and home computer users. In addition to developing desktop products, Microsoft provides tailored consultancy services and solutions to suit enterprise businesses. Microsoft is continuing to concentrate on its relationship with the Irish enterprise market - the top 100 companies in the island of Ireland. Enterprise customers of Microsoft include the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Civil Service Commission, Dublin.
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