Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Advisers Worldwide is a personal finance consultancy, specializing in handling expatriate financial planning for over 300 customers. Having recently been through a management buyout, the company was looking for a new, e-mail solution that would help the organization improve user efficiency, while delivering the scalability needed to remain competitive in the marketplace. Having experienced a number of issues with the legacy e-mail system, the company wanted to find a reliable solution that would help the organization deliver a high quality service to its customers. After a thorough review of the market and conversations with a number of local IT vendors, Advisers Worldwide decided to deploy Microsoft Exchange Online (part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite). By deploying the cloud based e-mail solution the organization has helped improve scalability, simplified maintenance and improved user productivity.Situation
Operating in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Advisers Worldwide provides financial consultancy to over 300 expatriates worldwide. As a business with only 12 employees the company relies heavily on communication; e-mail and calendar applications were essential in maintaining a high level of service and efficiency within the firm.
Advisers Worldwide recently experienced a management buyout. Prior to the buyout, the team relied heavily on its parent organization to handle all of the IT requirements needed for the company to function. Since becoming an independent entity, Advisers Worldwide needed to source and manage its own IT solutions.
In the past, employees were accessing e-mails through Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and were accustomed to the convenience of using a variety of platforms to access them – from laptops to smartphones. This was a feature Advisers Worldwide prioritized as an important requirement from the new solution. As a small firm, it wanted to find a solution that will give employees the same flexibility to access e-mails conveniently from a wide variety of platforms while reducing IT management requirements. It was important that the new solution was user-friendly and convenient for employees to use in order for the firm to remain efficient.
To manage scheduling, employees at Advisers Worldwide were using an online calendar to share and synchronize appointments and meetings. However the company encountered multiple problems when synchronizing across different platforms and sharing calendars between users. Clive Macdonald, Managing Director of Advisers Worldwide said, “The process was messy. Events were being repeated and recorded multiple times which was not only confusing but time consuming to fix.”
Advisers Worldwide decided to source a solution that would provide employees all the functions of Exchange Server 2003 for e-mail but at the same time, would require minimum management time and capital outlay.
||Changes to our business model can result in considerable capital outlay, which we hope to minimize where possible. Exchange Online helps us to do that while maintaining the same level of professionalism.
Managing Director, Advisers Worldwide (Malaysia) Limited
Advisers Worldwide undertook a review of the possible options in the market. Following discussions with a number of different IT vendors, Macdonald and his team selected local IT services provider, Rhingle to act as their systems integrator for the project. “The Rhingle team suggested that we look at deploying Microsoft Exchange Online. The solution was perfect for Advisers Worldwide; it was extremely scalable. Moving into cloud services would allow us to reduce costs and operate a leaner business.”
The entire deployment process took less than one day to implement. All Advisers Worldwide needed to do was sign up for an account through the Microsoft Online Customer Portal, register an administrator account, and then add accounts for employees. Once the service provider directed all the e-mail addresses to Exchange Online, the solution was in place and ready to be used by the team.
Once deployment was complete, various employee devices had to be synchronized with the new Exchange Online service. For client machines, employees were able to perform the e-mail and calendar synchronization themselves with the E-mail Migration Tool. Users of smartphones and other mobile devices also followed a simple process to synchronize their e-mail accounts. Macdonald comments, “When using smartphones, for example, all we had to do was select Exchange Online, enter in the e-mail address and password, and select syncing of all functions. It was incredibly simple,” says Macdonald.Benefits
By deploying Exchange Online, Advisers Worldwide has improved user efficiency, reduced maintenance requirements and increased the scalability of the solution.
Easy to Deploy and Maintain
Within a matter of days, Advisers Worldwide had seamlessly migrated all of the users from their legacy e-mail system to the new online system. Macdonald says, “Regardless of which device or platform our staffs were using, the transition was seamless. This was very important in delivering business continuity.” In addition, by moving to Exchange Online the organization has reduced the impact of their e-mail solution on the internal IT team. Macdonald comments, “We have eliminated the management and maintenance requirements of our previous system, without losing any functionality. This was exactly what we wanted to achieve.”
Improved User Efficiency
By integrating Exchange Online with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, users can now access their e-mails, calendar and contacts using a single interface, helping to improve efficiency of the workforce. In addition, calendars now synchronize across all devices seamlessly removing many of the issues the company faced with its legacy systems. Macdonald says, “The new solution has helped us to improve efficiency. We no longer experience the replication issues; we faced with our previous system. It’s fantastic.”
Seamless Cross-platform E-mail Experience
Exchange Online is widely supported across a range of platforms and operating systems including those on smartphones. As users switch between various platforms, transition will be seamless because all of the information is stored in the cloud. The option to use multiple platforms is essential for employees of Advisers Worldwide as agents are frequently out of the office and need the convenience of accessing information anywhere and through any platforms available. With Exchange Online, they will have access to a consistent and centralized version of their contacts, calendar and e-mail across all devices.
“My goal is to reduce the amount of devices I have to carry with me outside of the office. By using a cloud based solution, I can access the information I need through any device, which brings me closer to achieving that goal,” says Macdonald.
||The new solution has helped us to improve efficiency. We no longer experience the replication issues; we faced with our previous system. It’s fantastic.
Being a small company, it was essential for the e-mail solution to support rapid staff changes. Advisers Worldwide has the power to add or remove users as required. “Our business model is changing. We are looking to expand in certain areas, and move our focus away from others,” says Macdonald. “Changes to our business model can result in considerable capital outlay, which we hope to minimize where possible. Exchange Online helps us to do that while maintaining the same level of professionalism.” Microsoft Online Services
Microsoft Online Services are business-class communication and collaboration solutions delivered as a subscription service and hosted by Microsoft. With these offerings, customers can cost-effectively access the most up-to-date technologies and immediately benefit from streamlined communications, simplified management, and business-class reliability and security features. For IT staffers, Microsoft Online Services are backed by strong service level agreements and help reduce the burden of performing routine IT management, freeing up time to focus on core business initiatives.
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For more information about Rhingle products and services, call +601 2344 5613 or visit the website at: www.rhingle.com
For more information about Advisers Worldwide (Malaysia) Limited products and services, call +603 2173 3900 or visit the website at: www.advisersworldwide.comThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.