Note: This is an abbreviated version of a case study. The full version, along with other Office 365 customer stories, is available here.
Pear Workplace Solutions, a provider of office furniture, wanted to reduce its on-site IT infrastructure and implement a cost-effective productivity solution. Working with Solve IT, the company adopted Microsoft Office 365, a subscription-based cloud service that unites familiar Microsoft Office applications. The company uses Office 365 to help reduce IT costs, increase scalability, improve productivity, and enhance collaboration.
Based in Denver, Colorado, Pear Workplace Solutions is a service provider that delivers office furniture solutions for a variety of customers. It is the exclusive distributor in Colorado for Haworth, one of the largest manufacturers of office furniture in the world. “We used to have conversations with customers about chairs, desks, and panels,” says John Robbins, President and CEO of Pear Workplace Solutions, who bought the company in 2002. “Now it’s a conversation about the workplace and how furniture can enhance productivity, collaboration, and work processes.”
In April 2011, Garrett Brucker, President and Owner of Solve IT, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network and acting CIO for Pear Workplace Solutions, proposed that Robbins adopt Microsoft Office 365. Office 365 brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online-familiar Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools-delivered as a cloud service and available by subscription. “With Microsoft behind Office 365, I felt the solution had a lot of credibility,” says Robbins. “It would provide my employees with a range of integrated tools.”
Solve IT implemented Exchange Online during one weekend in September 2011. A week later it deployed Lync Online. The next month, it implemented SharePoint Online. To provide employees with single sign-on access to cloud services by using their corporate credentials, Solve IT used Active Directory Federation Services to connect the company’s domain to Office 365 cloud services. “Workers haven’t even noticed the single sign-on,” says Robbins. “It’s accepted as the standard for how it should work.”
By adopting Office 365, Pear Workplace Solutions reduces costs, adds scalability, enhances productivity, and improves collaboration. “Microsoft Office 365 has delivered on its inherent promises,” says Robbins. “That’s why we deployed it, and it just works.”
Reduces IT Costs. The company now has only three servers and has avoided US$8,000 in hardware costs. During its first year of using Office 365, the company also eliminated at least $1,500 a month in costs for support, endpoint protection software, and instant-messaging software.
Increases Scalability. With Office 365, Pear Workplace Solutions can add or remove users as needed, and updates, upgrades, and warranties are managed automatically.
Improves Productivity. Remote employees only need an Internet connection to access Office 365, which is critical for a service business. The company used to experience email outages-a few hours at a time-with its on-site server, but with the 99.9 percent guaranteed uptime of Exchange Online, that’s a thing of the past.
Enhances Collaboration. Pear Workplace Solutions employees can take advantage of integrated communications and collaboration tools, including presence and instant messaging.