Aisle7 provides marketing services for retailers’ wellness products. Back in 2009, it replaced an on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server solution with Google Apps Premier Edition, but after nine months decided to abandon Google. We recently spoke to Jake Harris, the Director of IT at Aisle7, to learn about the company’s journey to Microsoft Office 365.
Q: Please tell us about Aisle7.
Jake Harris: Aisle7 was founded on the premise that an informed consumer is a healthy consumer, so our goal is to help our retail customers engage shoppers and increase sales. Food retailers choose Aisle7 to supply reliable health and wellness content to their customers by implementing Aisle7 solutions wherever their shoppers look for information-websites, mobile phones, in-store kiosks, and social media.
Q: Why did you want to move to cloud-based services for your email solution?
Harris: Aisle 7 has always promoted a modern work style with an emphasis on mobility. Approximately one-quarter of our 28 employees work from home or outside of the office. We recognize that it’s important to balance work and family, and that commuting is not good for the environment. So, we are committed to finding tools for our workforce that help them be productive no matter where they are.
Q: What criteria did you use to select Microsoft as your vendor for cloud-based business productivity services?
Harris: We learned a few lessons with Google. While we were still committed to finding cloud-based business tools, we realized those tools had to be designed for the workplace, not for consumer use. We wanted continuously evolving products that we could grow with. We wanted a business partner interested in our long-term success.
Q: How has Office 365 changed the way people work at Aisle7?
Harris: When we migrated from Google to Microsoft Office 365, we gained access to an evolving suite of communication and collaboration products designed to match the needs of a growing business. With so many of us working outside of the office, we are looking forward to taking advantage of the enhanced web mail interface with Exchange Online. We’re going to be a lot more productive on the road. Outlook Web App automatically resizes the user interface to match screen dimensions on tablets and mobile phones so it’s easy keep up with work using any device. And with SkyDrive Pro, we can always access the latest versions of our files, which are automatically synced to SharePoint libraries, to edit and collaborate on documents on the go.
Q: What are the biggest benefits you are seeing from Office 365?
Harris: Because we all work in different places, we are really looking forward to using the social features within SharePoint Online as a social platform for the company. We can set up newsfeeds to share what people are doing, both on team sites and globally. It will create a whole new dimension for the company.
I’m already using the desktop sharing functionality in Lync Online to improve remote support. I ask people to share their screen and seconds later I’ve taken control of their computer to solve their problem. I’ve expedited issue resolution by approximately 25 percent. It’s just one more example of how Office 365 is a great tool for the workplace!