Today’s post was written by Anthony Kurban, Chief Information Officer of averda.
As the largest environmental solutions provider in the Middle East and North Africa, averda works with businesses and governments of all sizes to collect, recycle, compost, and dispose of waste. Before moving to the cloud, all of our servers were stored on-premises in one country, and as a constantly growing organization with ambitious plans to be present in 50 cities within 10 years, we needed a more flexible approach. What’s more, our employees are currently spread across Africa, Europe and the Middle East, and a cloud solution simply made it easier for them to connect seamlessly.
averda has always prided itself on being a pioneer of innovative new technologies, and as the company grew, we began to evaluate cloud-based solutions and eventually chose Microsoft Office 365, becoming among the first companies in our region to migrate to the cloud.
As we were already operating in a Microsoft environment, Office 365 provided us with the advantage of familiarity paired with the flexibility of the cloud, eliminating the time and money we would have spent on training and IT maintenance. It has given us more security, availability and scalability than we could provide on-premises. In addition to this, with Yammer as our social enterprise network, we are increasing communication and knowledge-sharing across the entire company, which is essential as we continue to grow globally.
While we assessed a number of cloud-based solutions throughout the evaluation process, we came to the conclusion that competing solutions did not offer the same level of administrative control that Microsoft offered. Microsoft’s technical experts clearly demonstrated that they were experienced professionals who could migrate our productivity software to the cloud without any disruption or loss of data. At the end of the day, our expertise lies in environmental solutions and waste management, and we were happy to outsource the IT side of things to the experts.
We began implementing Office 365 in August 2012 and moved all our employees within two months. We were already using Outlook, Lync, and SharePoint on-premises, so Office 365 offered a user interface that our employees were comfortable with. With our email stored within Microsoft servers in the cloud, we no longer need to worry about disaster recovery. In addition, Microsoft guarantees 99.9 percent uptime, which exceeds the level of availability we could provide on our own. It’s also easy to scale up our software as averda grows and adds new employees to its network. If we start a project in a new country, for instance, additional employees can be remotely subscribed in minutes.
Office 365 has also made it possible for our employees to be more productive no matter where they are working; with anytime access from nearly any device, our sales and operational staff can now access information when they are in the office, with clients or traveling on the road.
As part of the Office 365 package, we are given the ability to use Yammer, which has helped to break down the barriers among employees working in different countries, departments and teams. If employees have a question, they have potentially the whole organization to answer. If they did something well, they can proudly share it so that others can benefit from the experience. If they encounter a problem, they can share that too, so that others can learn from it. Yammer is a fantastic knowledge-sharing tool. Employees are talking, collaborating, commenting, liking, and praising each other like we have never seen before.
With Office 365 and Yammer, we now have safe and reliable access to our emails, group sites, documents, files, etc. and our employees are constantly connected and sharing knowledge throughout the company. The combination has been a win-win for our organization and will continue to keep us focused on delivering superior value to our customers.