For some, IT is being reborn in a hurry. But for most, transforming IT is a journey.
Customers are discovering the value of cloud computing, and we are seeing that reflected in the ongoing momentum with Office 365. IT departments are seeing the benefits of the latest technology along with increased productivity among end users. Some are even getting more than what they sought out when they opted for Office 365. For some customers and partners, Office 365 is the best planned route to cloud computing.
Businesses of all sizes get value from Office 365
Naturally Me — Naturally Me makes luxury body care products that the average working woman can afford. What started as a side company alongside a full-time job has grown into a vibrant business. The six employees of this company had varied work shifts, and lived in different cities across different time-zones. But the women were on a mission to make affordable, quality body care products. And they did it!
As a small organization, it was crucial to run the business without compromises. Naturally Me uses Office 365 to move its business forward. The company was able to increase sales by 15 percent, while decreasing travel and printing costs. It runs a highly efficient organization with enhanced communication and collaboration using Lync Online and SharePoint Online. Naturally Me is also expanding internationally. As the company’s founder Chaundra Smith points out, “Thanks to Office 365, Naturally Me looks like one of the ‘big dogs,’ not a small, six-person company.”
Hickory Farms — Fall has arrived quietly and is heralding a great holiday season ahead. October is never a quiet time for Hickory Farms as the company gets ready for its busiest time of the year. Hickory Farms specializes in food gift boxes and baskets made up of summer sausages, cheese, fruit, nuts, and sweets sold through stores, catalogs, supermarkets, and the company website. Every October through December, Hickory Farms more than doubles the size of its workforce to staff more than 750 shopping mall kiosks and stores across North America. For some, the holidays are officially here when you see the Hickory Farms kiosk pop up in malls. To run a business with such high customer expectations during this special time of the year, you need a strong IT backbone.
Hickory Farms chose Office 365 because it wanted its employees to focus on delivering the best customer service, with the technology simply working in the background. The familiar Microsoft Office experience helps employees better collaborate to get things done quickly without compromising the formatting of documents, spreadsheets and presentations. As Jeremy Mahler, Director of Technical Operations at Hickory Farms, says: “With our previous cloud-based email, employees were constantly asking us how to use the system. By adopting Office 365, employees can use Outlook exactly like they’re used to.” Office 365 fulfills Hickory Farm’s unique needs to support a large temporary workforce during the holiday season by enabling the company to change its licenses from month-to-month using the management console. This streamlined IT management with Office 365 helps Hickory Farms deliver on its promise to customers year after year.
Arysta Lifescience — Arysta is an agrochemical company with sales and service in over 125 counties. It is one of the top 10 crop protection companies in the world that has grown through acquisition over the years. Along with acquisitions came disparate email systems. Motivated to simplify its email environment, Arysta migrated over 2,500 users from 34 disparate email systems to Office 365 to take advantage of the latest communication and collaboration technology while keeping its end users productive and satisfied. By moving to Office 365, the company gained substantial computing capacity at less than one-third of legacy costs.
While on a mission to simplify IT, Arysta found additional capabilities that changed the company in a significant way. As Dustin Collins, head of the company’s global IT infrastructure, puts it: “Presence capabilities, social awareness through the Lync client, real-time interaction over video, improved productivity in global meetings-this product has had more impact on communications and productivity at Arysta than anything else.“ The capabilities in Office 365 changed the company in such significant ways that Arysta’s Global IT Infrastructure Team was recognized with a business unit excellence award.
Partners help customers choose Office 365
Most of these organizations have relied on partners to advise them on their IT decisions and investments. For example, Hickory Farms relied on its partner Bennett Adelson to help with high-end tasks in Office 365. This trusted partnership with Bennett Adelson is crucial for Hickory Farms as it gets ready for the holiday season this year. Bennett Adelson is the “local IT guy” that knows Hickory Farms and fixes its problems whenever it’s needed.
Likewise, when Arysta looked to join its 34 disparate email systems, the company relied on Infrascience to help with this transition. Infrascience’s technical prowess and project management diligence helped Arysta complete the project within budget and on time. This was a key contributor for how the Global IT Team succeeded in streamlining its infrastructure and in getting even more out of its IT solution with Office 365.
On the front lines of this cloud transformation, we see that businesses are constantly seeking advice and assistance from their trusted partners to accelerate their journey to the cloud. As Chris Hertz from New Signature points out, Hurricane Sandy was a wake-up call for many of its customers on the East Coast. The value proposition of the cloud resonated with these businesses as they struggled to keep their lights on using their on-premises servers. The natural disaster led to a sharp increase in the number of customers considering the cloud, and partners advising that Office 365 was the best value for their money.
As more customers move to the cloud, they are joining many others who are already realizing the benefits. Read the “Value of Office 365″ whitepaper to learn about the six core areas in which customers are benefiting from Office 365.