Seal Industries switches direction, gets to the cloud with minimum impact

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Today’s post was written by Rick Cooper, director of IT at Seal Industries.

seal pro pixSeal Industries delivers high-quality monitoring, maintenance and repair services in the petrochemical industry. We’ve built our business on a reputation for innovation and cost-effective, highly technical service options, but we had outgrown a corporate IT infrastructure that was starting to impact our business.

We have more than 600 field employees working at refineries and plants around the country. They’re equipped with state-of-the-art technology to perform their functional roles, but they had no corporate email, and no way to connect with our network if they did. Meanwhile, we have almost 100 managers and sales people at the main office who had to rely on a small infrastructure of aging on-premises servers.

From impossible to the Microsoft cloud

We had most of the company shut out of our business loop and doing tons of actual paperwork. Back at the office, my IT team was spending almost all its time chasing problems. The whole situation created headaches from field operations to payroll.

If we decided to modernize our onsite infrastructure just for the people that already had access to it, the cost would have been through the roof. To do that and bring the whole company into our corporate network seemed like an impossible investment. We knew we had to move to the cloud and decided to use Microsoft Office 365 to help us automate our IT and business practices.

Expert skills, a strong relationship and a quick migration

I had done a number of Office 365 migrations, and I wanted a partner with a stronger skill set than mine. So I was excited to learn that Microsoft FastTrack* could help us onboard Office 365 as part of our license agreement. We could work directly with the experts who actually built the technology—included in the cost of the service.

The FastTrack team listened to us and took the time to understand our technology and business needs, and they helped guide us in the direction we wanted to go. Here’s an example: we wanted to move very quickly, so we came up with a migration plan that met our timeline but added some on-premises Exchange servers on the back end, which completely defeated the purpose of moving to the cloud. To meet our deadline, we were prepared to take that path, but our FastTrack engineers showed us that because we had no real calendar issues, we could use an Office 365 migration path that required less work in the background—and no additional servers.

This meant we did not have to purchase, configure, license, and maintain the servers, which saved us about $150,000. Instead of a hybrid infrastructure, we built a Microsoft cloud environment that’s easier to manage and scale. Plus, we actually accelerated the migration significantly and completed the process in three days with the help of the FastTrack team.

On to bigger and better things

In the end, the FastTrack team helped us come up with the fastest, most efficient way to get to the Microsoft cloud with the least impact. Now, the whole business can work together on one network, and my team can move on to bigger and better things related to our business. Instead of spending 90 percent of our time on maintenance, we’re now spending 70 percent of our time on strategic work.

Our implementation of Office 365 set the pace for other projects. We have already completed a total ERP migration and expect to complete major HRIS and PBX implementations in 2016.

—Rick Cooper is the director of IT at Seal Industries, a specialty maintenance provider in the oil and energy industry.

*FastTrack is available to customers with 50 seats and above with eligible plans. Refer to FastTrack Center Benefit for Office 365 for eligibility details.

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