Today’s post was written by Ross Anderson, IT Manager, Worldwide Jet Charter. Read more Office 365 customer stories here.
At Worldwide Jet Charter, we strive to deliver the ultimate in speed, reliability, and luxury to our customers, who range from Fortune 500 business executives to media and sports celebrities. We pride ourselves on maintaining a pristine fleet of Gulfstream, Challenger, and Lear 60 aircraft. Like our planes, our business is fueled by fast, dependable communications. Email is mission critical; it’s the lifeline that connects us to our customers, and it’s the primary way that our flight crews file their trip summaries and expense reports. Because we operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, any amount of downtime means lost business and problems with scheduling.
For the last several years, we used a POP3 hosting service for our email; however, we experienced email capacity limitations, which meant that our email came to a screeching halt. It got to the point that every few days, I’d get a call-sometimes in the middle of the night-that our email had stopped working. So, I’d have to log on to different accounts and manually clean out the deleted items and junk mail folders to get the service back up and running.
We realized that our business had outgrown POP3 and we needed an enterprise-grade communications solution that could keep pace with our operations. We also wanted to investigate options for integrating email with online document management and collaboration capabilities. We used Dropbox for a while, but that’s not a very elegant solution. It’s not the most intuitive tool to learn and everybody has to sign up for a different account. We also tested Google Apps and found that it didn’t offer the compatibility with Microsoft Office documents that we needed.
After completing our research, we chose to move to Microsoft Office 365, with help from BlueEdge Consulting. One of the main reasons we selected Office 365 was the availability of flexible licensing options. By paying only for what we need, we can minimize our costs and still deliver essential tools to different groups of employees based on their job functions. After discussing it with Kevin Miller of BlueEdge, we decided to give our corporate staff the full Office 365 for enterprise version and provide an email-only option for our flight crews, who don’t need all of the additional functionality. BlueEdge supported us every step of the way to ensure a smooth transition. Email is such an important part of our business, so it was reassuring to know we had an expert partner to guide us through the migration process.
We love that Office 365 provides us with a holistic, easy-to-use communication and collaboration solution-that’s scalable. We’re just starting to explore scenarios for using SharePoint Online to coordinate scheduling for our flight crews so that everyone has access to current information about pilot and flight attendant availability. And, with Lync Online, we’ve been able to replace the conference calling service that we had before. Going forward, I’d also like to use Lync Online as a way to deliver trainings and provide remote IT support.
But I have to say that seamless access to email through Exchange Online-anywhere and from any device-has provided the biggest boost to our business at this point. Our people enjoy using the intuitive, standardized tools delivered through Exchange Online for managing their inboxes and calendars. Whether employees are working on a PC in the office or using their smartphone from the airport, it is the same, consistently dependable experience that they truly appreciate. And, with financially backed service guarantees from Microsoft, I rest easier knowing that our email will be available whenever and wherever our people need it.