Today’s blog post was written by Matina Massa, chief information officer of Air Malta, one of Europe’s busiest regional airlines.
Air Malta is a full-service regional airline based on the island of Malta, which lies south of Sicily and midway between Italy and North Africa in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea. With regularly scheduled flights to many destinations in Europe and the Middle East, our airline is of vital importance to the island economy, providing transportation for about 50 percent of the millions of tourists, business travelers and local residents who fly in and out of Malta each year.
Air Malta is one of many European airlines currently going through a restructuring program, in an effort to bring it back to profitability. Part of my mandate as CIO is to dramatically reduce our IT operational costs while improving communication, collaboration and productivity for our widespread and increasingly mobile workforce of almost 1,000 employees. That’s what triggered our move to Office 365.
As we prepared to deploy Office 365, we had a very tight exit plan with the existing service provider for Microsoft Exchange. We didn’t have the luxury of a staged migration—we had to move fast. When I met with Microsoft to sign the contract, I said, “Look, this is my challenge: I need to migrate all of our Office 365 and Exchange Online services within the next eight weeks.” With millions of euros at risk, plus the need to keep our airline operating smoothly, failure wasn’t an option. That’s when I learned about Microsoft FastTrack.*
The FastTrack team supported us during every phase of the process—from planning, assessment and onboarding through remediation and migration. It’s a straightforward process that has been proven by the experience of thousands of Microsoft customers. The FastTrack team guided us through every step, helped us stay focused on the essential issues and provided the information and support we needed to be successful.
In some ways this was a complicated project, because it involved four teams from four different companies. We had the Air Malta and FastTrack teams in addition to our day-to-day service provider and a consultant here on the island that provided additional support and coaching when we needed it. Due in large part to the leadership and expertise of the FastTrack engineers, the team jelled within two weeks of starting the project and worked together extremely well. The FastTrack team was always there to help and support us. They dedicated a lot of time to coaching us on implementation and user adoption, and bringing us along the learning curve as fast as possible.
Air Malta has always relied on Microsoft technology, but due to the restructuring, the company had not made any significant investments in information technology during the previous six years. We were still running Microsoft Office 2007, and we had not taken advantage of newer technologies such as OneDrive and Skype for Business. So one of our goals was to drive a greater level of integration to improve service and reduce costs.
In the end, we achieved our goals. By switching to Office 365, we reduced our costs for email and productivity services by 70 percent. We also gained greater operational stability with the robust and resilient infrastructure that Microsoft cloud services provide. By using Office 365, we now have a platform to improve collaboration across our organization, and we have the tools to fully support mobility. That’s a big benefit to our flight crews, which are fully automated and carry tablets, and our commercial sales teams that are always on the move. We’re also in a better place in terms of security, because we are leveraging the enhanced security features of Microsoft cloud services.
Working with the FastTrack team turned out to be essential for Air Malta. It was an extremely positive experience, and it resulted in a successful project that was delivered completely on time, on budget and flawlessly from a service perspective, despite a very aggressive timeline and a virtual team that spanned four companies and several countries. Ultimately, however, the greatest benefit of working with the FastTrack team was peace of mind, knowing that we had the full support of a team with both the expertise and the technical muscle to help us get the job done right.
To learn more about FastTrack, visit FastTrack.microsoft.com and become familiar with what our customer-success service has to offer.
For more information about Air Malta, visit www.airmalta.com.
*FastTrack is available to customers with 50 seats and above with eligible plans. Refer to FastTrack Center Benefit for Office 365 for eligibility details.