APM Replace Small Business Server with Microsoft Office 365

APM-Logo_logoIntroduction

Angus Project Management (APM) is an independent consultancy providing management services to public and private sector clients undertaking building developments and infrastructure works. With an impressive history of delivering high profile projects such as the Noosa Hasting Street ($8m) and Brisbane Queen Street Mall ($25m) redevelopments, APM has a proven track record and a respected position in the industry.

APM has a history of embracing technology as a strategic enabler within their business. By first assessing the organisations needs and developing a ‘best case’ scenario, technology solutions have then been developed and implemented to satisfy these needs. In essence, technology has been shaped to support and enable the business rather than the business changing to fit the limitations of the technology.

The Situation

APM were running an aging Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 platform physically hosted within their office. Further to this their team of industry professionals was more and more needing the flexibility to work not only from the office, but also on location, including the middle of busy construction sites.

Grassroots IT Consulting services were engaged to advise APM on the best use of technology to enable the business moving forwards.

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  • Microsoft Office 365 has enabled us to improve our focus on our core business in a very competitive market

    Stuart Angus
    Director/Principal
    Angus Project Management

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The Problem

Although Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 was an extremely powerful and flexible solution in its day, the combination of aging in-house hardware and software were beginning to cause problems for the business. Network stability and performance were beginning to degrade with some unplanned system outages leaving the APM team without access to email and shared documents for a day or more at a time.

The ability for team members to not only work from anywhere, be it the office, a client site, or from a mobile device, but to do so with seamless access to corporate resources is becoming the ‘new normal’. Of course such practical changes can not only lead to cultural changes within the organisation, but can also introduce new challenges such as keeping a dispersed team engaged, and communication flowing.

Summary

  • Aging in-house Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 platform was becoming unstable.
  • Existing systems did not provide the flexibility the organisation required.

The Solution

Core requirements
Using The Modern Office framework, Grassroots IT was able to develop a deep understanding not only of APM’s existing pain points, but also of the direction that it was heading, and where the organisation saw itself over the next few years. With that understanding the following core requirements were identified:

  • Flexible access to corporate systems from any location and from any device, including smart phones and tablets.
  • The ability for physically disperse team members to efficiently collaborate on projects in real time.
  • Flexibility to enable the business to scale up and down headcount and features as required.
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  • The business is now more mobile in a much greater geographic area than before

    Stuart Angus
    Director/Principal
    Angus Project Management

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Implementation
To meet these requirements it was recommended that APM move from the existing Small Business Server based network to a Microsoft Office 365 cloud solution. The Microsoft Office 365 stack of software products and cloud services is supported on any device including smartphones and tablets, and is massively scalable to meet changing business needs without any capital outlay.

The core components of Microsoft Office 365 to be used would include:

  • Exchange Online.
    • Communication and organisational features delivered through Microsoft Outlook.
  • Sharepoint Online & Onedrive for Business.
    • Document, file storage and management with advanced collaboration features such as co-authoring.
  • Lync Online.
    • Real time communication including HD video conferencing and screen sharing.
  • Microsoft Office 2013.
    • Familiar productivity applications such as Word and Excel with seamless integration to the cloud.

Project implementation and team training was to be provided through a combination of:

  • Technical investigation of existing systems & solution design
  • Pre-staging all data to the cloud prior to migration
  • Coordinated cutover date managed both in person and remotely
  • In person training & customisation
  • On-demand video training

The migration was completed with minimal disruption to the business.

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  • With Microsoft Office 365 we are no longer restricted to operating with our IT constraints in mind

    Stuart Angus
    Director/Principal
    Angus Project Management

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Benefits
The new Microsoft Office 365 solution has enabled APM to retire their aging in-house Microsoft Small Business Server without substantial replacement costs of up to $10,000. It has introduced a raft of new features that has enabled the organisation to spend more time at the client offices and on the project site.

With rapid access to business systems and information from anywhere, APM can now respond to queries and deliver clients, suppliers and contractors the information they need in a far quicker and more flexible manner than ever before. Combined with the ability to engage team members and project stakeholders alike in collaborative efforts at the click of a button, APM now has the features and flexibility it needs to drive the business forward.