The company’s ageing servers provided a nudge to embrace a new way of supplying ICT. “We wanted the flexibility to grow sites and numbers of sites without having to factor in large capex purchases,” Evans says.
“All our systems, including our telephone and warehouse management systems are cloud-based now, so it seemed logical to move to the Modern Workplace and get file storage and ICT management into the cloud as well.”
Laying the foundations
Emails were moved to Office 365 first, followed by an upgrade of Online Distribution’s 90 desktops and laptops
to Windows 10-capable machines to fully capitalise on all the features of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.
“There are pre-requisites to take advantage of the cloud, particularly public cloud, and we’ve got to lay the foundations first,” explains Ray Stanion, CodeBlue Key Account Manager.
The final step came with a move into a structured SharePoint environment, scoped with and built by CodeBlue,
comprising an intranet and a structured directory of all file shares, says Matt Bourne, CodeBlue Senior Trusted Advisor. Azure AD provides authentication and access control while InTune is used for management, and Teams provides communications and collaboration tools.
“For Online Distribution and their 120+ strong team, it’s a ‘100 percent Modern Workplace world’ which is already providing returns”, Evans says.
“One of the first comments I got from one of our sales team when we installed this Modern Workplace was how seamless it was that he could open his computer anywhere and all his files were there. He didn’t have to save files on his laptop before he left or try to dial in remotely to the server.”
“That sums up the reason we’re doing this. It gives everybody a lot more flexibility and the ability to work anywhere, any way.”
“A reduction in costs is already being seen through the removal of ongoing server- related costs”
Microsoft Teams is fast becoming a favoured means of collaboration for our company, with internal teams created for various projects, enabling cross- functional information sharing, avoiding the need for group emails.
“It didn’t take long for people to realise it was a pretty powerful tool and it now gets used a lot for instant messaging and collaboration as well as video calls and meetings.”
For a fast-growing company, there are other benefits too: Rapid provisioning of equipment and the ability to quickly scale up and down.