New Ways of Working

The-TOG-Office

With the surge in start-ups, freelancers and mobile workers, the way people work is changing fast and not everyone needs a permanent office all of the time. New ways of working need new solutions and Reading based managed services provider Wirebird had the right product for The Office Group.

The Office Group (TOG) is a provider of design-led flexible workspace with over 150 meeting rooms across the UK designed for the way we work today.

It is paramount to TOG to provide its clients with robust and reliant technology and as a company they ‘practice what they preach’ by providing the same for its own core systems and employees. The company has doubled in size over the last three years and the rate of growth is set to continue.
With such rapid growth, their core systems were struggling to accommodate the rate of change, and the IT team knew it was time to migrate to another system.

Paul Wixon, IT Manager, TOG commented, “We have been using Wirebird for the last few years as they are a trusted and reputable IT provider – they look after all of our IT requirements and support across the group. We had virtualised servers on Netapp, but we reached the end of our capacity for email storage due to the accelerated growth of the business. We could have upgraded it, but the capex option was expensive and it would have only been for emails. So we required more capacity along with the reliability of a new solution.”

Supplier Selection

Wixon and his team went out to tender for a Microsoft Office 365 partner as they decided Office 365 was the perfect solution and as it is hosted in the Microsoft cloud is scalable and augments a business continuity strategy.

TOG selected Wirebird. The company already supplemented TOG’s in-house IT team by providing first, second and third line support to all TOG networks across 23 locations. They also looked after all the TOG employees daily IT needs on desktops, servers and network printing equipment. Wirebird is also the first point of contact for new hardware purchases and for software licensing.

Why Microsoft Office 365?

Wirebird advised TOG that with Office 365 everything is hosted in the cloud, providing remote access to it’s distributed workforce, enabling employees to access the network, emails and documents anywhere and from any device. This is a great benefit to TOG as a large proportion of its workforce do not have a fixed a desk as they move around the buildings. Using Office 365 will improve communication and collaboration between employees and also business continuity.

The Office Group, felt comfortable with the familiarity of the applications on Office 365 as it is a Microsoft house. The simple subscription model also appealed to them, along with the scalability where the solution can grow with the business.

Transition

Wixon and his team were originally concerned about the transition over to Office 365 and the impact it would have on the employees.

“Wirebird sent us onsite resources and then the IT team loaded Office 365 remotely and conducted the migration. We then migrated all users over to the latest version of Office 365 onto their desktops to get them use to the new user interface. The migration was seamless and within one week, 90% of all sites were upgraded and there was no negative feedback.”

Wirebird added temporary storage capacity to TOG’s Netapp to provide them with breathing space for the migration, and then spooled up additional servers so they could run a hybrid Office 365 deployment with on and off site mail servers. This allowed a smooth transition of mailboxes across with almost no noticeable interruption to the users.

Once everyone was across, the IT team manually migrated some embedded devices like multi-function scanners and then decommissioned the old exchange server, so they were compatible with Office 365.

Microsoft Office 365 has provided TOG with a future proof and scalable solution that will grow with the business requirements.

“With Office 365, email is now much easier. Employees can access it from anywhere on any device and we are no longer dependent on the availability of single server from one address. Now the stored data of one user won’t impact another user plus we have plenty of storage to grow with our demands. Wirebird has been excellent in advising us and providing the users with training during the transition.

We are currently working with Wirebird to explore the other productivity tools within Microsoft Office 365 to utilise our license, such as SharePoint and Skype for business. Overall, I can honestly say that I would recommend Wirebird and Microsoft Office 365.”