Changes in working practices over the last few years have necessitated a more flexible way of providing access to critical IT resources. The ability to utilise productivity-increasing applications like email, spreadsheet and word processor from any device and from anywhere with an Internet connection is now required as a norm.
The need to provide this level of access can place great strains on an IT department unless it is approached in the right way with the right tools, as Roadchef recently discovered. Roadchef are one of the Uk’s major Motorway Service Area operators with 30 Service Areas across Britain.
Enjoying over 44 million visitors a year they have developed the expertise that allows them to understand, satisfy and indeed exceed the needs of the country’s ever more discerning travelling public.
Nathan Sharkey, Head of IT at Roadchef explained. “We had outsourced the provision of our email to a third party who delivered us a hosted Microsoft Exchange and Outlook service. In addition we used local copies of Office 2003 as our productivity tool but this did not provide us with much in the way of collaboration. We wanted to move to a platform that gave our users more freedom as when they were away from the office they were only able to access email and Office remotely via our VPN.
The idea of bringing all our systems in-house was looked at but we did not want to design, build and support our own Exchange infrastructure as we were working on other more business beneficial projects at the time and did not want to remove resources from these.”
As a result Roadchef elected to go with G Suite as their platform. G Suite is a cloud-based productivity suite that helps organisations connect and get work done from anywhere on any device. With full email, calendar, spreadsheets and document capabilities it also allows employees to work better together with comprehensive collaboration tools.
“The functionality of G Suite was exactly what we were looking for,” said Nathan. “But, what really swung it for us was the cost. When we sat down and did the calculations and compared it to the costs for providing the same service with Microsoft Exchange and Office, there were significant savings over 150k per annum with G Suite that made it a really attractive proposition.”
Roadchef were recommended Cloud Technology Solutions (CTS) by Google directly and spoke to them about how they could help with the migration. CTS are a leading provider of Google and G Suite Solutions with many years experience of helping organisations leverage the benefits of the cloud.
In particular, their CloudMigrator solution is the world’s leading multi-platform migration tool, trusted by hundreds of organisations to move millions of messages, appointments and contacts to the cloud. It enables the migration of an entire source messaging system to G Suite and supports migration from many different platforms including Microsoft Exchange.
CTS appointed a dedicated project manager to handle the migration and they sat down with key Roadchef employees and developed a comprehensive plan for migrating over the existing email users and setting up new users.
“We only had around 100 existing user accounts that we wanted to migrate over,” explained Nathan. “But we had approximately 400 new users we wanted to setup as part of the switch-over.” CTS used CloudMigrator to successfully migrate the existing users. This unique tool has moved millions of users to G Suite with zero user downtime, simple setup and configuration and detailed reporting.
“Any problems we had were quickly sorted by CTS during the project and overall it was a very positive experience,” said Nathan. “Now that we have had G Suite in place for some time we are beginning to enjoy the benefits. All users can now securely access their email and documents from anywhere with any device that has Internet access. They are no longer reliant on the availability of our corporate network for this.
“I particularly like the collaboration capabilities with documents and spreadsheets. It means that there is now one place to store all these documents and one version that can easily be shared and worked on by different people across the country. This is a real time-saving function that has helped to improve productivity across Roadchef.”
Commenting on the project and CTS, Nathan concluded, “Google Apps is the right platform for us and it has really helped us reduce costs and improve employee productivity. With CTS we found the right partner to help us implement it. They are very easy to work with, their employees are friendly and very knowledgeable. They certainly know how to manage a migration project with minimal disruption and downtime. With Google Apps we now have in place a platform that can support Roadchef’s evolving needs for many years to come and CTS’ expertise is there to support us in this.”