“We wanted a local company, with a positive approach, which was prepared to, and capable of, supporting a longer term relationship. StoneHouse came highly recommended and did not fail to deliver on their promises.”

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Rapid growth can place great strains on IT infrastructure leaving it out-of-date and vulnerable to security problems. These issues need to be addressed to ensure that an organisation’s IT investment is fit-for-purpose and able to meet their needs going forward.

THE COMPANY

Sovereign Beverage Company (SBC) offers international beverage solutions. They provide services across the whole supply chain from the provision of casks and Petainer, through product creation, dedicated sales support, in-house experts to worldwide distribution and everything in-between.

They operate through 4 divisions and employ 15 staff, the majority of whom are based in modern offices near J9 of the M65 in Lancashire.

THE CHALLENGE

Due to the rapid growth that SBC had experienced its IT platform had not been able to keep pace and required significant modernisation. In particular, it was using the Windows XP desktop operating system and older versions of Microsoft Office from 2003 to 2007. These needed to be updated to enable users to take advantage of the benefits of Windows 7 and Office 2013 as well as later versions.

In addition, SBC had been using Google Apps for Business. Many users found this difficult and preferred the more familiar Office and Outlook interface of Office 365. Google Drive was also used but this too needed to be replaced with an enterprise level solution and an intranet implemented to enable a more collaborative way of working.

WHY STONEHOUSE?

StoneHouse had provided help desk services to SBC for a number of years, effectively acting as their IT support department. But, for a project of this importance SBC needed to be sure that StoneHouse had the necessary skills and experience to undertake a smooth migration from Google Apps to Office 365.

After discussions with SBC StoneHouse consultants were able to produce a detailed proposal that mapped out the key stages of the migration and identified any prospective problems and how they were to be avoided. This, together with SBC’s experience of working with StoneHouse previously, persuaded them that not only did StoneHouse staff have the required level of expertise and experience but also they thoroughly understood SBC’s needs and expectations for the project.

Morgan Holden, Operations Director at SBC said, “As our company is in a period of rapid growth, we needed a reliable, professional company to support us not only with our recent office move, but with our IT systems and support requirements moving forward. We wanted a local company, with a positive approach, which was prepared to, and capable of, supporting a longer term relationship. StoneHouse came highly recommended and did not fail to deliver on their promises.”

THE SOLUTION

In January 2014 StoneHouse’s accredited Microsoft Office 365 consultants set up the new cloud based platform for SBC. Initially, this was for 12 users and included setting up all email accounts and shared folders. They were then able to migrate SBC’s existing email data from Google Apps as well as spreadsheets and documents to the new domain.

This work ensured SBC had a smooth and trouble free change-over and their staff did not suffer the downtime usually associated with this type of project. StoneHouse also provide ongoing support so that if SBC staff ever have any issues or questions on Office 365, then one phone call will quickly see them get a resolution.

FUTURE CHALLENGES

The flexibility and scale-ability of the new Office 365, cloud-based platform has enabled SBC to easily cope with a 30% increase in headcount since the migration was completed. New users can be quickly added, the only expense being a small increase in the monthly subscription paid to Microsoft.

The use of Office 365 has greatly increased collaboration within SBC and users are now happily sharing documents and streamlining the way they work to the benefit of overall productivity within the company. StoneHouse are still involved in helping SBC exploit the features of Office 365 to improve collaboration and productivity.