Never having had access to IT support before, it now feels a relief knowing that any technology problems we have, one phone call to StoneHouse will quickly see it fixed.”
Whilst there is no doubt that moving IT infrastructure to the cloud can bring an organisation many benefits, it needs to be approached in the right way to ensure success. With many solutions on offer making the right choice of platform is only the start. Overall project management, data migration and training all need to be considered to ensure a smooth migration and minimum disruption to day-to-day business operations, as EP Bitumen discovered.
EP Bitumen is an International company dedicated to the supply of bitumen and bitumen emulsions for road construction projects throughout the African continent. Since 2007, the company has successfully supplied more than 150,000 tonnes of its products to major projects and contractors. Specifically it focuses on providing packaged bitumen and bitumen emulsions to inland destinations that have no access to a bulk bitumen terminal. EP Bitumen manages the complete supply chain, from refinery to road, allowing clients to trust that their bitumen will be available, when it’s needed and where it’s needed.
Since 2007 the company had grown very quickly, but with no IT department their technology infrastructure had not been able to keep pace with the growth as Helen Templar, projects manager at EP Bitumen explained. “With an office in the UK and two locations in Spain we needed to be in constant touch. We had no central server and were basically setup with individual computers in each location, making collaboration very difficult. We wanted to move to a cloud-based solution but didn’t know which was the right solution for us or how to do it.”
In the summer of 2014 staff at EP Bitumen were invited to a free ½ day seminar on Microsoft Office 365 run by Microsoft partners StoneHouse. They found the event to be very informative, helpful and friendly. “We were very impressed with the presentation StoneHouse gave as well as their level of knowledge and expertise with working with Office 365,” said Helen. “The seminar also helped us choose between Office 365 and Google Apps for Business, which we were also considering. The familiar look and feel of the Office 365 screens meant that it would be easier for all our staff to pick up more quickly. So, we went with Office 365 and StoneHouse.”
With Office 365, familiar tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook are available where and when they are needed. All files are stored online and are always in sync. So, they can be shared with anyone, even co-authored, in real time, regardless of location. What’s more Office 365 applications are always automatically updated to the latest version. This means there’s no need to worry about the cost and hassle of patching and updates.
StoneHouse’s Office 365 consultants setup EP Bitumen’s platform during August 2014 and migrated their existing data onto the system. Then during September they carried out the necessary training of their staff in both the UK and Spain. “Everything went smoothly and surprisingly quickly,” said Helen. “They were patient and helpful throughout ensuring everyone had their questions answered and felt totally comfortable using the system.”
“We have never bought IT support before,” concluded Helen. “But, we initially took out the StoneHouse Gold package as this was the most cost-effective way of getting Office 365 implemented. Although we planned to take this for only one year, we have been so impressed with the high level of service we have received that we decided to continue with a support package for the future. We have just bought new desktop PCs and a laptop from StoneHouse and they will be helping us to install these.”