For many nonprofit and humanitarian relief organisations, robust and dynamic email systems are critical to maintaining efficient coordination and mission-readiness. For the Thai Red Cross Society, this is especially so. From missions involving the delivery of emergency supplies to flood-stricken areas, to managing blood donation requests, every minute could mean the difference between life and death.
In addition, the sensitive nature of their work requires staff to use the email domain “redcross.or.th” at all times for security reasons. Thus, the email system needs to have high availability and accessibility, including for employees working out of the office.
Having to support 10,000 users from 28 different locations across the country, the Thai Red Cross Society’s IT team struggled to maintain a secure and stable email system capable of handling the usage strain. Their limited funds also prevented them from purchasing enterprise-level services.
Fortunately, their solution came in the form of Microsoft’s Office 365 for Nonprofits programme which provided them with 3,000 free user licences for the Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise E1 edition.
Previously, the organisation utilised an email system that was plagued with many issues, including unstable internet links, limited data storage, and various complexities associated with maintenance. This led to a considerable strain on their IT staff who had to deal with numerous IT support requests. These problems were significantly reduced once they started using Office 365.
One of the biggest benefits they saw, which also factored into their decision to adopt the technology, was the smooth transition from the old system to Office 365. Data, contacts, and other necessary information could be easily be ported onto the new platform without causing disruption to their operations.
On top of that, the organisation now had access to premium features and services while keeping to budget. They also faced less downtime, with their new system being 99.9 percent more stable and offering greater storage space than before.
Pornchai Timpawat, Director, Thai Red Cross Information Technology Centre said, “For the Thai Red Cross Society, email is an important tool for communication—especially for critical use cases such as organ requests. The email system must be reliable and secure enough to deliver messages without delay or interruptions, to ensure patient safety. We believe Office 365 has helped us accomplish that.” The Information Technology Centre is responsible for coordinating communications between all Thai Red Cross offices.
Both non-tech-savvy users and the IT support staff welcomed the transition. New built-in features such as the spam-filtering and anti-email-virus protection meant better security with less effort and complexity. With Office 365 having a similar interface to the old Microsoft Exchange platform, the new system had a gentle learning curve for everyone. As a result, less time and resources were spent on re-training, and the users could immediately jump into using Office 365 with ease. The migration was tested with 3,000 users and was deemed a success.
With the successful implementation, the Thai Red Cross Society plans to expand the usage of Office 365 to its remaining 7,000 users as well. It has also upgraded its Office 365 service to the Enterprise E3 for Nonprofits edition, which they procured at a fraction of the commercial rate per user.