Firm Moves from Google Gmail to Microsoft Office 365 to Improve Customer Service

In today’s post we hear from C&I Engineering on why Microsoft was the best decision for their business in their move off Gmail to embrace business-ready cloud computing!

“Whatever problem the business faces, Office 365 gives me a complete set of tools for solving it.”

-- Jared Walther, Business Development Manager and Engineer, C&I Engineering

C& I Engineering's IT Challenges

C&I Engineering is a small business that provides engineering services to the nuclear industry. Its 25 employees work at the company’s offices in Richland, Washington and Phoenix, Arizona, and at multiple customer sites. Because employees are geographically scattered, the firm relied heavily on email messaging via Gmail, the Google Mail service, to stay in touch. However, since C&I generates and exchanges thousands of engineering and project management documents with customers, using email was not an efficient way to distribute and manage documents. Also, the Gmail mailbox size was insufficient for the firm’s needs, and the service did not offer shared calendaring.

“When I came on board in early 2010, the company was sorely lacking in IT solutions,” says Jared Walther, Business Development Manager and Engineer at C&I Engineering. “We had one file server and a few workstations. We had little document version control. This was a potential problem because we deal with engineering documents for nuclear power plants. We cannot get confused and send a customer the wrong file.”

IT Solution and Benefits

In early 2011, Microsoft invited C&I Engineering to be a beta tester for Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, a group of cloud-based email, calendaring, collaboration, and conferencing services combined with web-based versions of the popular Microsoft Office programs. “I’d been hearing a lot about cloud computing and really liked what I saw in Office 365,” Walther says.

You’ll learn more from Owner and Founder, Michael Cabrera, about why they needed Office 365 through this video:

Walther and three colleagues tested Office 365 from August 2010 to April 2011. By using Microsoft Exchange Online and Microsoft Office 2010 on their desktop computers, they have the latest email functionality, expanded mailbox capacity, shared calendars, and remote access to email messages and contacts from their smartphones.

C&I is getting the most benefit out of Microsoft SharePoint Online. To date, the firm has put about 200 documents in SharePoint sites, and it plans to create a team site for every project. “All documents, notes, calendars, and conversations related to a project will live on Office 365,” Walther says. “Ultimately, we plan to give our customers access to these sites so that they can access documents directly, whenever they want.”

With Office 365, C&I will have a toolset that it can use to help all departments work more efficiently. “If there’s something to be automated, I can automate it. If there’s something to be shared, I can share it. Whatever problem the business faces, Office 365 gives me a complete set of tools for solving it.”

The automatic proposal processing application alone saves Walther about 80 minutes a day. “Over a four month period, I estimate that this application will save me two to three weeks,” he says. “That’s time I can use to take care of other business. Plus, it helps me get proposals in sooner, which improves our appearance as a solution provider.”

C&I finds great value in having the Office 365 applications running in Microsoft data centers. “It’s huge that Office 365 is hosted in the cloud and Microsoft is taking care of it all for just a few dollars a month per user,” says Walther. “It allows me to do my job instead of getting up to speed on something that is not my job. I don’t have the time, patience, or money to build an Exchange Server or SharePoint Server setup for our office.”

Read the full case study and let us know how you are using Office 365 in your business!

Comments (15)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good article Tony, thank you. I've been looking at a strategy to move our design office to a more cloud-centric system of (full featured)office and email applications and after reviewing Office365, it does appear to be the right option for us. We currently host our own exchange server and as we work globally we can't survive without being connected to a, day/night, collaborative work environment. In regards to Google, they do make some great products, some of which I use, and some ok products, but when it comes to business we can't settle for just ok solutions.  

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Espen: Whether using the Google Apps for Business or free version of Gmail, end users find Gmail is just not good enough, either for messaging or as a reliable calendaring tool, or for working offline.  Here are two other companies which needed a productivity solution, rejected Gmail for business use, and made the move to Microsoft Office 365, Toyota Boshoku Corporation and Zyvex Technologies:…/4000010320…/Case_Study_Detail.aspx

  3. Anonymous says:

    thank you

  4. Espen Nolan says:

    Wait, was this a move from consumer Gmail to Office 365? You're blogging about that? Are you kidding me? If so, this is pathetic–that would be like Google blogging about a switch from Hotmail to Google Apps. Wow, you folks are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

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