More and more, we learn about Microsoft customers who take advantage of flexibility in a hybrid approach to the cloud. Let’s hear from Cablemás about their productivity solution.
Cablemás, a telecommunications leader in Mexico, aims to offer high-quality communications and entertainment solutions, competitive prices, and superior customer service. The company wants to make cable television, broadband Internet, and digital telephony service available to everyone in Mexico.
Cablemás wanted to provide its 2,500 field employees with email access to help increase their interaction with the company’s central office and foster improved customer service. Employees at the central office used Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, an on-premises messaging solution, but field employees would often use their own personal email aliases for communication. “We had no official email system for employees in the field. The lack of standardized email communication decreased their productivity because it was so difficult to exchange information with their managers and to be informed about corporate direction,” says Ortega.
Solutions and Benefits
“We turned to Microsoft for advice, which is when we learned that we were a good candidate to adopt the kiosk version of Microsoft Exchange Online to extend our email environment to a cloud service,” says Ortega. Because the kiosk version of Exchange Online is designed for “deskless” workers, it was a good fit for the field employees at Cablemás.
The company liked the idea of using a hybrid environment made up of its existing servers combined with cloud services. Before it came to a final decision, Cablemás explored cloud services from other vendors, such as Google. “We determined that Exchange Online would be a better fit for us because we have an established relationship with Microsoft, and we trust Microsoft and its products and services,” says Ortega. “We also knew that the Microsoft solution would be easier for employees to use and for our IT staff to manage because everyone was familiar with Microsoft technologies.”
As of February 2012, the company’s 2,500 field employees all use Exchange Online. Cablemás will consider moving all its employees to the cloud service in 2013, when it has to make a decision about upgrading its Exchange Server 2007 infrastructure. Cablemás also anticipates adopting the kiosk version of Microsoft SharePoint Online in the future.
“As a result of using Exchange Online, employees are enjoying enhanced productivity and improved access to information. The company is delivering faster, higher-quality service to its customers because our field employees are able to make better decisions,” says Ortega. Field employees can send messages with attachments that are up to 25 megabytes in size and use single sign-on access to get to their email and other information without having to use a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
“Even though we now are serving 2,500 more employees, we did not have to take time or invest up to MXN$320,594 [US$25,000] in server and storage costs to expand our infrastructure,” says Ortega. “We also avoided MXN$128,240 [US$10,000] in consulting and services fees.”
Because Microsoft manages the majority of the administrative tasks for Exchange Online, Cablemás did not need to add IT staff to manage all the new email users. “It would have taken 40 hours of additional staff time per week with a traditional solution, but I’m supporting both our on-premises and online messaging environments with the same staff, which is pretty impressive,” says Ortega. ”Our IT staff can easily manage the company’s hybrid environment because we do not need to worry about most administrative aspects of Exchange Online. We create users, delete users, and sometimes reset passwords—and that’s it. The Administration console is the only tool that we need for managing Exchange Online. Our IT staff can focus on more important tasks, rather than spending a lot of time keeping the environment working properly.”
In total, the company has more than doubled the number of employees who have email without having to add to its IT staff or make a significant up-front investment in IT infrastructure. Now Cablemás can more effectively reach out to all of its employees to give them the information that they need to improve service to customers. Says Ortega: “We receive an excellent level of service from Microsoft. It is so helpful not to have to worry about maintenance, software updates, upgrades, and so on. We trust Microsoft to keep our email service up and running, and we have not been disappointed.”