Office 365: An epiphany in the cloud

Sometimes it takes something to happen in your personal life to help work things out in your business life. In business sometimes we have a tendency to needlessly overcomplicate things to get to the right answer.

by Andrew Henderson, managing director of Lanway CBS.

You agree on the process, and what the success factors are, but sometimes you can’t ignore the feeling that it’s not right, it’s overly complex and convoluted and whatever it is actually just won’t work.

Take cloud for instance, what is it all about? what does it mean? who’s definition is correct? why is it so complex?

Well, I urge you to not even get hung up on this, forget who’s definition is right, which industry veteran or Harvard professor is telling you what it should mean to you – the concept (as with most things) is really simple and like I said at the beginning, it hit home to me in my personal life – when I was moving house.

Packing up the house was not as hard as I thought, we’d prepared weeks in advance. One of the last things (that I was putting off) was to go round the house and the cars to extract all the CDs lying around and get them back in the collection, a lot of them were scratched and scuffed – many of them had no boxes, and many of the boxes had no CDs.

I managed to get them all away in a couple of boxes, and when the van came I struggled with the weight of about 300 CDs in each box.

At the other end we unloaded, and I dropped the CDs off in the garage thinking I’d get them moved into the house later. As it happened, two years later they are still in the garage. Why? Because all my music is now streamed from the cloud for a very low monthly fee.

I used to spend £100 per month on CDs only for them to be scratched, disregarded, lost and now I pay less than one-tenth of that figure to have access to all the music on earth (so they say) – and on reflection this was the exact moment what the cloud was to me really hit home.

Why do I need to own the music ? So I could stare at it in the cabinet every day admiring where all my hard-earned money went ? Or so I could show off to my mates the latest CDs I’d just bought?

Don’t get me wrong, I still miss the experience of buying the music, taking it home and playing it but the benefits of paying less and having access to all music going back years, and new music as soon as it’s released far outweighs this.

Recently I used this life event (I call it a life event because it did feel like an epiphany) when in a customer meeting who shuddered at the very prospect of the cloud, and do you know what, that client is now running Office 365 in the cloud and wondering why he did not make the “leap of faith” sooner.

So what did this mean in simple terms?

  • We saved the client from investing in server hardware £10,000
  • We saved the client from investing in Office Licences £30,000
  • We increased exchange uptime (0.999 availability)
  • We enabled them to use SharePoint (part of the 365 subscription)
  • The client is seeing further efficiencies using Lync
Most importantly, looking at technology through a simplified lens, we were able to not only save the client money, but we saved two senior business leaders approximately 20% of their working week each through the use of modern technology.

Their business is growing at a rate never seen before which they are enjoying and through the use of new technology they are finding that existing staff can cope with the increased workload as IT has simplified processes and increased productivity.

Job done, I’d say. I’m off now to sell all my CDs on Music Magpie (a cloud-based site to sell your obsolete music media).