Office 365 in International Trade

Aug 14, 2015

Summary

The Achelis Group relies on Office 365 in international trade. The project realisation began in Bremen at the headquarter and then was rolled out for the other locations in East Africa and Southeast Asia. The main aim was optimizing the cooperation among the transnational project teams and lowering the costs of IT in the long term through outsourcing the IT infrastructure of the entire group. In addition, the data backup has been a huge challenge in the African locations; Office 365 cloud solution guarantees a business continuity in case of disaster.

Field of Business

Achelis is an internationally operating trading company with headquarter in Bremen and has numerous offices in East Africa and Southeast Asia. The group realizes turnkey technical solutions in the fields of Medicine, Water and Energy Equipment Supply for their clients. Maintenance and support services are provided on-site by the respective local office.

Motivation

The Achelis group has been expanding rapidly in the recent years. However, the complexity of the projects has also increased, the projects are getting larger and increasingly transnational. This requires better cooperation between the teams in different locations and better tools to support these teams.

Heterogeneous grown of IT infrastructures on different locations also represented a huge problem. As a result completely different processes were established at these sites. The cooperation between distributed teams became increasingly difficult, since there were no synergies between the sub-processes of the overall process. Furthermore, the costs of maintaining the different IT infrastructures and personnel were also increasing.

Project Realisation

The launch of the project took place at the headquarter in Bremen. After a thorough process analysis the data migration was performed from the existing on-premises Exchange Server to Microsoft Exchange Online server. A cutover migration was not possible here, because for many years the e-mails with attachments had been archived using a third-party tool which separated the email from its attachment.

However, the third party software allowed an export of all email archives as PST files. The copying of these PST archives to Exchange Online server was done using Microsoft Azure hosted Office 365 instances, thereby taking the advantage of the high-performance network of Microsoft.

To improve cooperation between project teams and for better document management Axtrion established SharePoint Online project sites for each department. These sites serve not only as a document repository for projects, but also provide the distributed teams a common workspace for collaboration, where the members can always find the current project-related information.

Communication and collaboration has also been significantly improved by the introduction of Skype for Business. The system supports distributed teams through short messages (chat), audio calls (replacing telephone calls through VoIP), video-conferencing system and screen sharing, including sharing the control of the desktop or the program with other participants. In this project Axtrion has used Skype for Business for the remote Office 365 training of people in overseas locations.

Benefits

By using the Microsoft Office 365 cloud platform Achelis has achieved the following benefits:

  • Increased efficiency through process and technology optimisation
  • Corporate Identity by homogeneous tools and processes
  • Location independence: access to centralised company data from anywhere
  • Mobile access to applications and data via the web browser
  • Collaborative work across corporate boundaries
  • Complete disaster recovery in the cloud
  • 99.99% availability of applications and data
  • Significant savings of IT costs (No maintenance and administrative costs)

Axtrion has shown us that innovation is not achieved by only replacing the existing on-premises systems through the cloud, but by pursuing a comprehensive approach that takes into consideration the business processes, existing soft and hardware as well as the users to be successful and sustainable.

Michael Ruch

Owner & Managing Director, Achelis Group