CoAction was feeling the pressure of meeting the demands of a mobile workspace. It needed to adapt its existing email system to allow for remote access which would have the ability to expand in line with the group’s growth and development. PFH facilitated this by implementing Microsoft Office 365 as a cloud based solution to ensure that CoAction would have reliable remote access to its email system as it extends its services to an ever-increasing number of communities in West Cork.
CoAction, a support group founded over 40 years ago in Bantry, Co Cork, was established by parents and friends to ensure that children with an intellectual disability and autism would have access to a high standard of education in their own communities.
Its philosophy of ‘a local service for local needs’ means that almost 600 adults and 140 children access this support network throughout West Cork.
CoAction’s office expansion to areas across the county meant that it had an ever greater need for remote access to its email system and flexibility with its mailbox sizes, while at the same time making sure that it was adhering to security and governance compliance rules.
Furthermore, CoAction was facing issues relating to its server environment. Its current speed and uptime limitations led to decreased productivity, as well as a lack of availability when trying to access remote sessions.
CoAction needed to replace its on premise Microsoft Windows Terminal Server so that all users, whether in its Bantry headquarters or at the other five remote offices in West Cork, could access it. It was important for CoAction that the new server would have the capability of handling multiple sessions from the remote locations, which its existing system had difficulty doing.
The facility to seamlessly cater for future growth was also an intrinsic consideration in implementing the new system.
PFH analysed the needs of the customer and concluded that a cloud based solution, Microsoft Office 365, would be the most suitable resolution to ensure that CoAction would have availability, scalability and remote access to its email system.
PFH transferred all of CoAction’s existing mailboxes to the new Office 365 email system with minimal disruption to service. This creates a closely-connected workplace and provides users with the benefit of being able to access their email at any time whether at work or from home.
PFH advocated Microsoft Azure as the optimum cloud based server to provide users access to their Remote Desktops over their local connection. The advantage of this is that it will no longer be dependent on the Wide Area Network connection to Bantry for mail, and the physical servers there can now be decommissioned.
Looking to the future, the new server can be easily expanded simultaneously with CoAction’s growth and further development of services to the communities of West Cork.
CoAction has efficiently transitioned to a centralised Microsoft Office365 Email system located in the Cloud that contributes to its progression as a mobile workplace and which can match its needs in line with future growth.
Users are no longer restricted to utilizing their email only from work, rather they are now in-keeping with the modern adage of ‘Anytime and Anywhere’ access. Not only is the efficiency in communication between offices and workers improved, but additionally the ease by which users can access emails is also enhanced as they are now available on multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.
The new system is attuned to changes regarding employees as it has the ability to scale the amount of licences it holds in accordance with the number of people who work with the organisation. CoAction also benefits from a charitable status when it comes to licensing, as PFH leveraged the favourable pricing model which Microsoft provides for some charities.
In addition to a vastly improved email system, users also have the benefit of accessing the newest Microsoft Office tools, such as SharePoint, which facilitates team collaboration, and Skype for Business, which enables instant messaging, audio and video calling. These applications further maximise productivity and communication among CoAction users.
CoAction’s migration from its former server to Microsoft Remote Desktop Services for Windows Azure translates into a significant saving in cost as the WAN lines are replaced by the low-cost server environment located in the Cloud. Physical servers were decommissioned, which further contributes to cost-effectiveness, decreased downtime, and improvements in connectivity and communication.
Going forward, CoAction is further benefited by PFH’s central management of the Remote Desktop Services from the Infrastructure Management Centre based in Cork.