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The work of a modern-day IT administrator can be tough: keeping the infrastructure healthy is often just the beginning in a business world intent on squeezing every last drop out of staff in the name of optimising efficiency.
Take tourism for example – a hotel that needs to cut costs might have a sole computer manager in charge of training and supporting other users, supervising CCTV systems and controlling IP system announcements. Throw in an exchange server to deal with, and that more than enough responsibility.
Coming to a timely rescue in this instance is Microsoft Office 365, which includes hosted services Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. Now our hotel IT admin can shift emails to the cloud, they can stop stressing about updates, patches and hooks for a physical exchange server, and can focus efforts elsewhere.
With those key areas taken care of, the weekend needn’t be plagued with fears of what problems Monday might bring for the physical exchange server. It’s a weight lifted.
Many firms turn to the cloud for its time-saving properties, but cost can be an equally significant incentive for businesses with creaking infrastructures that might be struggling to cope with dynamic, increasingly weighty workloads.
Expanding enterprises frequently find that silos need to be taken out of the equation in order to modernise and increase collaboration within a workforce. Moving to Office 365 can help by reducing the number of servers, both real and virtual, while web conference functions can turn long-distance communication into a low-cost and highly effective meeting that can be structured around the working day.
The Office 365 suite comes with an array of software tools that enable staff to send instant messages, collaborate through a remote desktop connection and take advantage of quick and easy file sharing without a virtual private network tunnel.
IT administrators will find that the upfront costs are paid back time and again through savings made, as Office 365 can overcome the need to purchase, build and maintain multiple servers. Peace of mind from the package’s service-level agreement, under which the system is required to get back up and running within 48 hours should malfunction occur.
Crucially, the flexibility of Office 365 means users can sign into accounts from a range of devices. Done in a safe way with a solid protection and backup solution, this can leverage the benefits of remote working and bring your own device (BYOD).
Cost savings can be made if staff are able to use their own laptops, but integrating more devices can often translate into a more convenient service for customers. For example, it might be more desirable, professional and infinitely more useful to use a tablet when completing orders with customers in-store, than to rely on outdated methods.
Moving operations to the cloud takes focus off maintaining physical servers, enabling IT staff to put more time towards supporting initiatives such as those detailed above.
Few wholesale changes in technology are without their obstacles. Accordingly, IT directors may encounter challenges when migrating data to the cloud, especially where email is concerned. Supporting a high number of users with various aliases can be problematic, as can relying on out of date storage structures.
It can also be difficult to get employees to buy into new systems and working behaviours, especially when you’re talking about converting staff members who have been used to doing it their way for over a decade.
Centralising data from any number of separate sites and silos is another potential sticking point, but in the long-term Office 365 can iron out redundancy creases, leading to a formidable drop in the amount of data that firms actually need to store.
Electing to go to a cloud model can enable businesses to simplify and bring down costs. Using the Dell EMC® Advisory for Microsoft Office 365, managers can get the guidance they need to assess cost savings against specific business requirements.
Key findings inform recommendations that allow those in charge to hold cloud models up against business priorities so that the right solution can be found, whether that’s consolidation onto a private cloud, migration to a service provider, or establishing the groundwork for a hybrid cloud.