SMD Case Study

Requirement: Microsoft Office 365

SMD needed to migrate from an aged on-premise server to a modern, Cloud-based solution.

The Client

Based in Poole, Dorset, Structural Metal Decks (SMD) is a leading Steel Engineering business specialising in composite metal decking. Its products have been utilised in a number of high-profile building projects, including the Shard and Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5. 

SMD was utilising Windows Small Business Server - now a discontinued product - which would have left the company vulnerable to cyber-attacks, as well as any bugs not being patched and the threat of newer software not being compatible. It was therefore critical to find a replacement for the ageing system. Additionally, the ability to get support at any time was imperative to SMD due to the growth of their support office in India. This meant that it was essential to SMD for its employees to be able to access company data remotely, at remote offices in the Midlands and Scotland, and in the Head Office in Poole, as well as having support available during the times when its India office would be open.

Technical Solution

Structural Metal Decks was using a number of Microsoft products across the business, including various iterations of Office. Exchange 2010 was incorporated as part of Small Business Server and provided 60 mailboxes, as well as 3 shared calendars. Being an accredited Microsoft Cloud Productivity Partner and with over 20 years’ IT Services and Solutions experience, GCI felt that due to SMD’s familiarisation with Microsoft’s software, it would be sensible to recommend another Microsoft product – the Cloud-based Office 365. The use of a Cloud solution was deemed to be an economical option for SMD, as it would negate the need to replace or upgrade the existing hardware solution at great expense. Instead, Office 365 is available at a per-user, per-month price, allowing SMD to scale its number of IT users up and down on demand in line with the company’s growth, as well as reducing overhead costs.

The additional desire for SMD to keep existing mailboxes and calendars which were hosted via Exchange 2010 would have required the company to purchase this on-premise solution at an additional cost to avoid disruption to its services. However, with Office 365 there was no need for supplementary software, and all emails, mailboxes and calendars were transferred seamlessly. GCI also provided Structural Metal Decks with the migration of its email from Exchange 2010 to Office 365 with Azure Directory Synchronisation, implemented in order to provide password synchronisation. 

Success and Company Benefits

By switching to Office 365, Structural Metal Decks now operate using a cohesive, cost-effective solution which has aligned all staff onto the same software.  With Office 365 guaranteeing 99.9% uptime, SMD felt that it was utilising a more reliable product with the added benefit of reducing the overheads associated with physical servers. In addition to managing the billing and technical support for Office 365 via Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Programme, SMD had the confidence in GCI’s expertise to provide 24/7 support, covering all areas of the IT Infrastructure. This meant that as well as those in the UK, the support office in India had access to GCI’s technical experts during their own operating hours.

SMD’s Technical Director, Jamie Turner, said: “Switching from our previous solution to Office 365 has had a real cost benefit to us. Not only does it mitigate the need for a costly onsite Exchange server, but there is a straightforward “cost per user, per annum” pricing structure – there are no more expensive surprises when hardware needs to suddenly be replaced. GCI recommended the exact product that we needed, and also do an exemplary job of managing it for us.” 



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