RET was using an on-premises Microsoft Exchange environment which had become so outdated that further expansion was no longer an option; the archive space, for instance, fell far short of the requirements. As a result, RET was looking for a modern collaboration and communication platform.
"In the past, social media meant that passengers were often better informed of the status of their journey than staff. Now, all RET employees can remain completely up to date — whether on the bus, tram or metro train."
A cloud solution seemed to offer a potential solution to these issues. Onno Donkervoort, ICT Manager at RET states: "We examined all the options out there — from cloud to on-premises solutions. A cloud solution has more options for unlimited email archiving. Access to email is also easier, both for office staff and operational staff. On the other hand, people were skeptical about security and the risks associated with a cloud environment. Historically, RET data has always been kept secure on our servers, whereas we didn't have sufficient experience of the cloud service."
Working with Avanade, their Microsoft Certified Partner, all of the specifications and requirements were considered from an Office 365 cloud perspective. The conclusion was that all the risks fell well within the margins specified.
Since the introduction of Office 365, RET has enjoyed a modern platform for communication and collaboration. Onno Donkervoort: "Email storage in particular has improved massively. This featured at the top of the wish list for RET employees. Now everyone has access to an email archive of several Gigabytes. With Office 365, we now also have added functionality like Lync Online. Chat and video conferencing offer new ways of working and we are seeing a gradual increase in their usage.
The same applies to knowledge sharing. In the cloud, our users can access documents any place and any time; even those belonging to other colleagues. This is a real bonus compared with the old situation, where a lot of information was held on PCs' hard drives, making it inaccessible to others.