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Champion Solutions: IT Solution Provider Finds More Business Advantages with Microsoft Online Services


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Champion Solutions Group wanted to reduce capital expenses, ensure business continuity, and provide its people with collaboration tools that would make their jobs easier and more efficient. After …

Champion Solutions Group wanted to reduce capital expenses, ensure business continuity, and provide its people with collaboration tools that would make their jobs easier and more efficient. After evaluating Google Apps, the company felt Google Apps was not an enterprise-class solution compared to the robust package of capabilities in the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. By deploying the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, Champion has enhanced the productivity of its employees, reduced capital expenses, and built a competitive advantage in its market by transferring its own experience with cloud computing to its customers.

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  • 1. Microsoft Customer Solution Customer Solution Case Study IT Solution Provider Finds More Business Advantages with Microsoft Online ServicesOverview “What concerned us most about Google was what weCountry or Region: United StatesIndustry: Information technology called their ‘roach motel’ approach to the cloud—once you go in, there’s no way out.”Customer ProfileChampion Solutions Group is based in Chris Pyle, President and Chief Executive Officer, Champion Solutions GroupBoca Raton, Florida, with 22 locationsand 135 employees. The company offersIT services for customers throughout the For more than 30 years, Champion Solutions Group has helpedeastern United States and the OhioValley. its customers increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve application availability. The company wanted to reduce its ownBusiness SituationChampion wanted to reduce capital capital expenses, ensure business continuity, and develop aexpenses, ensure business continuity, and communications and collaboration environment that would helpprovide its people with communicationand collaboration tools that would make its employees be more efficient and effective. Champion saw thetheir jobs easier and more efficient. potential of cloud computing to free the company from highSolution costs and help solve its customers’ business challenges. AfterAfter evaluating Google Apps, Champion evaluating hosted messaging and collaboration servicesdeployed the Microsoft BusinessProductivity Online Standard Suite including Google Apps, Champion deployed the Microsoftthroughout all of its 22 locations. Business Productivity Online Standard Suite throughout all itsBenefits locations. Now the company has enhanced the productivity of its• Saved time and reduced costs employees, reduced its capital and operational costs, and built a• Enhanced productivity• Competitive advantage competitive advantage by transferring its experience with cloud computing to its customers.
  • 2. “We didn’t feel that Situation messaging environment. “The talented Champion Solutions Group designs and people we had keeping our own email upGoogle Apps was an deploys virtualization, data management, and running were resources that we could business continuity, and other information put to much better use someplace else,”enterprise-class solution technology (IT) solutions for customers in says Pyle.compared to the robust 11 states throughout the eastern United States and Ohio Valley. Based in Boca To make the most of its financial resources,package of capabilities in Raton, Florida, Champion manages 22 Champion wanted to shift costs from large locations and employs 135 professionals capital investments to more manageableMicrosoft Business who offer a full range of IT service, starting operational expenses. For instance, becauseProductivity Online.” from discovery and system analysis all the Champion is based in a hurricane zone in way through design, implementation, and Florida, the company must incur the cost ofChris Pyle, President and Chief Executive ongoing lifecycle support. duplicate messaging infrastructures: one is Officer, Champion Solutions Group hosted at a company data center in Boca Chris Pyle, President and Chief Executive Raton, and the other at a second data Officer of Champion Solutions Group, likes center in Atlanta, Georgia. “If a hurricane to remind people that his company doesn’t strikes in Boca Raton, we’ve got 21 other just offer IT solutions, however—Champion locations that still need to manage 500 delivers solutions for fundamental business active customers in 11 states,” says Pyle. challenges. “We are in the business of helping our customers increase their Champion wanted a way to ensure its productivity, reduce costs, and improve business continuity while reducing the their application availability,” he says. capital costs of maintaining data centers at “Everything we do through technology is two different locations. “We thought we intended to meet those three goals.” could build a smarter business continuity plan by managing our communication and In its own IT environment, Champion did collaboration resources differently,” says not maintain any specific collaboration Pyle. applications for managing and sharing documents, calendars, and workflows. Pyle saw a way to free his team to innovate People collaborated by sending email and contribute, and release his company messages back and forth, and the company from high capital costs, by hosting the was paying U.S.$3,000 a month for WebEx Champion messaging infrastructure in the web conferencing from Cisco. cloud—locating computing and data- storage resources in large data centers and Champion wanted to make the best use making them available as services over the possible of its most valuable resource: its Internet. As a major competitor in its people. It strives to supply its teams with industry, Champion recognizes the advanced tools that make their jobs easier potential of cloud computing to help solve and more efficient, and Pyle wanted his its customers’ business challenges, and technical staff to remain focused on therefore wants to prepare for a future that delivering quality solutions to Champion’s includes a lot of cloud computing solutions. customers, not spending their time managing the company’s internal
  • 3. “By switching our “We want to be out in front of the versions of the various components of the important developments,” says Pyle. “When suite.communication and we recommend something to our customers, we want to be able to say we “What concerned us most about Googlecollaboration use it too.” was what we called their ‘roach motel’environment to the Solution approach to the cloud—once you go in, Champion looked at offerings from several there’s no way out,” says Pyle. “If weBusiness Productivity providers of hosted messaging services. installed Google Apps and trained Engineers at Champion evaluated Google everybody in how to use it, and then forOnline Standard Suite, Apps—hosted productivity services from some reason cloud computing wasn’t rightwe’ve been able to Google—as well as the Microsoft Business for our business, we’d have nowhere to go; Productivity Online Standard Suite, a we’d have to start all over and retrainreduce our costs, refocus collection of messaging and collaboration everybody. With the Microsoft solution, if services hosted in Microsoft data centers we decided the cloud wasn’t meeting ouremployees to more and offered through Microsoft Online changing needs, it would be easy to switchproductive areas, and Services. Champion determined that the to on-premises versions of Microsoft Microsoft offering had more depth and Exchange Server or Microsoft SharePointgain peace of mind offered a clearer path toward future Server without having to retrain our whole development. staff.”about serviceavailability.” “We didn’t feel that Google Apps was an Champion manages its email messaging enterprise-class solution compared to the environment by using Exchange Online,Chris Pyle, President and Chief Executive robust package of capabilities in Microsoft without having to maintain duplicate Officer, Champion Solutions Group Business Productivity Online,” says Pyle. messaging infrastructures. This option “When we tried to find out what Google provides reliable global availability through and other providers were planning three the Internet, reduces capital expenses, and years out, we didn’t find any good answers, frees IT staff to work on more productive but Microsoft Online Services offers a tasks. With SharePoint Online, Office Live strong roadmap into the future that we can Meeting, and Office Communications use to deliver IT services in a new way.” Online, all 135 Champion employees across 11 states now communicate and After successfully completing a 30-day collaborate easily and efficiently, without pilot, Champion installed the complete having to rely on third-party solutions. Business Productivity Online Standard Suite throughout the company in January 2010, The company has developed 14 SharePoint including Microsoft Exchange Online, Online portals, such as a marketing site Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft where teams can develop and share Office Live Meeting, and Microsoft Office resources for specific projects or Communications Online. One of the things campaigns, and a human resources site that Champion liked best about the where employees can find applications and Business Productivity Online Standard Suite workflows for benefits, time off, or hiring was the flexibility of being able to choose processes. Employees can easily discover between cloud-based and on-premises when a person they need is available, by using instant messaging features in Office
  • 4. “We are using Communications Online such as links to Exchange Online, Champion reduced the calendars and presence indicators that cost of maintaining a secondary data centerSharePoint Online to display whether contacts are available, in Atlanta. “We don’t need the disaster- busy, in a meeting, or away. recovery site to support our messaging andhelp us get 135 SharePoint environments anymore becauseemployees in 11 states Champion has recently developed a team those things are now always available up in that is dedicated to creating cloud the cloud,” says Pyle. “We got rid of sixto think with one mind solutions for its customers based on servers and we’re saving U.S.$2,000 a Business Productivity Online. “Our mission month for data center space.”and speak with one is to increase productivity, reduce costs,voice. That’s a benefit and improve application availability for our The company has also reduced the customers,” says Pyle. “With the reliability, management burden on its IT staff becausethat Google Apps could manageability, and flexibility of Microsoft it no longer has to manage an on-premises Online Services, we can meet all three of messaging infrastructure, and becausenot come close to those objectives.” many routine management processes areoffering.” automated with Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. For example, ChampionChris Pyle, President and Chief Executive Benefits IT staff does not have to spend time Officer, Champion Solutions Group By deploying the Microsoft Business backing up email messages and document Productivity Online Standard Suite, libraries, saving about U.S.$700 a month. Champion has enhanced the productivity of its employees, reduced its capital expenses, “Before, I had resources working the and built a competitive advantage in its equivalent of one half-time person on market by transferring its own experience managing the messaging and collaboration with cloud computing to its customers. “By servers,” says Pyle. “Now I can redirect switching our communication and those resources to more productive, collaboration environment to the Business strategic tasks that make us money.” Productivity Online Standard Suite, we’ve been able to reduce our costs, refocus Enhanced Productivity employees to more productive areas, and Champion employees are communicating gain peace of mind about service more efficiently and effectively with availability,” says Pyle. “Now we can show features such as presence awareness in our customers how we can use Microsoft Office Communications Online and shared Online Services to help them get that done calendars in Exchange Online. “With the too.” calendars linked to messaging, we can make our communication tremendously Saved Time and Reduced Costs more productive,” says Pyle. “If somebody With Office Communications Online and is trying to send me an instant message, Office Live Meeting, Champion has the presence awareness automatically enhanced its instant messaging and web shows them if I’m in a meeting. They know conferencing capabilities without having to not to disturb me, and they can easily find spend an additional U.S.$36,000 a year for out when I will be available.” WebEx web conferencing. And by managing its messaging environment with
  • 5. According to Pyle, his employees are Microsoft Online Servicesmaking Champion a more productive andeffective company by using SharePointOnline to share resources and worktogether across business teams andlocations. “We are using SharePoint Onlineto help us get 135 employees in 11 statesto think with one mind and speak with onevoice,” he says. “That’s a benefit thatGoogle Apps could not come close tooffering.”Competitive AdvantageChampion’s experience with the BusinessProductivity Online Standard Suite hashelped the company develop a competitivedifferentiator, open new markets, andattract new customers. In just a fewmonths, Champion deployed solutionsusing Microsoft Online Services for 15customers, and the company has morethan 100,000 seats in its pipeline ofcustomers who have completed cloudcomputing assessments.“More people attend our marketing eventsfor the Business Online ProductivityStandard Suite than for any other solutionswe offer. It’s been the most widelyaccepted offering that we have introducedin a very long time,” says Pyle. “Ourcustomers want to decapitalize IT; theywant a greener footprint; and they want tobe more productive with the resources theyhave. All the reasons that I moved mybusiness to the Business OnlineProductivity Standard Suite are the samereasons that we have 100,000 seats in ourcloud computing pipeline.”
  • 6. For More Information Microsoft Online Services are business-classFor more information about Microsoft communication and collaboration solutionsproducts and services, call the Microsoft delivered as a subscription service andSales Information Center at (800) hosted by Microsoft. With these offerings,426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft customers can cost-effectively access theCanada Information Centre at (877) most up-to-date technologies and568-2495. Customers in the United States immediately benefit from streamlinedand Canada who are deaf or hard-of- communications, simplified management,hearing can reach Microsoft text and business-class reliability and securitytelephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) features.892-5234. Outside the 50 United Statesand Canada, please contact your local For more information, visit:Microsoft subsidiary. To access using the World Wide Web,go more information about ChampionSolutions Group products and services,visit the following Software and Services • Microsoft Office Live Meeting • Microsoft Online Services • Microsoft SharePoint Online • Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite • Microsoft Exchange Online • Microsoft Office Communications OnlineThis case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published July 2010