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Vinci Construction Group Finds Microsoft Solution Better for Business Than Google Apps
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Vinci Construction Group Finds Microsoft Solution Better for Business Than Google Apps

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VINCI PLC, the largest British subsidiary of VINCI, needed to decide how to integrate the messaging system from recently acquired company Taylor Woodrow Construction into its communications …

VINCI PLC, the largest British subsidiary of VINCI, needed to decide how to integrate the messaging system from recently acquired company Taylor Woodrow Construction into its communications infrastructure, in a way that would allow the company to be agile and efficient. After considering several possible solutions, and carefully investigating the currently-used Google Apps offering, VINCI PLC chose to migrate its new users to Microsoft Outlook Web Access. VINCI PLC users now have a common e-mail and calendaring solution that interoperates with existing applications, and that provides the VINCI PLC IT team greater manageability, improved user satisfaction, simplified IT management, and increased flexibility compared to Google Apps.

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  • What a wonderful win for Microsoft, well done..

    I am really confused though. The headline in this story says 'Vinci turns off Google Apps and turns on 365' but the subsidiary they refer too as turning off 365 is Taylor Woodrow who were purchased in 2008. The decision was made to move all the users to Exchange,with outlook web access (not 365) to bring them in line with the rest of the business.

    So, Vinci didn't turn off Google and go to 365 as the story suggests. In fact that migration appears to pre date 365 by several years. Are Microsoft really that desperate and scared of Google to resort to such clumsy spin.
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  • 1. Microsoft Customer Solution Customer Solution Case Study Construction Group Finds Microsoft Solution Better for Business Than Google AppsOverview ―Many of the things you normally expect to be able toCountry or Region: United KingdomIndustry: Construction supervision and do at an enterprise IT management level were notmanagement services available with Google Apps—things like the ability toCustomer Profile easily manage groups and users.‖With nearly 4,000 employees, United Tina Parfitt, Head of IT, VINCI PLCKingdom–based VINCI PLC handlesconstruction and facilities managementprojects in the public and private sector.The main operating company is VINCI VINCI PLC, the largest British subsidiary of VINCI, needed toConstruction UK Limited. decide how to integrate the messaging system from recentlyBusiness Situation acquired company Taylor Woodrow Construction into itsIn acquiring Taylor Woodrow, VINCI PLC communications infrastructure, in a way that would allow thegained 1,400 employees who usedGoogle Apps for e-mail and calendaring. company to be agile and efficient. After considering severalVINCI PLC sought an alternative e-mail possible solutions, and carefully investigating the currently-usedenvironment for its new staff. Google Apps offering, VINCI PLC chose to migrate its new usersSolution to Microsoft Outlook Web Access. VINCI PLC users now have aAfter evaluating competing solutions,VINCI PLC migrated its new users to common e-mail and calendaring solution that interoperates withMicrosoft Office Outlook Web Access. existing applications, and that provides the VINCI PLC IT teamUsers adjusted to the software with littletraining, and IT staff gained a more greater manageability, improved user satisfaction, simplified ITmanageable system. management, and increased flexibility compared to GoogleBenefits Apps. Straightforward, supportable enterprise e-mail solution Better system and data control Improved user satisfaction Flexibility and extensibility
  • 2. Situation already outsourcing technical support. Founded in 1899 by a pair of French Taylor Woodrow chose Google because it engineers, VINCI has grown into a world seemed to be an easy, inexpensive, and leader in concessions and construction, manageable stand-alone solution. with 164,000 employees in 90 countries and annual revenue of U.S.$50 billion. After the acquisition of Taylor Woodrow, VINCI PLC, based in Hertfordshire, England, the IT staff at VINCI PLC faced the task of is the largest subsidiary of VINCI in the migrating all 1,400 users to an e-mail United Kingdom. VINCI PLC works in four environment that would be interoperable sectors: Building, Civil Engineering, with its own Exchange Server–based Facilities Management, and Air, and it has a solution. Although Taylor Woodrow had Technology division specialising in had some success with Google Apps, VINCI Research and Development for the PLC was concerned about supporting this Construction industry. The company had additional environment and concerned revenue of $1.69 billion in 2008. about the enterprise capabilities of Google―We need a system that Apps. ―There were definitely some usability In September 2008, VINCI PLC acquired issues,‖ says Tina Parfitt, Head of IT atmakes it easy to transfer construction firm Taylor Woodrow, which VINCI PLC. ―Many of the things youe-mail and accounts as had a longstanding relationship with its normally expect to be able to do at an client list and had long-term facilities enterprise IT management level were notpart of selling a business. management contracts with many of its available with Google Apps—things like the clients. With the acquisition, VINCI PLC was ability to easily manage groups and users.‖And we need to be able able to fill a niche in its constructionto connect new users offerings. At the time, VINCI PLC had 1,600 Gmail also posed challenges to the way employees; the acquisition added another VINCI PLC staff normally use e-mail. VINCIquickly when we acquire 1,400 employees, for a total of 3,000. PLC users need to send very large attach- ments, so that employees can transferanother company." When VINCI PLC acquired Taylor Woodrow drawings, plans, blueprints, and other large Tina Parfitt, Head of IT, VINCI PLC Construction, VINCI PLC was using files. Within VINCI PLC, the e-mail system Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 for e-mail, had a 150-megabyte (MB) attachment limit, with a Web mail option for home workers. whereas Gmail had a 20-MB limit. Employees used the Microsoft Office Outlook messaging and collaboration client VINCI PLC was also concerned that any new as their office e-mail application. e-mail system needed to be extremely flexible and easy to reconfigure. Both VINCI Taylor Woodrow, however, had moved all PLC and The VINCI Group have continued its employees from Hewlett Packard growing through acquisitions, and they OpenMail to Google Apps Premier Edition occasionally sell parts of the business as between March and July of 2008. well—for example, since the Taylor Employees had access to the complete Woodrow Construction purchase, VINCI Google Apps suite, including Gmail for e- PLC has sold two of the smaller parts of its mail, Google Calendar, Google Sites, and business and acquired another company. Google Docs, even though the company ―We need a system that makes it easy to was still widely using Microsoft Office. transfer e-mail and accounts as part of Although the company used Microsoft selling a business,‖ notes Parfitt. ―And we Office Outlook as its office e-mail client, it need to be able to connect new users had never used Exchange Server, and it was quickly when we acquire another company.
  • 3. "We wanted an We wanted an enterprise solution we could expensive at first, it costs money to support manage ourselves, because we manage and run it.‖enterprise solution we most of our IT projects, systems, and support in-house.‖ Gmail also presented usability challengescould manage ourselves, for VINCI PLC that could impact employeebecause we manage VINCI PLC had a very tight deadline for productivity. Some VINCI PLC employees making the transition. VINCI PLC acquired work at home and others are often on themost of our IT projects, Taylor Woodrow in September 2008, and road, moving from one construction site to planned to rebrand the company as VINCI another, without guaranteed access to asystems, and support in- Construction UK in January 2009. Taylor fast, reliable Internet connection. ―We havehouse.‖ Woodrow users needed to be able to people who expect to be able to receive receive e-mail through the large drawings,‖ says Parfitt. ―If they don’t Tina Parfitt, Head of IT, VINCI PLC vinciconstruction.co.uk domain as soon as get them quickly, they could have a large possible without messages bouncing back workforce standing around waiting.‖ to the sender, and they needed access to e- mail messages that they had formerly The Gmail interface was a source of stored in remote Google servers. concern as well. VINCI PLC employees were used to being able to create as many folders as they needed to organise and Solution store their e-mail messages, but Gmail does In spite of a tight timeline, VINCI PLC felt it not offer that option—users can label was important to evaluate a number of messages, but there is no folder capability. different communications solutions in order ―I think Google got that one wrong,‖ says to make a decision that would fit best with Parfitt. ―They believe too strongly in their the company’s long-term business goals to search engine for finding messages, which have a flexible and easily scaled technology is not how many users think. Also, Gmail infrastructure. Starting in September 2008, collapses conversations into single threads, VINCI PLC not only looked at the existing which makes it easy to accidentally forward Google Apps deployment—and considered an entire conversation. If you’re using a the possibility of moving all its users to product like Microsoft Office Outlook Web Google—it looked at other solutions, due Access or the Office Outlook client, you see to the fact that while VINCI PLC was using exactly what you’re forwarding.‖ Microsoft Exchange Server, The VINCI offices in France were using Lotus Notes, Given the tight deployment timeline, VINCI and VINCI PLC had previously used a PLC decided that the best solution would Novell Groupwise system. be to move Taylor Woodrow users over to a messaging system that would be as Multiple Options to Evaluate compatible as possible with the existing VINCI PLC evaluated the Google offering VINCI PLC infrastructure. The company carefully. ―When we looked at the size of looked at available offerings from Microsoft our business and our plans for the future, and felt that for the initial rollout it would we felt that Google Apps would be be easiest to give Taylor Woodrow unmanageable for a business like ours that employees a Web-based e-mail solution to needs to react quickly to changes like provide a smooth transition from Gmail. acquisitions and sell-offs,‖ explains Parfitt. ―And although Google may appear less
  • 4. Smooth Transition to a New Solution Training and Support VINCI PLC made the decision to base the To facilitate the transition to Office Outlook new VINCI Construction UK e-mail solution Web Access, VINCI PLC provided training on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 in materials and hands-on instruction. IT staff conjunction with Microsoft Outlook Web not only placed an Office Outlook Web Access 2007. The first step in the migration Access FAQ site on the company’s process was to move all the existing Taylor Microsoft Office SharePoint Server intranet Woodrow messages and calendars over to portal, it also developed user guides, the new system. Given the lack of easy organised workshops, and replaced Google export tools in Google Apps, VINCI PLC desktop shortcuts with pointers to Office chose to bring in a partner to help with the Outlook Web Access. The company also move. With assistance from Microsoft, enlisted some of its ―super users‖ as in- VINCI PLC hired BitTitan, a software office resources to answer questions and development company and Registered give advice to other employees. Member of the Microsoft Partner Program that specialises in helping clients Most users adapted quickly to the new implement solutions based on the system. ―From the user point of view, it was Microsoft environment. as simple as adjusting to a new Web-based―From the user point of e-mail system,‖ says Parfitt. ―We sent out VINCI PLC was pleased with its choice of invitations to 1,400 users for a migrationview, it was as simple as BitTitan for this project. ―We felt they were workshop, and only 50 people replied. It an extremely willing partner who turned out that most of them had basicadjusting to a new Web- collaborated with us to do something that questions, so we did not need the largebased e-mail system." is not easy,‖ says Parfitt. ―They worked with workshops, and we only held training for us to develop a migration tool that pushed those users with more sophisticated Tina Parfitt, Head of IT, VINCI PLC the boundaries as much as possible, while requirements.‖ still keeping our strict deadline in mind. They faced a lot of technical challenges, but By choosing a robust and well-established the transition went smoothly. There aren’t messaging environment, VINCI PLC gained any other tools out there on the market, so access to a wealth of easily accessed it was quite an achievement.‖ support and troubleshooting information. ―If you’ve got an Exchange issue, you BitTitan not only transferred all e-mail usually don’t need to call a support line,‖ messages, but also automatically converted explains Parfitt. ―So much information is users’ labels from Gmail to Office Outlook already available on the Web, through folders, so that users’ e-mail organisational Microsoft TechNet and other sites. I don’t structures were maintained. Google think we’ve had to call Microsoft more than Calendar entries were moved over as well, three times in five years.‖ so users still had access to historic calendar data. BitTitan was able to complete the On the other hand, VINCI PLC had major project in only a few months, making it concerns with Google support. ―We asked possible for the conversion of Taylor them basic questions about things like Woodrow accounts to VINCI Construction network administration rights—the sort of UK accounts to take place on schedule in things you need to do quickly after an August 2009. acquisition—and we found we were logging a lot of calls,‖ says Parfitt. ―The
  • 5. information just isn’t out there on the lose some enterprise-level administrative Internet yet.‖ control. For example, with our Microsoft solution, as soon as we deactivate or suspend an Active Directory account, that Benefits user can’t access the system directly or via VINCI PLC has given its newly acquired virtual private network [VPN].‖ employees an e-mail system that is not only easy to use, but that has improved Improved User Satisfaction functionality compared to Google Apps. The former Google Apps users who are With Office Outlook Web Access in place, now part of VINCI Construction UK have VINCI PLC now has standardised on been pleased with Office Outlook Web Microsoft e-mail solutions, which simplifies Access. ―We received quite a lot of positive IT support, increases system and data feedback,‖ says Parfitt. ―The interface looks control, and puts VINCI PLC in an excellent better, sending e-mails is easier, spell- position to adapt its infrastructure to checking is better, and users have access to changing business needs. a single global address list. They also"The variety and appreciate the folder capabilities they have Straightforward, Supportable Enterprise now for message storage and organisation,interoperability of E-mail Solution and they don’t have to worry about theMicrosoft offerings By standardising on Microsoft solutions for attachment-size restrictions of Google e-mail and calendaring, VINCI PLC has Mail.‖ensures that we have the established a communications infrastructure that fits the company’s needs Flexibility and Extensibilitytools we need to support and goals. ―It’s about having something VINCI PLC and VINCI Construction UK aresmart business that we can easily manage and support well-positioned for future growth and internally with minimal training,‖ says changes with a communicationsdecisions.‖ Parfitt. ―And standardising on Microsoft infrastructure based on Microsoft tools. The tools makes it simple for us to adapt as the companies already have their next steps Tina Parfitt, Head of IT, VINCI PLC structure of the business changes. It means planned. ―As soon as we can, we’re going we can plan for the future without worrying to move 100 of our users to the full version about technical details.‖ of Office Outlook,‖ says Parfitt. ―The variety and interoperability of Microsoft offerings Better System and Data Control ensures that we have the tools we need to As part of the transition to Office Outlook support smart business decisions.‖ Web Access, VINCI PLC has taken all of the e-mail and calendar data that had previously been stored on hosted servers and brought it all in-house. The company now manages its own applications on- premises as well, so it can better administer and control programs and data. ―When we were making our decision, we considered the fact that moving to a hosted solution meant taking our data out of our data centre and putting it in someone else’s hands, which potentially has risks,‖ says Parfitt. ―With a hosted solution, we also
  • 6. For More Information Microsoft Server Product PortfolioFor more information about Microsoft For more information about the Microsoftproducts and services, call the Microsoft server product portfolio, go to:Sales Information Center at (800) 426- www.microsoft.com/servers/default.mspx9400. In Canada, call the MicrosoftCanada Information Centre at (877) 568- For more information about Microsoft2495. Customers in the United States and Exchange Server, go to:Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing www.microsoft.com/exchangecan reach Microsoft text telephone(TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234.Outside the 50 United States andCanada, please contact your localMicrosoft subsidiary. To accessinformation using the World Wide Web,go to:www.microsoft.comFor more information about BitTitanproducts and services, visit the Web siteat:www.bittitan.comFor more information about VINCIConstruction UK products and services,visit the Web sites at:www.vinciconstruction.co.ukwww.vinci.plc.uk Software and Services  Microsoft Server Product Portfolio  Microsoft Outlook Web Access 2007 − Microsoft Exchange Server 2003  Microsoft Office − Microsoft Office Outlook 2007This case study is for informational purposes only.MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS ORIMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.Document published February 2010