This is the first in a series of customer testimonial blog posts. In this post, Afie Makinde of Transcorp shares her thoughts about why her company chose Microsoft Online Services and how that decision has changed her company.
My name is Afie Makinde and I am the head of Information Technology &Projects (IT&P) for Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), a Nigerian conglomerate that specializes in the Oil & Gas, Agro-business, Real Estate and Hospitality industry. A company of 40 employees, our mission is to build world class businesses of Nigerian origin. Shortly after taking on the role of managing the IT department at Transcorp, I conducted a thorough assessment of the systems, tools and processes and immediately identified a critical need to update our IT systems in line with our corporate vision, to grow by acquisition. The system I found in place could not support our strategy as the systems were not scalable, not efficient and not LEAN. Subsequently, I began evaluating multiple vendors to replace our in-house hosted email system (MS Exchange). Since we had recently made two acquisitions, I needed to have the flexibility to scale the number of seats we had up or down based on our changing business needs.
Because Transcorp is a leading edge company with operations that will extend throughout Africa, moving to the cloud seemed like the right move for us. One that would provide our employees with the tools and data they need to complete their jobs regardless of location.
Having previously worked for several large US based companies, I was very familiar with Microsoft but was intrigued by Google. There’s no denying their price was attractive. I thought ‘going Google’ could help us achieve significant cost savings. At $50 per user per year, Google Apps seemed like both an affordable and feasible solution for our growing business. However, not long after we considered them, several issues emerged.
Change management was one of our biggest issues. Our employees were familiar with and liked Microsoft Office. We regularly used Calendaring, Forms and OneNote. Training everyone to use Google apps would be both costly and time consuming. Another issue was support. I knew we wanted a relationship with a vendor, not just a product. I needed to be able to trust them but without a physical presence in our area, I had to ask myself, “If I have an issue, will Google be there?”
We ultimately chose to work with Infographics, a local company that is a reseller for Microsoft Online Services. In addition, Infographics is a known entity in the IT industry in Nigeria. With Microsoft, we knew we were getting technology that would be familiar, reliable and supported by a local partner who knew us and our business needs. Within a 2-week period, we were successfully migrated to BPOS and this solution has been well received by the staff. The BPOS solution has ensured that our managers who spend a considerable amount of time on the road can access their emails ‘on-the-go’; collaborate on documents in and out of the office and create documents with little effort. Most importantly, the in-office chats using the Office Communicator has made communication very instant and seamless between offices in different states. Finally, our company did not have an intranet site until we installed this solution using the Portal to share information with employees. From an efficient standpoint, we no longer need to maintain a dedicated server for exchange. With Microsoft, we are able to move to the cloud on our terms and we have the added benefits of a consistent user experience that meets our business needs.
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