"Economically speaking, we will reduce the cost of operating the mail- and calendar platform by 50% in transitioning to Office 365. At the same time we will get a more versatile and scalable productivity platform than today."

IT Director, Peter Munk Larsen, Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen

B&O switches to Office 365 and halves their operational costs

B&O reduces costs for mail and calendar by 50% with Office 365. At the same time, the company gains access to productivity tools and a significantly increased amount of data capacity per user. Last, but not least, the company gets automated access for services and updates.

Focus on costs

There is often a discrete B&O product hidden when the villain turns on the music in a Hollywood movie, the new Aston Martin pulls up in front of a restaurant or the doors open to a classy home anywhere in the world. For the last many years the products from Danish Bang & Olufsen have been the incarnation of quality and design in absolute world class. But as many other brands, B&O had to have an increased focus on the level of costs due to the economic recession.

IT Director, Peter Munk Larsen, Bang & Olufsen says: “At the time we are not as many employees as we used to be. It would be nice if this fact was reflected in the IT department’s level of costs but that’s sadly not the reality. The server room still needs to be cooled and the e-mail server has to be updated even though we have fewer users in the system.”

Correspondingly, a traditional operational model makes it expensive to turn up the volume when the company someday needs to supply more new users with an e-mail account and other collaboration tools.

Peter Munk Larsen adds: “In brief, we need more flexibility and a linear relation between the level of cost and the actual patterns of consumption.”

Access to the newest technology

On this basis B&O decided to go for Microsoft Office 365 and to use practically all of the possibilities within communications- and collaboration solutions in the cloud based productivity suite.

Peter Munk Larsen says: “Our strategy is to use Microsoft and SAP to the extent possible – and we are already using a number of Microsoft’s productivity tools from the Office family. At the same time, our demands for these solutions are not significantly different than any other large companies. That’s why it makes sense to go for a standardized Office 365 platform instead of a customized one.”

With the transition to Office 365, B&O can discontinue their own e-mail and calendar installations as well as a number of attached services. At the same occasion, B&O gets access to the collaboration tools in Microsoft Lync that is integrated in Office 365. This will replace the current Office Communications Server. With this tool, it will be easier to link to partners and suppliers through chat, online meeting and information on presence and so on.

Peter Munk Larsen says: “In other words, the point is not only that it will be significantly cheaper to operate solutions as mail and SharePoint but also that we will gain access to tools such as Exchange, Lync, SharePoint, Office and future updates of all products in the suite without any additional cost. Furthermore, we will have better possibilities in supporting different browsers and devices in the future. This will among other things make it possible to deliver standard IT services on all the platforms that our employees use – also on Linux and Mac.”

He adds: “At the same we will avoid having to patch or upgrade the collaboration tools ourselves, which implies a valuable and independent project process per se. Finally, we won’t have to pay for an ongoing upgrade of the hardware in the server park. All this factors makes the IT budget more predictable.”

The IT department at B&O is the first to gain access to Office 365. This will happen during the summer 2011, whereupon the rest of the company’s 1.500 knowledge workers will follow in the fall. At the same time Office 365 provides the possibility to service the production workers and other employees in an economical sound manner, as these employees do not have access to e-mail and calendar today.

Reducing operational costs by 50%

Even with the most conservative calculations that Peter Munk Larsen made there is a solid and sound economic base for the decision.

He says: “Economically speaking, we will reduce the cost of operating the mail- and calendar platform by 50% in transitioning to Office 365. At the same time we will get a more versatile and scalable productivity platform than today; it only takes a couple of minutes to create or discontinue any user account.”

Furthermore, the e-mail users will get 25 GBs of storage compared to 0.5 GB today.

Peter Munk Larsen explains: “When gaining access to even more capacity with Office 365 while saving a significant amount of money on operations, this is of course do to us not being able to operate a data center as efficient and cheap as Microsoft when only being a medium sized company. At the same time I can release manpower from IT operations and focus more on B&O specific projects within BI, CRM and ERP projects.”