Business Degrees Online by yiq12320


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									                                          Microsoft Online Services
                                          Customer Solution Case Study

                                          Professional Services Firm Saves 44 Percent
                                          on Communications with Online Services

Overview                                  “We implemented four products with little upfront
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Professional services           costs and added disaster recovery capabilities that we
                                          would not have deployed on our own. Going with
Customer Profile
Based in Seattle, Washington, Two         Microsoft Online Services was an easy decision."
Degrees, LLC is a professional services
                                                                  Michele Bleser, Director of Technology, Two Degrees, LLC
firm and the parent company of three
autonomous divisions: Two Degrees,        Two Degrees, LLC, a professional services firm headquartered in
Slalom Consulting, and Xversity. It
employs more than 900 people.
                                          Seattle, Washington, planned to upgrade its key messaging and
                                          collaboration solutions and boost its disaster recovery and data
Business Situation
Two Degrees, LLC wanted to offer its
                                          privacy practices. Instead of paying for on-premises migrations,
employees the latest communication        new hardware, and a more secure data center, Two Degrees, LLC
and collaboration services while
reducing IT and data security costs.
                                          became an early adopter of Microsoft® Online Services. Its
                                          autonomous technology solutions division, Slalom Consulting,
With the Microsoft® Business
                                          deployed the hosted solution to deliver the security,
Productivity Online Standard Suite,       communication, and collaboration functionality that Two
Two Degrees, LLC replaced on-
premises investments with a low-cost
                                          Degrees, LLC consultants need to focus on customers and work
monthly subscription to e-mail and        productively onsite or at the office—at a 44 percent lower cost
collaboration software hosted by
Microsoft Online Services.
                                          per person than it originally budgeted for. After successfully
                                          deploying Microsoft Online Services for its parent company,
 Reduced operational costs
                                          Slalom Consulting can now offer Microsoft Online Services to
 Enhanced productivity                   customers ahead of its competitors.
 Built a competitive advantage
 Increased new revenue streams
 Opened up new lines of business
“To retain customers and                   Situation                                     professional services company looking to
                                           Launched in 1993, Two Degrees, LLC is a       demonstrate its trustworthiness. “The
grow our business, it’s                    professional services firm that provides      nondisclosure agreements that we sign
                                           consulting, staffing, and recruiting          have strict parameters concerning
becoming more                              services to Fortune 500 and midsize           information security and disaster
important to guarantee                     business clients throughout the United        recovery,” says Michele Bleser, Director
                                           States. Headquartered in Seattle,             of Technology at Two Degrees, LLC. “To
world-class disaster                       Washington, Two Degrees, LLC maintains        retain customers and grow our business,
                                           nine offices across the United States and     it’s becoming more important to
recovery and data                          has three autonomous divisions: Two           guarantee world-class disaster recovery
privacy practices,                         Degrees, a financial and accounting           and data privacy practices, especially
                                           professional services firm providing          around our e-mail solution.”
especially around our e-                   resources on a project, interim, or direct
                                           hire basis; Slalom Consulting, a national     The Two Degrees, LLC data center
mail solution.”                            management consulting and technology          currently resides in the firm’s Seattle
 Michele Bleser, Director of Technology,   solutions firm and Microsoft® Gold            office. “We needed to take steps in
                       Two Degrees, LLC    Certified Partner; and Xversity, an early     building a real-time disaster recovery
                                           career staffing service for Master of         solution,” says Bleser. “Many of our
                                           Business Administration graduates and         employees work onsite with customers,
                                           recently graduated professionals.             so an e-mail outage would isolate them
                                                                                         from their remote workplaces and
                                           Two Degrees, LLC founders believe that        interrupt customer communications and
                                           there should be only two degrees of           collaboration with peers.”
                                           separation between customers and their
                                           consultants. Keeping consultants in front     In 2008, Two Degrees, LLC made plans to
                                           of clients is central to the company’s        migrate from Microsoft® Exchange
                                           strategy for building its business. All       Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007 e-
                                           three divisions pride themselves on           mail messaging and collaboration
                                           providing locally-based, responsive           software. This project would entail the
                                           professional services. Two Degrees, LLC       purchase of new hardware and would
                                           has a diversified customer base and           most likely lead to additional costs by
                                           works with Fortune 500 and midsize            forcing a move to a bigger space for its
                                           business clients across all industries.       data center. Two Degrees, LLC began
                                                                                         planning the deployment of Microsoft
                                           “Within the professional services             Office Live Meeting to replace its existing
                                           industry, we work in a fragmented             Web conferencing tool. Management
                                           marketplace where it’s difficult to define    also investigated Microsoft Office
                                           yourself to your customer and establish       Communications Server 2007 for
                                           trust,” says Tony Rojas, President of Two     corporate instant messaging
                                           Degrees, LLC. “This is especially true in a   functionality.
                                           recessionary market because companies
                                           cannot afford to make mistakes on the         When Two Degrees, LLC started
                                           key initiatives for which they are            scheduling these projects for 2009, a
                                           allocating scarce resources.”                 leader from Slalom came forward with a
                                                                                         proposal. Tom Chew, National General
                                           Possessing a secure, stable, and reliable     Manager of Solutions, had been
                                           IT infrastructure is a prerequisite for any   watching the development of the
Microsoft Business Productivity Online         Microsoft. “Microsoft has multiple
Standard Suite. He thought a Microsoft-        facilities with redundancy we couldn’t
hosted messaging and collaboration             hope to replicate and state-of-the-art
solution would be a great fit for Two          monitoring tools for viruses and
Degrees, LLC and for many Slalom               malicious attacks. They are a leader in
customers. At a low per-user, per-month        running world-class data centers,” he
subscription fee, the suite offers hosted      says.
communication and collaboration
services that include a desktop and            The company also took advantage of the
mobile e-mail solution, calendaring and        Microsoft Business Productivity Online
contacts, instant messaging and                Deskless Worker Suite, which includes
presence, shared workspaces, and live          Exchange Online Deskless Worker and
audio-visual Web-conferencing                  SharePoint Online Deskless Worker. Two
applications.                                  Degrees, LLC set up 79 shared, non-user
                                               mailboxes for IT support, marketing, and
Through the Business Productivity Online       recruiting.
Standard Suite, Two Degrees, LLC
consultants and employees would gain           Partnering with Microsoft
access to Microsoft Exchange Online,           In November 2008, Slalom Consulting
SharePoint® Online, Office Live Meeting,       joined the Microsoft Online Services
and Office Communications Online—all           Technology Adoption Program (TAP),
of which are hosted Online Services from       which lasted until March 2009. During
Microsoft. “I see a growing demand for         the TAP, both companies exchanged
hosted commodity IT services, such as e-       feedback on the collection of services.
mail,” says Brent Carney, Slalom’s             “We had a great working relationship
Director of Strategic Alliances. “I wanted     with Microsoft, and our issues were
Slalom to be one of the first firms with a     addressed immediately,” says Bleser.
strong, demonstrated understanding of          “Microsoft even shared with us its
the technology so that we would be             product development plans, so we knew
ready for that wave of opportunity that        what we could look forward to.”
we see coming to market.”
                                               Achieving a Zero Downtime
Solution                                       Deployment
Management at Two Degrees, LLC was             Two Degrees, LLC deployed Microsoft
interested in Microsoft Online Services.       Online Services in March 2009. The
“It was perfect timing,” says Bleser. “All     company chose to migrate from an on-
the products in the suite fit perfectly with   premises solution based on Exchange
our IT strategy for 2009 in terms of           Server to a hosted environment in two
upgrading to Exchange Server 2007,             stages. A “pre-migration” wave was
deploying a richer Web-conferencing            scheduled three days before the main
solution, avoiding additional data center      migration, during which “high-risk” user
costs, and improving our disaster              mailboxes of 6 gigabytes or more were
recovery capabilities.”                        handled individually. Then, the remaining
                                               mailboxes were migrated over in less
Rojas was impressed by the                     than 30 hours during the weekend.
improvements in business continuity
afforded by a solution hosted by
                                                                             Partner, is marketing the hosted
                                                                             communication and collaboration
                                                                             services to customers around the
                                                                             country. “It’s a unique scenario, but
                                                                             everyone benefits,” says Carney. “Our
                                                                             early and close commitment to the TAP
                                                                             means that Microsoft knows we
                                                                             understand their offering, and they are
                                                                             comfortable in bringing us into a sales
                                                                             opportunity. Being a Microsoft Online
                                                                             Services user means we have a high level
                                                                             of expertise that we achieved through
                                                                             our own implementation.”

                                                                             Two Degrees, LLC is enjoying significant
                                                                             benefits since subscribing to Microsoft
                                                                             Online Services. The company has
                                                                             reduced the cost of doing business,
                                                                             enhanced employee productivity, and
                                                                             improved its competitive advantage.
Figure 1. Two Degrees, LLC      “The nice thing about the tools that         Now that Slalom has established itself
    created additional          Microsoft provided for the migration was     early as a technology solution firm with a
    monitoring tools to         that you could write code on top of them     deep understanding of the benefits of
    communicate with            to customize them,” says Erik Pierson,       Microsoft Online Services, it can offer
    employees and achieved a    Infrastructure Manager for Two Degrees       this new line of business before its
                                LLC. “The Slalom IT staff created            competitors, opening new markets, and
    zero downtime deployment.
                                monitoring tools that notified employees     developing new revenue streams.
                                when their mailboxes were going to be
                                migrated and provided them with              Reduces Operational Costs
                                temporary passwords. (See Figure 1.)         For Two Degrees, LLC, the most
                                                                             significant cost savings occurred when
                                Another tool alerted the IT team as to       the company decided to embrace a
                                when the migrations were complete and        hosted scenario for its key
                                if there were suspicious variances in        communication and collaboration
                                mailbox size. (See Figure 2.)                technologies. Suddenly, the costs of in-
                                                                             house migrations and product
                                Today, 750 employees across the three        deployments that the company had
                                divisions at Two Degrees, LLC use            planned for disappeared.
                                Microsoft Exchange Online and Office
                                Live Meeting. The company is also using      “We calculated that if we stayed with an
                                50 Deskless Worker Licenses for shared       on-premises solution, it would cost
                                mailboxes. The company is currently          approximately $34 a head per month as
                                planning the migration of more than 800      compared to Microsoft Online Services at
                                SharePoint sites on its corporate intranet   $15 a head,” says Bleser. “In addition,
                                to SharePoint Online. At the same time,      Microsoft Online Services gave us a cost-
                                Slalom, as a Microsoft Gold Certified        saving licensing model for deskless
                                     workers that’s saving us approximately      the latest versions of key messaging and
                                     $4 per mailbox for shared mailboxes that    collaboration software so that they can
                                     are not assigned to a single individual.”   continue to work productively, at no
                                                                                 extra cost to the company. Already,
                                     Two Degrees, LLC also saves money on        consultants who are on the road or
                                     hardware. If the company had continued      working at customer sites are excited by
                                     with its planned upgrade to Exchange        Microsoft Office Outlook® Web Access
                                     Server 2007, it would have had to           in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. “We
                                     purchase at least three or four new         have quite a few employees, who
                                     servers. Two Degrees, LLC was able to       exclusively use Office Outlook Web
                                     retire its previous Web conferencing        Access, and they love the enhanced user
                                     solution and now utilizes Office Live       interface and better features for creating
                                     Meeting daily.                              meeting requests, searching for
                                                                                 employees, and viewing the
                                     “When we looked at total cost of            organizational chart, whenever they need
                                     ownership, the savings were clear,” says    to,” says Bleser.
                                     Bleser. “We implemented four products
                                     with little upfront costs and added         With a geographically dispersed group
                                     disaster recovery capabilities that we      of employees and a strong collaborative
                                     would not have deployed on our own.         culture, it is important for Two Degrees,
                                     Going with Microsoft Online Services was    LLC employees to share ideas and
Figure 2. The monitoring tools       an easy decision."                          conduct meetings anytime, anywhere.
that Slalom IT staff developed                                                   “Office Live Meeting is a huge
will be available as a value-added   Enhances Productivity                       improvement over our previous Web-
service that it can provide to       With Microsoft Online Services, Two         conferencing tool, with its recording and
customers when they deploy           Degrees, LLC employees have access to       video capabilities,” says Bleser. “We have
Microsoft Online Services.                                                       a SharePoint solution team with
                                                                                 members in offices across the country.
The quick brown fox jumps over                                                   They use Office Live Meeting to get
   the lazy dog. The quick                                                       together virtually and talk about the next
   brown fox jumps over the                                                      SharePoint release, and develop
   jumps over the lazy dog                                                       marketing strategies and product
                                                                                 customizations that they can offer our

                                                                                 Builds a Competitive Advantage
                                                                                 Two Degrees, LLC believes that Microsoft
                                                                                 Online Services will help give it a
                                                                                 competitive advantage thanks to two key
                                                                                 concepts in the professional services
                                                                                 industry: customer trust and corporate
                                                                                 focus. “Microsoft Online Services allows
                                                                                 me to say to customers that because
                                                                                 Microsoft is backing our communication
                                                                                 and collaboration tools with a 99.9
                                                                                 percent uptime guarantee, they can trust
                                                                                 in the security of their data and reliability
“Hosting commodity                        of our services,” says Rojas. “And              has a new offering that will appeal to the
                                          Microsoft Online Services allows us to          midsize business sector. “Hosting
communication and                         focus more time on our customers, and           commodity communication and
                                          less time on upgrading and supporting           collaboration software was very
collaboration software                    on-premises technologies.”                      compelling for us, as it will be for other
was very compelling for                                                                   midsize businesses,” says Carney.
                                          Slalom expects to build a competitive           “Microsoft Online Services is broadening
us, as it will be for other               advantage by going to market early with         our customer base.”
                                          a practical understanding of the benefits
midsize businesses.                       of Microsoft Online Services. “It’s difficult   The rapid pace of innovation within
Microsoft Online Services                 to sell a solution when there are few           Microsoft Online Services is also a way to
                                          references, but in this case, we are our        win business. Because the products are
is broadening our                         own reference,” says Carney. “That plays        offered online, new features and
                                          well with the CIO or CFO, and we think it       functionality are instantly available,
customer base.”                           will drive our business. Our relationship       which can quickly change a conversation
    Brent Carney, Director of Strategic   with Microsoft means that we know early         with a potential customer. “Over the past
          Alliances, Slalom Consulting    on what Microsoft Online Services               few months, we have seen dramatic
                                          innovations we can expect to be                 advances within Microsoft Online
                                          delivered to our customers. This gives us       Services,” says Carney. “We’ve been able
                                          a definite competitive advantage, and we        to go back and discuss feature
                                          aim to take full advantage of it.”              improvements; for example, the number
                                                                                          of Live Meeting participants has now
                                          Develop New Revenue Streams                     increased to 200, and Blackberry devices
                                          Slalom expects to drive revenue not only        are now supported. These improvements
                                          from traditional service opportunities—         demonstrate how this dynamic online
                                          for example, handling the potential             product is being updated regularly and
                                          migration of competing software to              significantly. It makes for a great selling
                                          Exchange Server 2007—but also from              environment.”
                                          new opportunities such as migrating a
                                          company’s e-mail solution to the online

                                          “Deploying Microsoft Online Services for
                                          customers is a great service opportunity
                                          for us,” says Carney. “On top of that,
                                          receiving the referral fee and a
                                          subscription fee is an added bonus. We
                                          can also drive revenue by introducing
                                          our value-added migration monitoring
                                          tools and customizing them to meet the
                                          needs of our customers, while helping to
                                          streamline deployment.”

                                          Opens Up New Lines of Business
                                          While Slalom has worked predominately
                                          with enterprise-level accounts with
                                          Microsoft Online Services, the company
For More Information                                  Microsoft Online Services
For more information about Microsoft                  Microsoft Online Services are business-
products and services, call the                       class communication and collaboration
Microsoft Sales Information Center at                 solutions delivered as a subscription
(800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the                   service and hosted by Microsoft. These
Microsoft Canada Information Centre                   offerings help make it easier for
at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the                   customers to rapidly and cost-effectively
United States and Canada who are                      access the most up-to-date technologies,
deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach                     and are designed for rapid deployment
Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD)                    to provide customers with streamlined
services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the               communications, simplified
50 United States and Canada, please                   management, and business-class
contact your local Microsoft subsidiary.              reliability and security features.
To access information using the World
Wide Web, go to:                                      For IT staffers, Microsoft Online Services                                     help reduce the burden of performing
                                                      routine IT management tasks such as
                                                      installation, provisioning, ongoing
For more information about Slalom                     maintenance, updates, and upgrades,
Consulting products and services, call                making it possible for them to spend
(206) 468-5700 or visit the Web site at:              more time on initiatives that move the                                        business forward. The Online offerings
                                                      are backed by strong service level
                                                      agreements and are designed to meet
For more information about Two                        the regulatory compliance and reliability
Degrees, LLC products and services,                   needs of enterprise customers. On a
call (206) 438-5700 or visit the Web                  technical level, the offerings boast the
site at:                                              sophistication and reliability that                                    customers expect from Microsoft, which
                                                      continues to invest heavily in building
                                                      data centers to support the Online family
                                                      of services.

                                                      For more information, visit:

                                                       Software and Services                           − Microsoft Office Live Meeting
                                                          Microsoft Online Services                   − Microsoft SharePoint Online
                                                           − Microsoft Business Productivity
                                                             Online Standard Suite                 Partner
                                                           − Microsoft Exchange Online                Slalom Consulting
                                                           − Microsoft Office Communications
This case study is for informational purposes only.

Document published October 2009

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