Fortescue, SBS CIOs prep Office 365 move

Familiar end-user experience, off shore hosting

The heads of IT at broadcaster SBS and mining giant Fortescue Metals Group have outlined their plans to adopt Microsoft’s new Office 365 Cloud service at the Sydney launch event today.

Fortescue CIO Vito Forte with pressure on to keep its 5000 person head count down, the company wanted to “get rid of the traditional way of thinking about document management and collaboration.

“We want a more borderless enterprise,” Forte said. “We need an IT department, but we want people to focus on adding value, not things like e-mail.”

Fortescue is in the migration and planning stage of migrating to Office 365, which Forte said is “the solution I’ve been looking for for six years.”

With staff in many locations around the world, including remote mine sites, Forte said it was a “no brainer” for the company to go Office 365.

In an unusual comment from Microsoft, Oscar Trimboli, director of the information worker business group at Microsoft Australia, asked Forte if he had considered Google Apps for its documents.

Forte said they had looked at Google, but saw the perceived lack of training people would need with Office 365 as a reason to go with Microsoft.

“It needs to work in a way people expect [and] we have the skill sets to manage it,” he said.

Forte was formerly CIO at engineering services firm WorleyParsons and was an early adopter of Windows Server 2003 when it first appeared.

Fortescue is also in the preliminary testing phase of an internal Microsoft Lync (formerly OCS) unified communications server.

At SBS in Sydney, IT manager Klaus Schelp is preparing to cut over the Office 365 as soon as this week after a successful trial phase.

“We had between 30 and 40 people test Cloud productivity suites and they selected Microsoft’s Office 365,” Schelp said.

“When going to the Cloud we need to talk less about the technology and more about the business impact.”

Schelp will now look to integrate Office 365 with its SharePoint service.

“Our business challenges meant we required a new collaboration platform, including an e-mail solution, that could be delivered with minimal disruption and with the quickest route to being live,” he said. “We chose Office 365 as it provides us integration and collaboration and was already familiar to our employees. It also freed up the IT department’s time allowing them instead to focus on business critical projects.”

Off shore data

In both cases, Fortescue and SBS are moving data off shore by choosing Office 365, which is hosted in Singapore.

Microsoft puts this down to the scale of data centres it needs to build to make the service affordable for small and large businesses alike.

“Office 365 will drive productivity in the Cloud over the next 30 years,” Trimboli said.

According to Microsoft all the documents are stored locally in addition to being hosted in the Cloud.

Australian businesses can now purchase Microsoft Office 365 via Telstra’s T-Suite service, or, eligible Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers can choose to purchase directly through their EA, according to the company.

Office 365 subscribers don’t have to be Telstra broadband customers, but according to Telstra the experience is better as it offers “business grade” connectivity.

Follow Rodney Gedda on Twitter: @rodneygedda

Follow CIO Australia on Twitter: @CIO_Australia

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Tags Office 365Vito ForteSaaSMicrosoftKlaus SchelpFortescue Metals Group Ltdcloud computingSBS

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