REDMOND, Wash., May 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cablemas, a Mexico City-based provider of cable, telephone and broadband Internet services, has used the Microsoft Exchange Online cloud service to extend email messaging to its 2,500 offsite employees, enabling them to better serve customers and making the company more competitive - without adding IT infrastructure.
"As a result of using Exchange Online, employees are enjoying improved access to information and enhanced productivity," said Jorge Gonzales Ortega, IT Operations and Support manager at Cablemas. "The company is delivering faster, higher-quality service to our customers."
Providing superior customer satisfaction had helped Cablemás gain a leadership position in Mexico's telecommunications market, but competitors are moving too quickly close the gap. To further raise the bar of customer service, the company knew it needed to tighten communication between the 2,000 employees at its Mexico City central offices and its widely dispersed offsite staff of field service, customer service and sales representatives.
At headquarters, employees used an on-premises corporate messaging system deployed on Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. However, offsite staff had no access and would typically use their personal email accounts to check in with supervisors. The lack of standardized email communication decreased their productivity. "Company news did not reach offsite employees in a timely manner, and it often was incomplete or received too late to be useful," Ortega said. "Our offsite employees felt disconnected from the decisions made in our central offices."
The IT team first considered expanding the company's Exchange Server 2007 environment, but storage limitations and the demands of managing additional infrastructure discouraged them. They consulted Microsoft advisors, who suggested using the kiosk version of Exchange Online to extend their email environment to a cloud service. "The kiosk version is designed for 'deskless' workers, so we felt it would be a good fit for our offsite employees, many of whom cover a lot of territory," Ortega said.
Cablemas leaders also liked the idea of using a hybrid environment made up of its existing servers combined with cloud services. After comparing the offerings of Google and other vendors, they selected Exchange Online because they could build on their established relationship with Microsoft, whose products and services they trusted. Employees already knew how to use Microsoft technologies, and the IT staff knew how to manage them.
To expedite the deployment, Cablemas turned to UNIKA, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network that knew the process. UNIKA used a software connector to link the company's Exchange Server 2007 with its cloud service. Since it already used Microsoft Forefront Security for Exchange Server to help protect its corporate messaging environment against malware and viruses, the company selected Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange.
Through its new hybrid messaging environment, the company can now inform all offsite employees of corporate decisions, educate them about marketing strategies and provide them with tools to respond more quickly to customers. "Today, customer-facing employees usually have the answers in front of them, and when the need does arise, they have a more efficient way to reach out," Ortega said.
By subscribing to Exchange Online at a fixed monthly rate, Cablemas avoided both a substantial hardware investment and the need to hire additional IT staff. "I'm supporting both our on-premises and online messaging environments with the same staff as before, which is pretty impressive," Ortega said. "We receive an excellent level of service from Microsoft, so we don't have to worry about maintenance, software updates or upgrades."
Cablemas leaders recognize that streamlining communication inside the company is key to sustaining both its competitive edge and its "esprit de corps." "Our supervisors can now send email updates about product features and pricing to support our sales reps throughout the sales process," Ortega said. "Plus, offsite employees have a greater sense of belonging because they can now communicate directly with their colleagues at our central offices."
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SOURCE Microsoft Corp.