Customer profile: Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd is family-owned business that supplies medical equipment and related products and consists of both a wholesale distribution and retail business.
Industry: Distribution and Retail
Business solution: Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd Linux-based email system had become outmoded and less reliable and needed to be upgraded to a system with greater reliability and added functionality. The solution needed to be deployed rapidly to meet business needs.
Solution description: Migration to cloud-based system on Microsoft BPOS platform via IT service provider DSS. Fast deployment, with ease of transition for users. Significant business benefits associated with enhanced functionality and lower administration.
- Low cost solution with no capital outlay
- Greater reliability with low maintenance and administration
- Added functionality and performance
Fast migration to cloud system via Microsoft BPOS delivers real business benefits for Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd.
Cloud computing, where applications such as email and collaboration tools are delivered over the internet as a service, can deliver enormous benefits to companies. The opportunity to pick and choose only the services that you need, when you need them is a very efficient and cost effective way of managing a business’s information technology requirements.
The following case study shows how a client can meet its changing business needs by deploying the very latest technology and at the same time save money by not having to invest in an expensive hardware or software. Businesses of any size can now get access to the latest technology without making massive capital investment – instead the technology is provided on a pay-per-use model. Furthermore, because it’s online, companies don’t have to worry about valuable resources being diverted to manage it. Cloud computing with Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite is secure and saves firms time and money.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd is a family owned business established in 1976. The company trades from its purpose built, 19,000 sq.ft head office Tallaght, Dublin and is Irelands leading supplier of medical equipment for daily living. The companies’ core business is the wholesale supply of medical equipment and ostomy products within the Republic of Ireland and their main client base consists of the HSE, pharmacies, nursing homes, hospitals etc. The company also operate a homecare equipment retail outlet within its sister company Liam Murray Chemist Ltd located in Dublin City Centre which is were the business originated from.
Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd Head Office currently employ 27 employees, excluding the board of directors and an additional 11 employees in the city centre retail outlet. A total of approx 18,000 product lines are distributed by the company.
Early in 2010, Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd identified the need to migrate from their traditional Linux email system. While it had served the company well over the years, it had become increasingly unstable and high maintenance costs were also an issue. 'The technology was outmoded and we found that there were only a small number of Linux knowledge based engineers who could provide appropriate maintenance to the server when it went down. As the problems increased in frequency it left us exposed & susceptible to complete online communication failure. This was the deciding factor in needing to upgrade to a more stable email solution that could be deployed promptly' explains Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd Customer Service & IT Manager, Elaine Dean.
Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd wanted to increase the size of its mailboxes, add extra functionality and reduce the administrative burden associated with running its email service. It needed a fast solution that would not disrupt day to day business operations turning the transition. 'A further element was the companies re-branding initiative and, as part of this, shortening the companies email address from murraysmedical.ie to murrays.ie. This compelled us to take action sooner in order to incorporate both elements collectively' she says.
When Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd discussed its options with its IT solutions provider, DSS, two possible solutions were identified. The first involved installing an on-site server with a considerable capital cost and a scale of implementation of at least 10 days. In addition, there would be on-going maintenance issues associated with owning the server.
A second option was to move to Microsoft’s BPOS Exchange on-line, a cloud based solution, part of Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. This is a set of messaging and collaboration tools, delivered as a subscription-based service, that delivers rich capabilities without the need to deploy and maintain software and hardware on-the business premises. These online services are designed to help meet client’s needs for robust security, all-day every-day reliability, and user productivity.
The key benefits of this option were there would be no capital outlay, no physical server to maintain and total reliability of service.
Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd sat down with DSS to plan out a solution. Moving from the legacy Linux system to BPOS was not without its technical challenges. Moreover, this was not a solution that DSS had completed before. Nonetheless, the service provider’s project manager and engineers were confident that they had the technical expertise to perform the migration successfully. 'We listened to what Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd told us and we were very confident that Microsoft’s BPOS would deliver what they needed,' says DSS’s Dave Franklin, the lead engineer on the project.
As the migration needed to be seamless, it was decided that the implementation would take place over a weekend. DSS deployed a team of engineers to make the transition on a Friday evening and by Saturday evening the project was close to completion with the link being made between users’ mailboxes and the BPOS servers. 'We now had to wait until employees returned to work on Monday and started using BPOS before we could successfully sign off on the project. Thankfully, the transition went smoothly and no major problems have occurred to date,' observes Elaine Dean.
DSS’s own experience on the project has also proved to be a further benefit as it has performed similar migrations in other businesses since, including its own. 'Having seen the benefits of BPOS deployed in our customers’ businesses it is fitting that we have it in our own business now too,' says Dave Franklin.
One of the advantages of using cloud computing via Microsoft’s BPOS is that it does not require any significant capital outlay. 'This was a huge business advantage and a major consideration in our decision to go with this solution,' notes Elaine Dean. 'By adopting BPOS we did not have to invest in servers or in software and the associated licences for our multiple users,' she says.
Ease of use
Among the major considerations when implementing a new IT system is how easy it will be for users to get up and running quickly. Training staff in a new system can be costly and time consuming. In the case of Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd transition from Linux, this did not prove to be a problem. 'After we completed the migration, we spent one day with company employees going through any issues that they might have. We found that they mastered it very quickly as the system is very intuitive,' says Dave Franklin.
Moving from Linux to a cloud solution removed a major headache for Elaine Dean in her role as the company’s IT Manager as, since it was introduced in March 2010, there have been no performance issues with the company’s email system.
Another part of the brief in upgrading Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd email system involved improving the user experience both for staff and customers. Two specific functions that were not possible in the Linux system were ‘out of office’ and ‘undisclosed recipient’ message. The addition of a common signature and legal disclaimer were also required as part of the solution. Migration to BPOS meant that these extra functions could be added. 'These functions are of significant benefit to our company, most notably our marketing department,' notes Elaine Dean.
Nine months after implementing its solution, Murrays Medical Equipment Ltd is enjoying a wide range of benefits associated with its new email system. For users, mailboxes no longer fill quickly; the system is stable and has added functionality such as ‘out of office’ and ‘undisclosed recipients’.
Reliability of service, ease of administration and security of data are vital benefits to the organisation.
The company was able to achieve all of these benefits in a highly cost-effective way without the need to commit capital. 'The overall experience of moving to this new cloud-based system has been hugely beneficial to the organisation with real business benefits. The solution deployed matched our needs and has been achieved cost effectively with minimal disruption to operations,' concludes Elaine Dean.