The Cystic Fibrosis Trust is staffed by a mix of employees and volunteers, some of whom have cystic fibrosis themselves. Because of the nature of this complex disease which particularly affects the lungs and digestive system, those affected should not come into close contact with each other because of the risk of cross infection. With so many people unable to be in one room or building at the same time, working from home is an essential element of the way that the Trust operates. This in turn means that one of its big challenges is efficient and effective communication and collaboration.
"The mobility to work and collaborate from anywhere on any device is really important for us,” explained Shaun Le Geyt, the Trust’s IT strategy programme manager. “The experience we try to create is the same for home workers and those in head office, removing the ‘head office’ concept. That way, everyone feels included. A key driver for the IT team was to create an IT infrastructure that would support better collaboration such as video conferencing.”
With an infrastructure upgrade due, the time was right to look at alternatives that would better meet the charity’s immediate and planned needs. Moving to Microsoft’s cloud platform, Office 365, met those needs.
“The licensing model works really well for us. It gives us a box full of collaborative ability and it is simple to add new users,” added Shaun. “Access to email is simple and with our people already used to working with Outlook and other Microsoft products there was no big learning curve. We have better document collation, file storage and sharing and no on site server – it is all hosted in the cloud. The big gain for us is Microsoft Lync for better communications, instant messaging and video conferencing.”
The Cystic Fibrosis Trust went to Program Framework to help set up and migrate to the new system. As a Microsoft Cloud Solutions partner, the company is not only a specialist in providing specific solutions for individual organisations, it also has a track record in working with charities to help make the most of their systems.
The new system was up and running within a matter of weeks. The migration to Microsoft Exchange was one of the biggest tasks, but that was achieved over a weekend.
Users have adapted easily, reports Shaun. In fact the transition was so smooth that the only difference they seem to have noticed is improved speed and the upgrade from Office 2010 to 2013!