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Snow & Rock: Moving Email to the Cloud

Updated: Jun 6, 2018

Snow+Rock was formed by an enthusiastic skier and mountaineer Mike Browne in the autumn of 1982 with its first store in High Street Kensington, London. This grew into a chain of stores, followed by the acquisition of the Cycle Surgery and Runners Need brands to form Snow and Rock Group. The group now has 35 retail outlets across the UK and Ireland under the three brand names.

Keeping communications running smoothly for the entire Snow and Rock Group was very important and something of a triple challenge for IT director Shiva Kumar. With three brands each with their own individual domain name but linked into a single Microsoft Exchange mail server at the Guildford head office, he needed a fresh approach in order to reduce the risk and cost of any communication meltdown, with a less hands-on method of backing up files and reduced downtime during upgrades. He thought Microsoft’s cloud platform, Office 365, would give them a sporting chance of achieving these aims.

“I became convinced that the Office 365 online service with guaranteed uptime was what we needed and that Program Framework were the people to help us implement it across the group,” said Shiva.

After assessing what was required, Program Framework drew up a project plan for a staged move to the cloud for the 300 users across the three brands. “The task was to migrate the brands one at a time from Exchange to Office 365, linking all three brands with a shared address,” said Lawrie Siteman, director at Program Framework.

Snow and Rock’s solution is Exchange Online, the Microsoft Cloud email part of Office 365. High Street stores were configured to use the cost-effective Kiosk Exchange Online, while head office users had full Exchange Online accounts. Snow and Rock migrated the email facility to the Cloud in three major tranches, one for each division in the company.

In total 163 users now use Kiosk Exchange Online, and 98 users are on full Exchange Online. Migration was achieved using Microsoft’s built-in migration tool, with PowerShell scripts being used to simplify the transition. Shared folders were sunsetted on the on-premise Exchange Server and recreated as Document Libraries on their existing on-premise SharePoint Server.

The transition was very smooth, and many users left on the Friday and returned on the Monday to the new email implementation and were completely unable to distinguish the difference.

“Program Framework has been incredible in supporting us and was also very helpful as a technical partner. Without their support, we wouldn’t have made the move to the cloud as smoothly as we did. Their technical consultant was fantastic – very hard working and always willing to help.
The level of service that Program Framework provided and their efforts to understand and implement what we needed was important to me as a client. If we have any such future requirements, we will definitely be calling them in again.”

Shiva Kumar, IT Director, Snow and Rock Group


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