One of the things I love most about Boston is its commitment to helping others; our city is home to a number of non-profit and community improvement organizations that work locally, nationally and globally. While we often focus on the non-profit nature of these organizations, it’s easy to overlook that these groups operate like a business, just as any for-profit company. And that means they face the same business and IT challenges as any other company, often with the added layer of lower operating budgets and increased scrutiny over spending that isn’t directly related to their non-profit mission. One of these challenges involves integrating different IT environments into one platform following acquisitions.

Merging_multiple_IT_services_into_one copyFHI 360, a non-profit human development organization with an office in Watertown and operating in more than 60 countries, faced this exact challenge when an acquisition left it with two different productivity services – one cloud-based, one on-premise. Like many businesses in today’s global economy, FHI 360 was looking to improve collaboration among multinational project groups and increase productivity whether in the office or the field. To solve these needs, its IT department sought a single cloud-based productivity suite for all of its 4,300 employees.

When your own business is looking to merge divergent IT systems to one platform it’s important to take into account all the various environments and methods your employees work, to guarantee success and reduce worker frustration. FHI 360 did this by activating employee focus groups, which helped compile a list of 150 requirements across email, instant messaging, web conferencing and document collaboration. Defining these parameters early on allows IT decision makers to objectively evaluate each potential system. Additionally, a unifying platform will meet the various security and flexibility needs of your IT department without unnecessary complexity.

For its migration, FHI 360 deployed Microsoft Office 365, which offered the feature-rich productivity tools it was looking for, with the cost savings and flexibility of the cloud. Additionally, FHI 360 was able to utilize a local Microsoft partner, who provided advanced tools and support to simplify the migration process, and engaged with a Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace partner to develop a global instructor-led training for employees. All while reducing its IT costs and improving productivity, important factors for any business – non-profit and for-profit.

Visit Microsoft’s Office 365 for Business page to see how our cloud productivity suite can help you improve productivity and then use Pinpoint to find a local Microsoft partner who can help you streamline your operations under a single system.

Computer Science Education Week in Massachusetts this year just blew me away. More than 1000 events, thousands of kids doing the #HourOfCodeMA, from Somerville to Revere to Eastie, so many school districts getting involved—all to further awareness of the vitality of computer science education in schools. The amount of support and the excitement of the […]

Editor’s note: On Friday, December 5, 2014, Microsoft was honored to welcome Congressman Kennedy to Microsoft New England’s NERD Center in Cambridge. He interacted with our engineers and researchers, saw firsthand the work being done by Microsoft in New England, and participated in the Hour of Code. It was the perfect kick off to Computer Science Education […]