Real World with Microsoft Online Services:  Interview with Andrew Jamieson, Acting CIO, ASPEQ Limited


As part of the Real World Microsoft Online Services series, we spoke to Andrew Jamieson, Acting Chief Information Officer at ASPEQ Limited, about replacing Gmail from Google Apps and managing its messaging and collaboration environment with Exchange Online, a component of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. Here's what he had to say:



Q: Can you give us a quick summary of what ASPEQ Limited does and who you serve?

Jamieson: ASPEQ Limited delivers high-stakes assessments to help organizations test personnel for positions that require a high level of skill and responsibility. We develop the examinations and custom technology solutions that agencies and businesses use to manage their assessment processes. Originally founded to assess pilots, air crews, and engineers in the aviation industry in New Zealand, we have since expanded into new industries, such as transport, building, and financial services, and we have moved into new regions internationally.


Q: What was the biggest challenge ASPEQ Limited faced with Google Apps?

Jamieson: As we expand, we need the capacity to serve new customers, but at the same time, we want to avoid the cost and trouble of technology custodianship. We wanted to explore cloud computing, and in 2009 we adopted Gmail. Despite the assurances from Google that Gmail would interoperate with Microsoft Office Outlook, our employees could no longer use shared Outlook folders through Gmail, and it often took too long to process email messages. The problems were threatening operational efficiency and creating staff issues. Employees complained of lost productivity and major process interruptions almost from day one. It was a significant problem that had to be dealt with.


Q: Can you describe how you are using Exchange Online?

Jamieson: We migrated our email environment to Exchange Online in March 2010, and upgraded our computers with Microsoft Office 2007 and Office 2010 productivity software. Because Exchange Online operates so seamlessly with Office Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010, our email environment works much better.


Q:  What kinds of benefits are you experiencing by using Exchange Online? 

Jamieson: Since we moved to Exchange Online, we have achieved the benefits we anticipated from our first decision to explore cloud-based options. We've reduced our IT management burden, while enhancing our infrastructure and improving business performance. By using Exchange Online, we can spend considerably more time writing applications and producing solutions for our customers because we don't have to worry about managing email.



Read the full story online. For more success stories like Andrew Jamieson's at ASPEQ, read other real-world testimonials on our whymicrosoft website.