Let’s hear from the small business, Thomas Kemper Soda Company, on why they chose Microsoft for their  move to cloud computing!

“With Office 365 we can go straight to the cloud to get what we need. It will give mobile employees, including our CEO, anywhere access to documents and one another.”

--Jody Leon Guerrero, Finance Manager, Thomas Kemper Soda Co.

Thomas Kemper Soda Company
Based in Portland, Oregon, the Thomas Kemper Soda Company produces craft-brewed and all-natural varieties of classic sodas. The company bottles its soda in small batches and sells it throughout the western United States, with growing availability across the rest of the country and Canada.

IT Challenges
About half of the company’s employees work in the office and the other half are constantly on the road, which makes communication difficult. “Our CEO works from his home office, airplanes, and everywhere in between,” says Jody Leon Guerrero, Finance Manager for Thomas Kemper Soda Company and one of the office-based employees. “Our sales representatives are also constantly on the go. Getting in touch and sharing documents was a daily chore.”

The company relied on email for everything. It used hosted email messaging services and a local file-share server. Accessing the file-share server was complicated, so employees ended up sending documents as email attachments. With no IT person on staff, Leon Guerrero and the firm’s marketing manager spent several hours a week resolving computer problems and paid an outside consultant to help with bigger problems. “We could not focus on our jobs when we had to also worry about technology,” Leon Guerrero says. 

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Solution
In early 2011, Microsoft introduced Thomas Kemper Soda Company to Microsoft Office 365 for professionals and small businesses. “When we saw a demo, we were amazed with all that was included,” Leon Guerrero says. “The Microsoft Exchange Online email service was of course appealing, but we also loved the web conferencing, screen-sharing, and presence capabilities of Microsoft Lync Online. I’ve never seen anything that was so easy to set up; with a few mouse-clicks we were up and running.”

Benefits
When Thomas Kemper rolls out the service to everyone in the company, employees will have easy calendar sharing, email archiving, and 25 GB mailbox sizes. Thomas Kemper plans to transfer all documents from its file-share server to Microsoft SharePoint Online so that all employees and contractors can access files from anywhere. The company’s CEO was excited about using Lync Online to move from an instant messaging conversation to a web conference with a couple of mouse clicks. “If our CEO is on a call with the sales team and wants to show them a document, he can just click to a web conference and show them the documents on his computer,” Leon Guerrero says.

Between accessing documents immediately, seeing where colleagues are, and getting in touch with people without delay, Leon Guerrero estimates that Thomas Kemper employees will each save an hour a day. “We’ll save at least 40 hours a week companywide,” Leon Guerrero says. “On extra busy days, even an extra minute helps. We have more time to tackle the backlog of work that we all have.”

The company will also save about $7,400 annually by eliminating several third-party communications products and services: $576 a year for a videoconferencing service, approximately $3,000 a year for a conference-calling service, $700 a year for email hosting, and $3,120 a year on IT consultant fees, based on 2010 expenses. “We’ll also avoid spending $10,000 to upgrade our file-share server,” Leon Guerrero says.

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