Q: Please tell us about Ticketmonster, Inc. Lee Hyung-jun: We are a “daily deals” site that is Korea’s #1 social commerce marketplace. We started in May 2010 with just five employees, and we’ve grown to several hundred in only a year and a half. Our growth was so rapid that we attracted the attention of U.S.-based LivingSocial—a global social commerce company—which acquired us in August 2011.
Q: Why did you investigate an enterprise-class solution to manage your messaging and collaboration? Lee: Messaging and collaboration were part of an overall examination of how our IT systems could better scale up to match our business expansion. We created a fully staffed IT department to handle this and adopted an Active Directory infrastructure. Then we needed to enhance control over our systems through verification and rights management, and we wanted to increase user convenience through a single ID and password management process. Finally, we wanted better support for email access across multiple platforms and devices. An enterprise-class system was required to support these goals, as well as our rapid growth and IT upgrade plans.
Q: Why did you switch from Google Apps to Exchange Server 2010 and begin to work with Office 365? Lee: At first, we started with Google Apps for email because employees were familiar with it for personal use and we were able to connect it to Active Directory. However, we soon discovered that Google Apps left much to be desired. For example, we have to comply with policies and regulations to protect personal information, so the IT department needed to secure systems corporatewide. And we have to retain important email messages and attachment files, and support robust email recovery, screening, and encryption. Google Apps had too many limitations for us to accomplish these tasks. Also, the email and calendar functions in Google Apps focused more on functionality for users than on enterprise management and control, and its multiplatform support was inadequate. Simply put, we had outgrown Google Apps.
Regarding our plans for Office 365, we are looking at initially deploying a hybrid on-premises and Office 365 cloud-based solution. This will support our Active Directory environment for quite some time and provide us with the cost and IT management advantages of the cloud.
Q: What benefits are you experiencing by using Exchange Server and Office 365?Lee: By adopting Exchange Server, we’ve increased our ability to maintain administrative control over email. We’ve also strengthened security and are able to offer consistent functionality across PCs, mobile phones, and web browsers. Additionally, Ticketmonster Inc. has about 20 sales centers in Korea, and we believe Office 365 will help us more cost-effectively support users in these local sales offices.
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