Internet services company Rakuten needed to improve its messaging environment to support rapid expansion and decided to adopt Microsoft Office 365, after evaluating Google Apps. We recently spoke to Jonathan Levine, Executive Officer and Vice Executive Director at Rakuten, to learn why:
Q: Please tell us about Rakuten. Jonathan Levine: With main offices in Tokyo, Japan, we rank among the world’s top 10 Internet services companies, with more than 9,000 employees in several countries. We provide a variety of one-stop Internet services, including e-commerce, travel, media, finance, and online books.
Q: Why did you investigate a cloud services solution to manage your messaging and collaboration? Levine: As our business grew, personnel recruitment in Japan and overseas increased. This great increase in personnel, however, directly affected the mail system. For corporate activities, email is essential. But maintaining the necessary infrastructure of an on-premises system required a huge cost. Even members of the Group Information Systems Department had to allocate an incredibly large amount of time to the operation and management of the mail system. We wanted to move to a cloud technology to unify communications across the enterprise and make it easier for employees to connect.
Q: Why did you choose Office 365 over Google Apps? Levine: We carefully compared Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps. In the end, we chose Exchange Online in Office 365 for its strong security, great usability, and global capability, which includes China. Exchange Online was the only service that we could use to build a secure messaging environment accessible from anywhere.
Usually, with Exchange Online, users can access a network from any computer anywhere over the Internet. To restrict access to Exchange Online via a virtual private network (VPN) and ensure stronger security, we engaged Microsoft Services and Microsoft Cloud Vantage Services. We also used Active Directory Federation Services for authenticated collaboration with the internal Active Directory service. An environment was set up so that employees who were logged in from outside the company with company-provided laptops were able to use Exchange Online with secure remote access to the VPN.
Q: What benefits are you experiencing by using Exchange Online and Office 365?Levine: By implementing Office 365, we have been able to drastically reduce the amount of resources spent on maintenance and support of the mail system, which has helped to reduce costs. We have freed the staff from day-to-day management so that the team and I can now concentrate on our core operations without being sidetracked by mail issues. Office 365 is a service that can be used globally. The interface supports various languages, and the service provides a global support system. Also, Microsoft has a very strong presence as an IT partner that we can rely on as we strengthen our global strategy.
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We beg to differ: www.linkgard.com/.../google-apps-vs-office-365.html