Origin IT took on the migration to Office 365, but O'Brien says a challenge at that time was getting a local reference organisation.
White papers were written for companies in the United States and Europe. LMI could not find a New Zealand company that had actually decommissioned its Exchange Server and moved to the Office 365 platform.
More importantly, LMI could not find a local company with the same business requirements: 200-plus users based in offices across the globe, particularly New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
O'Brien wanted to do it "really aggressively" because LMI was experiencing Exchange outages and other issues. "I really wanted to make that stable."
For now, LMI has email, SharePoint and Lync working together.
"It really opened up how we communicate," he says. Lync, in particular, provides instant messaging and free voice and video calling from any device. O'Brien says it has been very useful especially in the United States where LMI has remote users in different states.
"The way we can collaborate is just fantastic; it has really changed the way we work."
Explaining to the board
He says he did not use the word 'cloud' at all when he explained why they had to decommission the on-premise server and move to Office 365.
"When you are talking to the board that you are moving to the cloud they will be concerned," he says.
So he explained it this way. "We have a Microsoft product Exchange. It is like a telephone exchange or a mail exchange and it holds all of our mail. And it is going to cost us X amount to resolve the issues staff are complaining about.
"We are going to use somebody who provides that service that is more specialised, and move forward redundancy and infrastructure, maintenance and support. They are going to move it directly to their data centre in Singapore which is hosted by Microsoft.
"What we are doing is a hosted service by Microsoft who supplied this anyway so there is no one better in the world who could manage it."
There was no argument, he says. "If I used the world cloud, there would have been a different discussion."
LMI is also using 'as-a-service' technologies in other areas of the business.
"We are building a self-service portal based on Salesforce for the 15,500 clubs so we can manage those instructors. Often, the instructors teach in these gyms and we need to manage where they are at with certifications. Some of them buy digital or physical products," says O'Brien. "It is bringing all the clubs and instructors and the product altogether."
The portal has just been rolled out in one of LMI's offices in the United States. The portal has a number of applications, which allows the instructor to register and go through a certification process. As part of that process, instructors have to film themselves teaching a class and submit that video to the assessment people.
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