Serving Up Growth—Fast!—with Office 365 Blogs: Today’s post was written by Jacob Guttman, IT Manager, Menchies

It’s hard to believe it when you look at our rapid growth, but Menchies is still a very young company. We were founded in 2007 with a single store in Valley Village, California. Now, we have more than 300 franchise locations around the world. Maintaining connections between Menchies headquarters, the franchise community, and our guests is critical to our success.

In the past, we used hosted services for email, collaboration, and document management. And we used a separate, Java-based application for instant messaging. One of the most persistent challenges I faced was trying to support our company’s growth with a set of applications that weren’t tightly linked together and that didn’t fit the day-to-day work needs of our employees.

An increasing number of our employees want to be able to access email and other applications on a range of different devices, including their smartphone or tablet.  Ultimately, they want to be able to connect with colleagues and seamlessly move information between applications without having to think much about the underlying technology.

When we started looking at moving to a new productivity and collaboration solution, the major factors influencing our decision were ease of use, anywhere access, simplified administration, and cost-effective scalability. As we took a closer look at Microsoft Office 365, it was the obvious choice. And, with help from our partner Cal Net Technology Group, we were able to make the switch to Office 365 quickly and easily.  With Office 365, we get online access to all of the capabilities we need-email, calendaring, document management, and unified communications-all rolled into one solution. And it automatically works together with the Microsoft Office tools that our employees use every day.

One great example of how Office 365 supports the business needs of Menchies and fits the way our people like to work is through our use of Microsoft Lync Online. We’re constantly researching the best real-estate options for interested franchisees. With Lync Online, colleagues can set up virtual meetings on the fly and share market research, maps, and other information in just a few clicks. It’s so fast and easy to use, and provides a consistently smooth user experience across all of the technology platforms we use-iOS, Windows Phone, Android, and BlackBerry.

Beyond the benefits that our employees have gained, I love Office 365 because it provides such a simple administrative experience. My team easily saves three hours a week based on fewer helpdesk requests. One simple reason is that with 25 gigabytes of mailbox storage per account and online archiving through Exchange Online, employees almost never run into archiving issues anymore.

Also, with Office 365, we anticipate reducing costs over time. For example, we don’t need to maintain a separate BlackBerry server anymore. Microsoft SharePoint Online is included in our plan.  We also no longer need a separate internal chat platform. By consolidating services, we’ve been able to achieve full payback on our investment in Office 365 in nine months. By operating more efficiently and shifting IT cost savings back into the business, we can drive growth and ultimately put more Menchies locations on the map, which makes just about everybody smile.

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