The Beer Store, a non-profit cooperative owned by 34 Ontario-based brewers, is the primary distributor of beer in Ontario and the Western Provinces. Ninety years after the first warehouse opened, The Beer Store oversees the operations of over 7,700 employees across Canada and more than 450 retail outlets.
Communications are paramount to successfully connecting all the moving parts of an ever-changing, ever-growing enterprise. The Beer Store had a legacy hosted Exchange environment for messaging and a third-party archiving solution which was not meeting the growing business needs for better and more modern toolsets. For The Beer Store, it became obvious that they were ready for a major digital transformation.
The Beer Store recognized that they were not able to provide the level of services required to effectively manage corporate communications and improve IT operational efficiencies. They also required better security tools for protecting corporate data and IP. Furthermore, to attract the millennials entering the workforce, they required modern devices and greater mobility access to empower employees to work together from anywhere at any time.
“We were trying to function with an old, outdated application. From an IT perspective, moving into the ‘new world’ was a necessity and we needed to do it cost-effectively,” said Jennifer Mason, Director of IT, Application Development. “Staying status quo was not an option for us.”
Solutions and Benefits
Prior to the implementation of Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise and Itergy’s managed services, The Beer Store’s siloed applications were negatively impacting employee communications and productivity. By replacing their legacy system with Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise, they got the technology they needed to improve productivity and standardize their corporate communication platform email. Employees now have modern and secure tools they need to work effectively in teams.
“Archived email used to be a major headache for us,” said Nicole Lind, IT Project Manager, The Beer Store. “Once it was archived, users would have to go into a different tool to access email. Now it’s integrated into Outlook so searching is a lot easier.”
The OneDrive functionality of Office 365 allows for sharing information among team members and with Brewers’ Distributor Limited (BDL), an associated company that services the western provinces and northern territories in Canada.
Performance issues are a thing of the past, and updates and patching are no longer necessary because Itergy’s Office 365 Managed Services takes care of all that. The all-important cloud-based messaging and collaboration environment provides better tools for corporate compliance and security. It puts corporate information at everyone’s fingertips.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome,” said Ted Moroz, CEO of The Beer Store. “The transition to Itergy’s Office 365 Managed Services was very smooth, easy, on-time and on-budget which is welcome in any organization.”
Mason added, “I get really excited when I see people like the VP of Finance or the Director of Strategic Planning using the tools: doing meeting minutes and board presentations in a secure environment. Their buy-in is huge for the organization. They talk the talk and get others excited, too.” Lind pointed out, “At the same time, it gives them more mobility so they aren’t reliant on being within our four walls.”
The Beer Store has also realized significant cost savings. After an initial start-up cost, the managed services model has resulted in an average annual reduction of 44% on the cost of running their corporate messaging and collaboration tools.
“We’re a cost centre, a cooperative, owned by 34 Ontario-based brewers,” said Mason. “We’re all about cost and how to control spending. The move to Itergy’s Office 365 Managed Services was truly the right decision for our organization.”
“The level of expertise of the Itergy consultants was phenomenal,” Mason said emphatically. “They were always willing to dig in and look for solutions if we hit a snag. They also worked with an external vendor, and that was an absolutely positive experience. Very professional.”