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reed.co.uk – A BetterCloud Case Study

BetterCloud Monitor

April 1, 2013

3 minute read

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After breaking off from Reed, a leading provider of recruitment services, reed.co.uk wanted to revamp their entire IT infrastructure – starting with email. While the company did evaluate both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps, reed.co.uk landed on Google. Read the case study to find out why.

Check out reed.co.uk’s story in CITEWorldHow Microsoft totally blew it and lost this contract to Google Apps

synapseEmployees: 250
Founded: 2005
Industry: Internet
Website: www.reed.co.uk

Based in London’s Covent Garden, reed.co.uk was founded in 1995 as part of Reed, a global provider of permanent, contract, temporary and outsourced recuriting solutions, IT and HR consulting.

As one of the earliest internet job sites in the UK, reed.co.uk quickly became the United Kingdom’s number one career website and currently features vacancies from more than 8,000 recruiters. Today the site receives upwards of 3.6 million monthly job seekers resulting in 80,000 job applications each day.

In 2007, reed.co.uk broke off from Reed to become an independent entity. Since 2007, reed.co.uk has greatly expanded its team and monetized their services.

Creating a Standalone IT Infrastructure

Despite breaking off from Reed in 2007, reed.co.uk continued to use the IT infrastructure of the parent organization until early 2012. While on premise systems like Lotus Notes and Oracle made sense for Reed, the legacy systems weren’t cutting it for reed.co.uk, an entirely web based company.

Since last year, reed.co.uk has made a point of transitioning all IT systems away from Reed to completely set up its own infrastcture in the cloud where, according to Mark Ridley, reed.co.uk’s Director of Technology, “mobility, security and disaster recovery are baked in.” Ridley added that “an obvious place to start the transition away from Reed was with email. It didn’t feel like Lotus Notes was a great place to be running a website from – after all, we are a web company and email was the real cornerstone of our new IT strategy.”

Evaluating Email in the Cloud: Google Apps vs. Office 365

To start their move to the cloud, reed.co.uk ran a competitive trial between Google Apps and Office 365. After the trial it became clear to the company that Google was the best match for their needs.

“With Google, we could move onto other areas seamlessly like Chromebooks, Chrome Boxes, Drive and mobile – our entire team uses Nexus handsets,” noted Ridley. While Google offered a handful of benefits, Ridley was also turned off by the many downsides he found when evaluating Office 365, including:

  • Discontinuity in design and user experience
  • Illogical licensing plans – especially the inability to use Office licenses with remote desktop access
  • High administrative overhead
  • Frequent errors
  • Overall lack of strategy / vision from Microsoft

A transition that started with a move to Google Apps encouraged reed.co.uk to move nearly every aspect of its business to the cloud. In addition to FlashPanel and Google Apps, the company uses Jive, Salesforce Lucidchart and SAP Business byDesign.

Adding Functionality to Google Apps with FlashPanel

While the transition to Google Apps was a welcome change, Ridley and his team found the need for added domain management tools. “Flashpanel closed up a lot of holes in Google Apps,” noted Ridley, particularly around email and user tools and Drive security.

Email Tools

POP/IMAP

FlashPanel’s POP/IMAP features initially brought reed.co.uk to FlashPanel. The organization was looking for a solution to turn POP/IMAP off on a user by user basis as a means of securing its BYOD program.

Email Signature Standardization

Another email tool Ridley and his team missed from their time spent on Lotus Notes was the ability to set and push a standardized email signature for the entire company or different groups within the organization. FlashPanel’s Email Signature Standardization feature provided this legacy benefit in Google Apps. Now employees have customized email signatures set and and pushed out by management.

Apps Butler and Standardized Email Labels

While reed.co.uk’s IT department has set a “Company Announcement” email label for all employees to convey important emails, Ridley noted that email can sometimes be ignored. To overcome this problem, he rolled out Apps Butler’s broadcast feature to send timely messages to all employees. The handy feature allows Ridley to send a message through the Apps Butler, found in the Google Chat widget, to every reed.co.uk team member.

User Tools

User Deprovisioning Workflow

Ridley also loves FlashPanel’s deprovisioning user tool, which allows him to “chain together” the entire deprovisioning process. Ridley added that the “one click wizard is a really powerful feature” which enables him to easily delegate a departing employee’s inbox and change document ownership. He also appreciates FlashPanel’s access role feature, which Ridley uses to create a role to handle user deprovisioning

Google Drive Security

For reed.co.uk, Drive auditing was extremely important. Ridley immediately began using the feature to look at public document sharing and enabled Drive sharing alerts. Through Drive reporting, Ridley discovered numerous Google docs shared improperly and with FlashPanel’s Drive tools, he was able to close up looseends and gain “real confidence in the Google Apps system.”

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