Law Firm Cuts IT Costs by 90 Percent, Dismisses Server Worries with Online Services

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1 Microsoft Online Services Customer Solution Case Study Law Firm Cuts IT Costs by 90 Percent, Dismisses Server Worries with Online Services Overview Country or Region: United States Industry: Professional services- Legal Customer Profile James C. Nolan Law Office provides immigration legal services for professional firms trying to hire non-u.s. workers. The New York City based firm has four full-time employees. Business Situation Nolan wanted to reduce monthly server maintenance fees, eliminate concerns about server reliability, and simplify the process of connecting seasonal workers to company systems. Solution The firm got rid of its servers and subscribed to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite to get Web-based access to the latest messaging and collaboration programs. Benefits Monthly IT costs reduced 90 percent High reliability delivers peace of mind Easier data access leads to higher productivity, saving about one hour per employee per day Scalability accommodates growth We pay a total of $125 a month for our Microsoft Online Services subscriptions and storage, versus $1,500 a month for a consultant to manage our on-site servers. James C. Nolan Law Office specializes in immigration law. Owner James Nolan uses technology to deliver excellent customer service and achieve paperless efficiencies, but his technology costs were too high, and it was too difficult to connect part-time workers to his firm s systems. Nolan decided to eliminate his physical servers and subscribe to the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. By moving messaging and collaboration software and data to the Internet cloud, Nolan cut IT costs by 90 percent. Removing the physical servers also helped Nolan downsize his space and save on rent and electrical bills. Having Microsoft host documents eliminates worries about server downtime, and employees are more productive by accessing data online, anytime. Setting up part-time workers to access the firm systems now takes 15 minutes instead of two or three days.

2 It took two to three days of outside consultant work to give [seasonal employees] secure access to our server. We needed our technology to be more flexible, scalable, and economical. Situation James C. Nolan Law Office provides immigration-related legal services for professional firms spanning the high-tech, financial services, manufacturing, and entertainment industries. It helps companies efficiently and quickly hire workers who are not U.S. citizens and keep existing non-u.s. employees on the job. It also helps non-u.s. professional workers obtain the visas and green cards that are needed to work in the United States. In recent years, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has slowed its visa approval process and placed a quota on a particular type of work visa that must be filed by March 31 of each year. This has concentrated Nolan s work early in the calendar year and placed a premium on filing documents as fast as possible. Speed of processing immigration paperwork is a competitive differentiator for us, says James Nolan, Owner of James C. Nolan Law Office. Nolan uses technology to achieve fast processing speeds and deliver top-notch customer service. The firm uses the INSZoom immigration-law database program to prepare forms and share them with clients online. Several years ago, Nolan also deployed Windows Small Business Server 2003, which packages the Windows Server 2003 operating system, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 messaging software, Windows SharePoint Services intranet technology, and Windows Server Update Services in one integrated suite that runs on a single server. Nolan also added a second server, running Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services, to give full-time and part-time employees remote access to company systems. Although the firm s technology infrastructure enabled it to achieve paperless efficiencies and process immigration paperwork quickly, those efficiencies came at a cost. The server hardware was both bulky and noisy, consuming a sizeable footprint in the office. Underlying costs to pay for additional office space and server hardware air conditioning quickly added up at expensive New York City prices. Support costs for the servers were U.S.$1,500 a month. Nolan was also spending three to four hours a week managing the systems himself, including monitoring backups, checking connections, and rebooting server hardware after updates. This was time that he could have been using to win new business. At an hourly bill rate of $350, these lost revenues quickly added up to approximately $60,000 annually. Though the firm had not experienced any catastrophic server failures, Nolan was concerned about this risk. If our [Windows] Small Business Server went down, it could take us a week to restore it, he says. If that were to happen during our busiest time of the year, I would lose an additional $60,000 in income and be out of business in a week. It was also difficult to add part-time staff to the corporate network during the busy season. Nolan hires extra staff, some located as far away as California, during his busy months, and it was excruciating getting these remote workers connected to the server. We need to [get] new [employees working] quickly, and it was not easy. It took two to three days of outside consultant work to give them secure access to our server, Nolan says. We needed our technology to be more flexible, scalable, and economical. Solution In late 2008, the hardware running Windows Small Business Server 2003 needed to be replaced, which forced the firm to make a decision about its technology direction. It would have cost at least $2,000 to buy new

3 The Google applications just weren t robust enough to compete with Office Outlook functionality. We were pretty committed to sticking with Microsoft Office. hardware, $1,500 for software licensing, and the IT consultant fees to set it up; all this cost $7,500 the first time around, Nolan says. Worse, we would experience downtime during the setup period, which originally was about 10 days. Our business simply could not withstand the downtime. Evaluating Alternatives Nolan looked briefly into Google online applications, but the amount of storage provided by Google was nowhere near what we needed, Nolan says. Also, Nolan employees used Microsoft Office Professional Edition 2003 as their desktop productivity software, and were especially dependent on the Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 messaging and collaboration client. The Google applications just weren t robust enough to compete with Office Outlook functionality, Nolan says. We were pretty committed to sticking with Microsoft Office. Nolan began searching for an Exchange Server hosted service, because Exchange Server 2003 was the primary component in Windows Small Business Server 2003 that his firm used. Determined to eliminate the physical server, Nolan asked his local IT consultant for an alternate way to store data and deliver applications. The consultant offered to host Exchange Server 2003 for the firm, but at a cost of nearly $20,000 annually. When Nolan balked at the cost, the consultant referred him to other Microsoft Certified Partners that might provide lower-cost hosted Exchange Server solutions. One of these was Collabra Networks, a Microsoft Small Business Specialist in Petaluma, California. Collabra told Nolan about Microsoft Online Services and specifically the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite, which includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Office Live Meeting, and Microsoft Office Communications Online. These powerful enterprise communication and collaboration applications are hosted by Microsoft and can be purchased with assistance from partners like Collabra Networks that can help with configuration. We found out that we could eliminate our physical servers by going with Microsoft Online Services, Nolan says. It would also give us a way to add new [employees] quickly and easily during our busy periods, alleviate concerns about server downtime, and dramatically reduce our IT costs. Migrating to Online Applications In just a few days, and without making a trip to New York, Collabra Networks connected the James C. Nolan Law Office to Microsoft Online Services, migrated employee mailboxes to Exchange Online, and began transferring the firm s documents to SharePoint Online. At the same time that it subscribed to Microsoft Online Services, the James C. Nolan Law Office deployed Microsoft Office Professional Plus With the newest version of Microsoft Office desktop productivity programs, Nolan employees can access documents on the SharePoint Online site and take advantage of the latest capabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, which is available through Exchange Online. The freedom to combine hosted and on-premises software to cost-effectively suit the needs of the business made Microsoft software especially compelling. For example, Nolan employees can make use of powerful search capabilities in Office Outlook 2007 to search through their mailboxes and locate key contacts and information in seconds. With Exchange Online, they have easier, faster remote Web access to their , using the familiar Office Outlook 2007 interface. Previously, employees had to

4 Having all our case documents on a SharePoint site also enables outside workers to access them easily. This frees us to add seasonal employees more readily. Information is also more secure. log on to the terminal server using a virtual private network (VPN) connection to check messages, which was time-consuming and frustrating. Today, they can connect easily and securely using any Web browser. Employees can also view shared calendars from Office Outlook The company is migrating all business documents (100 gigabytes of data) to SharePoint Online, where they are instantly indexed and searchable. Nolan had not used the Windows SharePoint Services capability in Windows Small Business Server 2003 because he was concerned that it would be time consuming to deploy. Having the collaboration software online simplified setup and promoted usability. Employees now access the firm s INSZoom database from SharePoint Online and use the SharePoint Online search capability to locate documents in INSZoom. Being able to search for information is a big timesaver, Nolan says. Having all our case documents on a SharePoint site also enables outside workers to access them easily. This frees us to add seasonal employees more readily. Information is also more secure; we no longer have to worry about backing up files, because they re in the Microsoft data center. The law firm plans to use Office Communications Online to speed communications among full-time and part-time staff. They can see presence indicators in any Microsoft Office program, indicating the availability of colleagues, and can initiate instant-messaging conversations to get quick answers. Presence and instant messaging eliminate the need to leave phone or messages and wait for responses. Nolan expects that Office Live Meeting will help his employees communicate with clients and with remote contract workers more easily, personally, and productively. Benefits By eliminating physical server hardware and using Microsoft Online Services, the James C. Nolan Law Office has been able to slash its technology costs by 90 percent and downsize its offices, reducing rent and electrical costs. With Microsoft hosting its messaging and collaboration applications, Nolan never again has to worry about servers failing. Employees save up to an hour a day searching for information, and the scalability of cloud - based services accommodates business growth cost-effectively. Monthly IT Costs Reduced 90 Percent By subscribing to Microsoft Online Services, the James C. Nolan Law Office was able to dispose of its big, noisy servers and save a lot of money. We pay a total of $125 a month for our Microsoft Online Services subscriptions and storage, versus $1,500 a month for a consultant to manage our on-site servers, Nolan says. We also avoided having to buy another server and associated software and setup, which could have been a $5,000 to $7,500 expense. The firm also can scale its usage down or up at a very low incremental cost. When the firm recently downsized its office space, it reduced its rent and electrical bills. Partially because we did not have to move those servers with us, we were able to downsize our office and spend less in rent and electrical bills, Nolan says. The savings continue. Relieved of server management responsibilities, Nolan has recaptured three to four hours a week. At my billing rate, that time is worth $60,000 annually, but the revenue potential is much higher because I m capturing new business rather than baby-sitting servers, Nolan says.

5 Employees are easily achieving an hour a day in productivity gains because it s so much easier to find and access information. Always-On Reliability Delivers Peace of Mind With Microsoft Online Services, Nolan has attained peace of mind, which he never had with on-site servers. With our key business systems and documents in the cloud, I don t worry about server downtime, Nolan says. We can store all our documents in a secure environment, access them from anywhere, and know that they are always available. Most law firms don t have that assurance; it s a tremendous capability. When the firm finishes migrating its documents to SharePoint Online, it will have all of its intellectual property stored in a Microsoft data center, where it s safer than it was on the firm s server and fully accessible to staff and clients. Nolan has access to round-the-clock support from Microsoft if he has a problem. We can create a service ticket online, and the folks at Microsoft are very responsive, he says. We don t have to worry about getting hold of a local provider who might not call us back for several hours or days. provide even better customer service. Plus, we get more credibility and respect from corporate clients by hosting our data in Microsoft data centers. Clients know that their data is safe. Scalability Accommodates Business Growth With Microsoft Online Services, the James C. Nolan Law Office has instant business scalability. It can add new full-time staff or remote part-time staff without deploying software or paying an outside consultant to establish secure connections to business systems. It takes about 15 minutes to get a new employee running on Microsoft Online Services, versus the two to three days it took to connect to the firm s servers. Plus, the company always has access to the latest Microsoft communication and collaboration programs, without the need to upgrade on-premises software and hardware. We are free to grow without technology worries and exorbitant expenses, Nolan says. Microsoft Online Services makes good business sense. Easier Data Access Leads to Higher Productivity With Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, employees can easily access or client information anytime, from any Internet connection; no VPN is needed. Employees are easily achieving an hour a day in productivity gains because it s so much easier to find and access information, Nolan says. As we get more data on SharePoint Online and explore other capabilities like Web conferencing and instant messaging, we will see even more timesavings. Ultimately, Nolan wants to share more data with clients online. Online document sharing with clients will be a big competitive advantage for us and a big timesaver for our staff and clients, Nolan says. It enables us to

6 For More Information For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) Customers who are deaf or hard-ofhearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) in the United States or (905) in Canada. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to: For more information about Collabra Networks products and services, call (707) or visit the Web site at: For more information about the James C. Nolan Law Office, call (212) or visit the Web site at: Microsoft Online Services Microsoft Online Services is a business-class communications and collaboration software offering delivered as a subscription service, hosted by Microsoft, and sold with partners. These services help make it easier for customers to rapidly and cost-effectively access the most up-to-date technologies, and are designed for rapid deployment to provide customers with streamlined communications, simplified management, and business-class reliability and security. For IT staff, Microsoft Online Services helps reduce the burden of performing routine IT management tasks such as installation, provisioning, ongoing maintenance, patches, updates, and upgrades, making it possible for them to spend more time on initiatives that move the business forward. These services are backed by strong SLAs and are designed to meet the regulatory compliance and reliability needs of enterprise customers. On a technical level, the services boast the sophistication and reliability that customers expect from Microsoft, which continues to invest heavily in building data centers to support these services. For more information, visit: Software and Services Microsoft Online Services Microsoft Exchange Online Microsoft Office Communications Online Microsoft Office Live Meeting Microsoft SharePoint Online Microsoft Office Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 Partners Collabra Networks This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published March 2009

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