CRO growth leads to cloud solutions

Standardised platform and improved collaboration using Office 365

The Client

Domainex is a Cambridge based drug discovery CRO serving pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic and patient foundations globally.

The Scenario

Having outgrown their Science Park premises, Domainex approached Syplex to support their continued expansion and relocation to new premises. A review of their traditional on-premise IT systems identified a need to standardise the software platform and better support collaboration with partners around the world. The requirement for solutions that can be rapidly scaled, are easily deployed and can be shared with partners or remote members of staff made them a natural fit for Microsoft Office 365.

To meet these needs and support the continued growth of the company Syplex planned an implementation of Office 365 Business Premium and a step-by-step migration of key systems over to the Cloud-based Office 365 platform.

The Solution

Microsoft Office version standardisation

Domainex staff were using versions of MS Office ranging from 2007 to 2016, which caused file compatibility issues and additional support overhead for IT. The Office 365 Business Premium subscription allowed standardisation on the latest Office software across the company.

Cloud based email

Although their on-premise Exchange server was operating reliably, the increasing importance of email system resilience, the overhead of server maintenance and the cost of licences made the decision to migrate to Exchange Online, a core function in the Office 365 system, an obvious one. Syplex used the option to setup a Hybrid Exchange environment, which mirrors the existing mail accounts to the Cloud servers to allow a seamless migration of mailboxes. The Cloud based system provides additional functionality such as mail Archives and Shared mailboxes, but also supports additional security features such as built-in protection from spam/malware and 2-factor authentication.

File sharing collaboration with third parties

Syplex had previously established an Extranet collaboration solution based on SharePoint Foundation Server, which was being utilised extensively but was becoming difficult to scale effectively. SharePoint Online (included with Office 365) eliminates this scalability concern and provides 24x7 reliability. Utilising a specialist data migration tool Syplex were able to move the in-house extranet platform to the Cloud based 365 systems, which brought the added benefits of online file editing and OneDrive file synchronisation. These features will be increasingly usefully for remote members of staff and external collaborators.

Teleconferencing solution

Domainex used WebEx for teleconferencing with partners and remote members of staff. Although this is a tried and tested solution the licensing costs are high and not all staff could have access when required. Syplex recommended a switch to Skype Meetings, which is included with Office 365 as part of Skype for Business and integrates with Outlook, as this includes teleconferencing functionality similar to WebEx. An inexpensive add-on allows dial-in telephone conferencing numbers to be available for individual meeting organisers.

The Conclusion

Domainex are now benefiting from a more functional, more resilient and more accessible IT collaboration platform which can scale to meet any plans for future growth. Taking a step-by-step approach to the migration caused minimal disruption and allowed staff time to adjust to any changes. The on-premise systems can now be scaled back, reducing the need for future capital investment as well as operating and maintenance costs.

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