As part of a three-year strategy to move its infrastructure to the cloud, A&N Media chose to deploy Microsoft Office 365. The first phase of the deployment was to 2,800 users at Northcliffe Media, with other companies to be migrated within the next few years. Office 365 was chosen after a thorough evaluation of competing solutions, meeting the organisation’s criteria for reliability, performance, and flexibility. 

Business Needs

The A&N Media publishing portfolio encompasses a range of popular print and online news titles in the U.K., including The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and free newspapers Metro and the Evening Standard. Mail Online is the most successful English-language news website in the world, attracting 77 million unique visitors each month. Northcliffe Media handles the majority of the corporation’s 103 regional print and web news titles, and provides comprehensive digital classified advertising services.

A&N Media employs around 7,000 staff in the U.K. and overseas, and the company’s IT systems must support round-the-clock global news gathering. David Henderson, Chief Information Officer, A&N Media, says: “Publishing has changed massively in the last 10 years. Our websites attract 100 million users each month and there’s always a demand for the latest news, so we employ many journalists who create a lot of content. It’s a challenging environment and our staff are highly mobile—researching, editing, and publishing articles wherever they’re working from and on whatever device.”

Solution

A&N Media researched the market for potential cloud solutions, but only Microsoft Office 365, which brings together Microsoft Office, SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online, met its criteria. Henderson says: “We trialled several collaboration and email systems, but our users preferred Office 365 functionality. It worked well with lots of different devices, including iPhone devices—better than anything else we tested. Integration with the on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM system was particularly important for the sales and marketing team. Office 365 also met our technical and business requirements for flexibility and lower operating costs.”

Benefits

The Microsoft Office 365 deployment at Northcliffe Media supports round-the-clock news gathering. The IT and development teams can focus on delivering new products to market quickly in a cost-efficient, reliable, and high-performing cloud infrastructure.

Reliable, accessible cloud service increases competitiveness. Henderson says: “Our users have high expectations. With Microsoft Office 365, they can research, create, and publish content 24 hours a day, wherever they are in the world.”

New products go to market quickly. The A&N Media team can deliver better business value by spending more time on innovation rather than maintenance and platform upgrades. Henderson says: “By moving our core business platform to the cloud, we’re letting experts run those services for us, so we can do what we do best, which is publish great content and news.”

Total cost of ownership is reduced. A&N Media purchased Office 365 on a per-user basis. This purchase model—combined with improved resourcing and less routine maintenance and upgrade work—contribute to lowering the cost of ownership compared to running the same solutions on-premises.

Deployment consultancy services support fast, seamless migration. The rollout to Northcliffe Media users was achieved within the tight timescale demanded by A&N Media. Paul Kelly, Office 365 Sales Executive, Microsoft, says: “Microsoft Services drew on its experience of Office 365 best practice migrations to help A&N Media prepare and migrate to the cloud.”

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