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Streamlining Operations: Modernising Zip Industries' On-Premises Mail Server

Recognising the need to further enhance communication capabilities, Zip Industries embarked on a strategic initiative to modernise their email infrastructure. While their existing on-premises mail server has provided valuable service over many years, it also presented opportunities for improvement. Zip Industries sought a solution that would not only enhance reliability and eliminate occasional monthly outages, but also streamline internal mail management processes. This proactive approach reflects their commitment to continuous improvement and fostering a dynamic and efficient work environment.

The Client

Established in 1947, Zip Industries is a proudly Australian-owned and operated business specialising in the design and manufacture of cutting-edge instant water systems. Headquartered in Sydney, the company boasts a national network of offices and over 300 skilled technicians, ensuring comprehensive installation, maintenance, and service for customers across Australia.

The Business Need

As a leading Australian manufacturer and designer of instant water systems, Zip Industries relies on a robust and efficient communication infrastructure to support its operations and maintain seamless customer service. However, the company’s legacy on-premises mail server presented several challenges, hindering performance, reliability, and security. To address these issues and ensure future-proof email capabilities, Zip Industries embarked on a strategic modernisation initiative.

1. Legacy On-Prem Mail Server

  • Limited Scalability: The existing on-premises server struggles to accommodate the growing email volume and user base of Zip Industries, leading to performance bottlenecks and delays.
  • Outdated Technology: The server operates on outdated software and hardware, making it susceptible to security vulnerabilities and lacking the latest features for enhanced functionality and collaboration.
  • Maintenance Burden: Managing the on-premises server requires significant IT resources and expertise, diverting valuable time and effort from core business activities.

2. Mail Management Issues

  • Inefficient Workflows: Manual processes and outdated software contribute to cumbersome internal mail handling, hindering productivity and collaboration.
  • Monthly Outages: Frequent outages disrupt email availability, causing communication delays and impacting day-to-day business operations.
  • Limited Automation: The lack of automation tools for tasks like email sorting, archiving, and compliance management creates unnecessary administrative overhead.

3. Security Enhancement Goals

  • Elevated Security Risks: The outdated server and software pose increased vulnerability to security breaches and data leaks, requiring proactive measures to protect sensitive information.
  • Incomplete Compliance: The existing system may not meet the latest compliance requirements for data privacy and security, potentially leading to fines and reputational damage.
  • Limited Disaster Recovery: The current infrastructure lacks robust disaster recovery capabilities, putting business continuity at risk in case of unforeseen events.

The Solution

Zip Water Australia’s migration to Microsoft 365 wasn’t just about switching platforms; it involved a carefully orchestrated hybrid approach that ensured a smooth transition and minimised disruption to ongoing operations. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps involved:

1. Strategic Planning and Assessment:

  • Conducted a comprehensive assessment of Zip Water’s existing email infrastructure and user needs.
  • Defined clear migration goals and objectives for improved performance, reliability, and security.
  • Developed a detailed migration plan with defined timelines, responsibilities, and risk management strategies.

2. On-Premises Optimisation and Coexistence:

  • Upgraded the on-premises mail server to the latest supported version to ensure compatibility with the hybrid environment.
  • Implemented a phased migration approach, migrating user mailboxes in batches to minimise impact on individual users.
  • Established a coexistence period where both on-premises and cloud-based systems operated simultaneously to ensure smooth user transition.

3. Secure and Seamless Integration with Microsoft 365:

  • Utilised Microsoft Azure Directory Federation Serivces (ADFS) to synchronise user identities and authenticate access to both environments.
  • Configured single sign-on (SSO) for seamless user access to email and other Microsoft 365 services.
  • Implemented advanced security measures like conditional access and multi-factor authentication to protect sensitive data.

4. Ongoing Monitoring and Management:

  • Continuously monitored the hybrid environment for performance, security, and user adoption.
  • Provided ongoing support and training to users to ensure smooth transition and efficient utilisation of the new platform.
  • Proactively identified and addressed any potential issues or challenges that arose during the migration process.

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The Results

The hybrid approach, executed with meticulous planning and implementation, allowed Zip Water Australia to successfully migrate their email infrastructure to Microsoft 365 while minimising disruption and maximising benefits. The resulting improvements in performance, reliability, security, and user experience have positioned the company for continued success in the digital age.

  • Enhanced efficiency: Employees benefited from improved and more reliable access to email services, marking a positive shift in the organisation’s communication infrastructure.
  • Elimination of outages: The new system eliminated monthly outages, ensuring uninterrupted communication and business continuity.
  • Improved scalability: Microsoft 365 provides the scalability needed to accommodate future growth and user base expansion.
  • Enhanced security: The modern and secure platform strengthens data protection and compliance with latest regulations.
  • Reduced IT burden: The cloud-based solution eliminates the need for on-premises server maintenance, freeing up valuable IT resources.
  • Modern features and functionality: Employees can leverage advanced features like collaboration tools, mobile access, and enhanced search capabilities.

Key Stats

By adopting a modern cloud-based solution, Zip Water Australia is well-positioned to adapt to future technological advancements and evolving communication needs.

750+ mailboxes migrated to Microsoft 365 without interrupting business operations.

Outages reduced from 2-3 per month to 0, improving user access.

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