Office 365 migration: Ledger Bennett's story

Office 365 migration: Ledger Bennett's story

Ledger Bennett (LBDGA) leads the way with cloud technology strategy

In their search for high-level compliance, employee productivity, reliable IT support and a cutting-edge managed cloud migration and IT strategy, LBDGA did not expect to find one IT provider to tick all the boxes. That all changed when Catharine Sheikh, LBDGA operations director, attended a Cloud Direct webinar on migration to Office 365. The subsequent conversation sparked LBDGA’s business IT transformation. Cloud Direct is now leading them towards full cloud migration, while securing their business continuity and managing their day-to-day support and strategic IT solutions.

Key points

  • Cloud migration to Office 365 for a progressive, productive workforce
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery to meet compliance regulations
  • SLA-based IT support for a reliable, proactive service
  • Introductory professional services workshop to make full use of new technologies
  • Virtual CIO for business-aligned IT and strategic guidance
  • Dedicated account manager for one point of contact


LBDGA prides itself in being ahead of the curve in the demand generation business, from both a creative and technical perspective.

To support their business requirements, they needed a trustworthy and experienced IT provider to future-proof robust technology in alignment with compliance levels set by their blue-chip clients. In particular, they wanted to update their data backup and file-sharing practices.

The challenge

Phil Ledger, LBDGA’s managing director, wanted to explore cloud technologies with the ultimate goal of moving the entire business to the cloud. Managing risk and adhering to industry best practice was essential.

The business struggled to find a single IT provider who could fulfil these requirements as well as providing reliable IT support until the day Phil received an invitation from cloud services provider (CSP) Cloud Direct to attend a webinar on migrating in-house IT to Microsoft’s cloud solution, Office 365. Phil forwarded the invitation to Catharine Sheikh, operations director at LBDGA, and they discovered that Cloud Direct had the answers they were looking for.

Catharine said:

“Once we’d had the conversations with Cloud Direct, we were keen to move to their services quickly. We wanted to kick off by migrating our on-premises email service to Microsoft Office 365. Will Rowley, Cloud Direct’s professional services manager, worked hard to find the most efficient and cost-effective data migration solution for our business.

The solution

Green light for regulatory compliance

With ISO 20000 for service and the latest ISO 27001: 2013 accreditation for security, Cloud Direct gave LBDGA confidence that they would meet the highest possible global standards for compliance. Similarly, Cloud Direct bases their processes on ITIL, and project delivery on Prince2 methodology and has already migrated thousands of organisations to the cloud.

A trusted, Microsoft tier one gold CSP partner

Further, Cloud Direct is only one of a handful of tier one Microsoft Gold Partner cloud services providers (CSPs) for small to midsize businesses. This gives LBDGA the added benefit of simple account administration – for example Cloud Direct bills LBDGA directly for Microsoft services so LBDGA maintains a single point of contact with Cloud Direct for all their IT requirements.

Following LBDG’s email, calendars and contacts migration to Office 365, Cloud Direct’s Ben Smart and Preet Chahal proposed a three-stage approach to full cloud services adoption.

A three-stage approach to full cloud services

Cloud Direct would start by protecting LBDGA’s traditional IT with cloud services for business continuity. This includes Microsoft Azure server backup, disaster recovery and endpoint protection. Stage two would focus again on LBDGA’s people productivity, by migrating the business to full Office 365 E3 and business premium services. These include the usual Office applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, as well as SharePoint, Microsoft’s collaboration tool, and Yammer, the internal social network.

A dedicated account manager

Cloud Direct allocated LBDGA a dedicated point of contact, who would manage the relationship on a day-to-day basis. This account manager is backed by a professional services and IT support team and responsible for delivering a technology roadmap for:

  1. Business-ready tools that are scalable for growth
  2. Avoiding the hassle and cost of new servers and software
  3. A flexible and mobile workforce in keeping with BYOD trends
  4. A competitive business with all the latest tools and updates delivered seamlessly
  5. A focus on strategic IT initiatives instead of downtime, routine maintenance and security patching
  6. Faster set-up and deployment

A robust support and monitoring team

The SLA-protected helpdesk provides LBDGA with a strictly managed and monitored support service, that is on hand when required. The helpdesk takes full ownership of all problems until they are resolved, even if the problem is reliant on a third party provider such as an ISP or broadband supplier.

Four out of five (80%) of helpdesk calls are resolved through remote assistance, and Cloud Direct can monitor performance, diagnose faults and, with permission, take control of LBDGA PCs and Macs.

Catharine said:

“We have absolute confidence that Cloud Direct is monitoring our systems from afar. One morning, we received a seven o’clock call from them – they’d noticed we were suffering a power outage.”

Cloud Direct also provides LBDGA with server management and monitoring, onsite desk-side assistance once a week and a virtual CIO one day a month.

LBDGA’s monthly virtual CIO

To answer LBDGA’s strategic IT requirements, their virtual CIO is responsible for:

  • Aligning IT with ongoing business strategy
  • Developing, maintaining and facilitating an integrated IT architecture
  • Recommending options for efficiency improvements
  • Providing technical leadership management for the organisation
  • Helping with capital planning and technology investments
  • Improving Information Risk Management (IRM)
  • Helping to structure IT policies and provide best practice advice
  • Advising on standards


It’s still early days in terms of full cloud adoption, however feedback from LBDGA staff has shown the helpdesk to be a great asset to the business, who weren’t used to such a high level of support.

Catharine said:

“Everyone has been positive about their interactions with the helpdesk and it’s a godsend to have our virtual CIO once a month.” One employee said: “My first encounter with the IT crew was excellent They even made a couple of additional suggestions, which really helped.”

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