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Case Study

Structural Metal Decks

Requirement: Migration from an on-premise server to Microsoft Office 365

SMD chose Blue Chip to implement a reliable and cost-effective solution to replace their ageing on-premise server. Switching to the Cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 provided SMD with a cost-efficient solution that was easily-available for access by staff across the globe.


The Client

Based in Poole, Dorset, Structural Metal Decks (SMD) are a leading Steel Engineering business specialising in composite metal decking. Their products have been utilised in a number of high-profile building projects, including the Shard and Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5.

SMD were utilising Windows Small Business Server - now a discontinued product - which would have left them vulnerable to cyberattacks, as well as any bugs not being patched and the threat of newer software not being compatible. It was therefore critical to find a replacement for the ageing system.

The company’s principle office has approximately 50 IT users with a handful of additional users located at remote offices in the Midlands and Scotland. Additionally, the ability to get support at any time was imperative to them due to the growth of their support office in India. This meant that it was essential to SMD for their employees to be able to access company data remotely as well as in the Head Office in Poole, as well as having support available during the times when their India support office would be open.



Structural Metal Decks were using a number of Microsoft products across the business, including various iterations of Office. Exchange 2010 was incorporated as part of Small Business Server and provided 60 mailboxes, as well as 3 shared calendars. Being an accredited Microsoft Cloud Productivity Partner, and with over 20 years’ of IT Services and Solutions experience, Blue Chip felt that due to SMD’s familiarisation with Microsoft’s software, it would be sensible to recommend another Microsoft product – the Cloud-based Office 365. The use of a Cloud solution was deemed to be an economical option for SMD, as it would negate the need to replace or upgrade their existing hardware solution at great expense. Instead, Office 365 was available at a per-user, per-month price, allowing SMD to scale their number of IT users up and down, on demand, in line with the company’s growth, as well as reducing their overhead costs.

The additional desire for SMD to keep their existing mailboxes and calendars which were hosted via Exchange 2010 would have required them to purchase this on-premise solution at an additional cost in order for them to avoid disruption to their services. However, with Office 365 there was no need for additional software, and their emails, mailboxes and calendars were transferred seamlessly.


Success and Company Benefits

By switching to Office 365, Structural Metal Decks operate using a cohesive, cost-effective solution, which has aligned all of their staff onto the same software. With Office 365 guaranteeing 99.9% uptime, SMD felt that they were utilising a more reliable product with the added benefit of reducing the overheads associated with physical servers. SMD’s Technical Director, Jamie Turner, commented “Switching from our previous solution to Office 365 has had a real cost benefit to us. Not only does it mitigate the need for a costly onsite Exchange server, but there is a straightforward cost per user, per annum pricing structure – there are no more expensive surprises when hardware needs to suddenly be replaced. Blue Chip recommended the exact product that we needed, and also do an exemplary job of managing it for us.” 

In addition to managing the billing and technical support for Office 365 via Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Programme, SMD had the confidence in Blue Chip’s expertise to provide 24/7 support, covering all areas of their IT Infrastructure. This meant that their support office in India had access to Blue Chip’s technical experts during their own operating hours, as well as those in the UK.

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