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Curro Holdings rolls out Microsoft Office 365

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Founded in 1998 by renowned educational figure, Doctor Chris Rudolph Van Der Merwe, Curro Holdings has evolved from a single campus facility based in Durbanville, Western Cape, to a scholastic powerhouse comprising of 31 sites and several thousand students.

Established to provide quality primary education facilities throughout the country, Curro has grown from strength to strength on the basis of its singular vision and close partnerships with its stakeholders. Today, the organisation provides private schooling via its Curro, Meridian and Select brands, nursery school care via Curro Castle Nursery Schools and training via the Embury Institute for Teacher Education.

Curro is a South African success story. Using its past achievements as a platform for future growth, the group aims to establish 80 schools and accommodate 80 000 learners by 2020.
Challenge

Managing the technical demands associated with a rapidly growing enterprise can be a challenging assignment. Critical infrastructure solutions that once adequately catered to internal communication requirements can quickly become eclipsed by the swift introduction of new staff.

This was an obstacle Curro Holdings had been forced to address after undergoing several significant growth spurts. Although the company’s on premise UNIX based email platform had been able to carry the load during the organisation’s formative years, it was beginning to buckle under the weight of thousands of email addresses and numerous technical requests.

Furthermore, Curro’s internal IT team had begun to find the manual addition of staff and students to the email database extremely time consuming.

It was at this point that the organisation began to investigate more fitting and cost effective options.
Solution
After a thorough investigation, Curro Holdings made contact with Microsoft South Africa and Microsoft certified partner, Integralis to apply Office 365 E1 to its technical infrastructure.

The decision to move to a cloud based solution was strongly motivated by scaleability and cost. Microsoft’s capacity to apply on premise active directory sync and Microsoft SCCM 2012 for local software distribution with an off premise communication infrastructure offered Curro Holdings the capacity to grow without concern.

Instead of manually adding mail accounts and deploying software to staff and students Office 365, in collaboration with the organisation’s on premise solutions, allowed for a more automated process that could be deployed according to need.

In early 2013, Curro Holdings made the decision to migrate its email infrastructure to Microsoft Office 365.
Benefits

The benefits associated with the migration have been considerable, admits Curro Holdings IT Manager, Barend Wiedeman.

“The decision to move over to Office 365 was motivated by a need to automate the internal administration process. As Curro grew it become increasingly challenging to personally manage the deployment of mail accounts and software”

“Fortunately, Microsoft and Integralis have made this process much easier by integrating our cloud based solution with active synch services. Today, when a new staff member is appointed, the system automatically creates a Microsoft Sharepoint, Lync and email account – giving us more time to focus on maintaining the system”.

Furthermore, the cost associated with a cloud based approach has proven far more manageable.

“Catering to a growing enterprise with on premise hardware is a costly exercise. Office 365 has made this easier to mitigate by allowing us to allocate additional resources according to need. We no longer have to worry about sweating assets – software and accounts are provisioned or decommissioned dynamically. It is far more cost effective”.