Cervus Equipment Corporation

Equipment Retailer Gains Scalable, Flexible, Reliable Email by Moving to the Cloud

Keeping up with the ‘now’ is important for us. We need to concentrate our resources on the primary business and integrating employees from our acquisitions; Office 365 lets us do that.

James Paisley, IT Coordinator, Cervus Equipment Corporation

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

1100  employees

Organization Profile

Calgary, Alberta-based Cervus Equipment Corp. acquires and operates authorized agricultural, industrial and construction equipment dealerships, helping them realize their full potential.

Business Situation

Cervus had been growing rapidly and was concerned about providing reliable email to its 900 employees, with another 200 being added from an acquisition. The company needed a more scalable solution.


Cervus selected Office 365 with Exchange Online for its scalable, reliable email solution and to provide the Active Directory integration needed to help its employees communicate and collaborate.

  • Scalable, reliable email
  • 50% savings on support costs
  • Increased collaboration
Software and Services
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Microsoft Office 365
Vertical Industries

Retail and Consumer Goods



Business Need

Business Productivity



Company Overview:

Founded in 1998, Cervus is in the business of acquiring and operating authorized agricultural, industrial, and construction equipment dealerships.


Cervus operates 35 company-owned and managed retail equipment locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, and has investment partnerships with many other organizations.Cervus was looking for an email solution that would not only support its current business needs, but would also make it easier for the company’s IT department to add new users – perhaps even several hundred at a time – as the company added new locations.


With 1100 employees across 35 locations in Canada, Cervus relies on email as the backbone of communications within the company. The company was using an on premise solution that couldn’t keep up with Cervus’ rapid growth, which became particularly obvious when the company faced the task of adding 200 employees to its infrastructure due to an acquisition.

I used to think that Lync was just ‘gravy,’ but it is so much more. It is so collaborative, we have bumped up our timing to deploy it; it’s changing how we do business.

– James Paisley
IT Coordinator
Cervus Equipment Corporation.

Not only was the existing email solution not accommodating the added employees, the company was running out of storage space on its server, leading to the need to limit users’ inbox sizes and email attachments, as well as intermittent problems with sending and receiving messages. Spam messages, and the continual need to update spam definitions, were a regular time waster for both employees and IT staff. Cervus needed more capacity and reliability for its email, and quickly, as its on-premise server was a single point of failure with no backup. If the server failed, company-wide email would come to a halt, and so would much of its business.

Managing the existing solution and troubleshooting issues required the attentions of three quarters of a full time employee’s time, and concerns were raised that as the company expanded, this support need would continue to increase. “For us, it was extremely difficult to justify the manpower required to support our on-premise solution,” says James Paisley, IT Coordinator for Cervus.

Because of the need for employees across Canada to work together on projects, Cervus used bridge conference lines for group calls. The cost was extremely high, due to the company being charged by the minute to use the service. Interoffice travel was another line item for expenses that was of concern to company management.


Cervus, along with their partner, Betach Solutions, evaluated other cloud-based solutions but opted not to deploy them because of the lack of integration with Microsoft Active Directory, leading to an inability to use existing distribution lists, as well as the lack of a guarantee for uptime and security of data. Microsoft Office 365, an online service which unites familiar Microsoft Office applications with email, calendaring, collaboration, and communication solutions, provided the scalable, reliable, and flexible solution Cervus needed to provide company-wide email and collaboration, while reducing support costs.

Although Cervus originally chose to implement a hybrid email solution as a security precaution, Microsoft Exchange Online has worked so well for them that they plan to quickly do away with the redundancy of the on premise server.

Cervus’ new email solution is running smoothly and as more mailboxes and associated devices are moved to it, confidence is rapidly building; both employees and the IT staff are appreciating the peace of mind this provides. They are now looking to introduce additional functionality to users, such as integration with mobile devices. “Another huge reason to deploy Exchange Online was its compatibility with mobile devices, because we need to prepare for the present paradigm shift in mobile ‘anything’,” Paisley comments.

The cost to upgrade its on premise server was avoided, with a major return on investment coming in the form of the increased capacity for email storage. As well, the company has been able to cut its support costs for its IT desk in half.


Scalable, Reliable Email

Paisley is very happy with the email solution’s ability to not just support existing employees, but the ability to quickly add new ones as the company expands; in fact, Cervus plans to eliminate the on-premise email server. “Office 365 lets us do that,” comments Paisley. In addition, employees are appreciating email storage of 25 GB instead of the 2 GB to which they had previously been limited; as well as the elimination of spam mail.

We can’t have things go down – we have to make sure our infrastructure is intact for everyday happenstance. With Office 365, we let Microsoft run our email so we can focus on other areas.

– James Paisley
IT Coordinator
Cervus Equipment Corporation.

50% Savings on Support

While the company had required three-quarters of an IT employee’s time to manage and troubleshoot the on-premise solution, Paisley has already seen that requirement cut by half. “With Office 365, email is now very inexpensive to maintain, and our confidence continues to grow,” he comments.

Increased Collaboration

With email running smoothly, employees are able to share information and collaborate much more easily. An unforeseen benefit of the Office 365 migration has been Microsoft Lync Online. So far, it’s being used mainly in the IT department, where Paisley and his colleagues use it to have discussions and planning sessions with IT personnel in other locations. Paisley says, “I used to think that Lync was just ‘gravy,’ but it is so much more. It is so collaborative, we have bumped up our timing to deploy it; it’s changing how we do business.”

A future step will be incorporating Microsoft SharePoint Online once Cervus can evaluate how to structure the system to accommodate the different needs and work styles of its diverse divisions. ”There’s a lot of pressure to implement SharePoint; what started as a ’cool‘ collaborative test is now a core component of the company. Everyone needs to use it,” Paisley says.

Cervus has not only addressed the issues they had with their on-premise solution, they are now able to focus on adding functionality. As Paisley puts it, “We can’t have things go down – we have to make sure our infrastructure is intact for everyday happenstance. With Office 365, we let Microsoft run our email so we can focus on other areas.”

Microsoft Office 365:

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.


Microsoft Case Study: Cervus Equipment Corporation

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