Financial Firm Chooses Office 365 over Google Apps, Gains Highly Secure Email

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

250 employees

Organization Profile

One of Ireland’s most experienced stockbroking firms, Goodbody, offers extensive investment management services, including equities, bonds, structured products, and property. It is based in Dublin.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Microsoft SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus
Vertical Industries

Capital Markets/Securities





Company Overview:

Headquartered in Dublin, Goodbody is one of the largest wealth management firms in Ireland.

GOODBODY case studyAs it grew, it sought ways to improve its messaging environment. After evaluating Google Apps, Goodbody chose Microsoft Office 365, a suite of cloud-based online messaging and collaboration solutions. It looks forward to optimized security and an integrated messaging system.

Business Needs:

With roots as far back as 1877, Goodbody is one of the oldest stockbroking firms in Ireland, with a reputation for expertise, innovation, and trust. The firm provides comprehensive stockbroking and advisory services for domestic and international, institutional, corporate, and private clients. It has offices in Dublin, Cork, and Galway.

As the firm grew and began to offer new services, it considered upgrading its IT infrastructure, particularly its messaging system. It used Lotus Notes, but was experiencing issues with functionality and integration. Employees had problems with calendaring and working with the user interface. “It required several clicks just to open a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet,” says Stuart Halford, Head of Technical Projects and Service Assurance at Goodbody.

Goodbody had a strong record of leveraging and managing hosted and managed services offerings. It recognized the potential of cloud technology and began to consider cloud service solutions. “We started looking at cloud options because we were very comfortable with managed services offerings and working with providers whose core business is implementing and managing those technologies,” says Halford.

The firm also wanted easy integration with Microsoft applications and it needed a secure technology. “Because we work in a highly regulated industry, all our systems need to be highly secure,” says Halford. “If we can’t lock it down and control it in a very secure manner, we can’t use it.”


Beginning in November 2011, Goodbody evaluated Google Apps, but found that the messaging and productivity service did not have the security features that the firm needed. “For us, Google Apps did not have sufficient access control. It couldn’t provide the level of security we needed,” says Halford. “We had to be able to lock down who has access to information and limit where they can access it from. Google didn’t have a good solution for that.”

After comparing Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps, we chose Exchange Online in Office 365 for its strong security and integration with other Microsoft technologies.

– Stuart Halford
Head of Technical Projects and Service Assurance, Goodbody.

Goodbody instead chose Microsoft Office 365, a subscription-based offering of Microsoft cloud services, which includes Microsoft Exchange Online, Microsoft SharePoint Online, Microsoft Lync Online, and Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus. “After comparing Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps, we chose Exchange Online in Office 365 for its strong security and integration with other Microsoft technologies,” says Halford.

Goodbody can use Office 365 to help safeguard critical data with globally-redundant, enterprise-grade reliability and disaster recovery with multiple data centers, automatic failovers, and a strict privacy policy.

In July 2012, Goodbody signed a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for the Office 365 E3 license that provides employees with the latest version of Office and the right to install the software on up to five devices per person.

Goodbody adopted Office 365 with Office 365 ProPlus for 320 PCs. It engaged Ergo, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, to help with the email migration from Lotus Notes to Office 365, which was completed mid-January 2013.

Ultimately, Goodbody hopes to use SharePoint Online for its intranet site and Lync Online for helping employees to reach out to their colleagues instantly.


By choosing Microsoft Office 365 over Google Apps, Goodbody will be able to achieve its goal of implementing a solution that not only provides the level of security it needs, but also provides openings to expand. “Moving to Office 365, we’re putting in place a technology platform that we can build on. This will help us to be more innovative and take advantage of new opportunities,” says Halford.

Strong Security
With its move to Office 365, Goodbody now has the security it needs. “Office 365 provides us with the granularity of control we needed to ensure that our solution meets all our regulatory requirements. And we were reassured to have Microsoft expertise there to support us,” says Halford.

Data storage location was a key consideration for Goodbody. “The fact that Microsoft was able to assure us that our data would always reside within the European Union [EU] was critical to us to ensure we fully complied with our Data Protection obligations,” says Halford. “Google could not guarantee that all of our data would be stored in EU. For us, that was a showstopper.”

Streamlined Communications
Goodbody employees will be able to enjoy easy sharing of contacts, calendar appointments, and tasks. The messaging system will work seamlessly with the programs that employees use most. “With Exchange Online, we won’t need several clicks to open an Excel file; we’ll just click the attachment and see it right away,” says Halford.

Goodbody is excited to be able to use continuously updated applications that are stable and reliable. “At the time we looked at Google, we learned that if a network outage occurs, you could lose access to important documents because you’re accessing it solely from a web browser,” says Halford. “With Office 365, you can continue to work even when you are offline.”

More Transparent Costs
By subscribing to Office 365, Goodbody is able to scale up or down on a per-unit cost, paying per user, per month. “We’re moving to a platform where we’ll be able to better forecast our costs. This will help us better manage our growth in the future and place us in a more transparent place in terms of costs,” says Halford.

Halford is reassured that the firm will no longer experience sudden capital costs, such as the need for expensive hardware.

“We will have the kind of model where we’re able to scale up and down—and we can reliably predict our costs. That’s where we want to be,” says Halford.


Microsoft Case Study: Goodbody

Partner(s): Ergo

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