Cloud Technology Helps Not-for-Profit Reclaim Budget, Time

People are beginning to understand that Office 365 provides critical business capabilities—and a leap forward on security. We can do good work with the cloud.

Craig Le Quesne, General Manager ICT, Royal New Zealand Plunket Society

Solution Overview:

Organization Size

1500 employees

Organization Profile

Since 1907, The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society has supported the health and wellbeing of babies and young children.

Business Situation

Plunket needed to make it easier for its dispersed staff and community of volunteers to work together—and drive positive change


Beyond recapturing thousands of staff hours and dollars once allocated to travel, Plunket is discovering new ways of working with Microsoft Office 365.


Recapturing staff hours Collaborating between offices more effectively Fostering better relationships through video meetings Solution easily extendible to large volunteer base

Software and Services
  • Microsoft Lync Online
  • Microsoft Office 365
Vertical Industries



New Zealand



Company Overview:

Of the 56,000 babies born each year in New Zealand, 90% are touched by The Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

PLUNKET Case StudyThe organisation, one of the 25,000 not-for-profits recognized by the New Zealand Charities Commission, offers wellness support, childcare information, and even car seat rentals to families with children under five.As the country’s largest provider of developmental, health, and wellbeing services for children under five, Plunket needs fast and easy ways to stay connected. Microsoft Office 365 has brought Plunket’s geographically distributed staff and thousands of volunteers together in unexpected new ways.


Operating under the vision, “Together, the best start for every child,” the 104-year-old organisation works to build community and foster dialogue—with parents and small businesses, as well as among its 1,500 frontline staff, and thousands of volunteers. Plunket knew the right technology could improve connectivity and collaboration, but being a not-for-profit working with sensitive medical information raised significant challenges.

People don’t volunteer to sit in meetings, they volunteer to make a difference. Lync Online makes it easy to stay connected and focused on action.

– Craig Le Quesne
General Manager ICT
Royal New Zealand Plunket Society.

“We need to keep costs at a minimum and privacy at a maximum” explains Craig Le Quesne, Plunket’s General Manager, ICT. “Above all, we can’t make any compromises when we manage sensitive records,” he adds. “At the same time, we need to make sure our staff and volunteers have technology that supports their ability to help New Zealand’s children and families.”

Plunket had access to a video conference tool, but it was difficult to use, and ended up being underutilised. And managers travelling to centralised meetings from one of Plunket’s offices collectively spent many hours and thousands of dollars in air travel annually.

“Our conferencing system was too difficult to use—no one but IT would touch it. Because of this, we had to allocate time and funds to on-site meetings,” says Le Quesne. “We wanted to improve the way we connect, to make it easier for us to create and act on meaningful conversations.”


Plunket looked into cloud computing and tested whether Microsoft Office 365, a set of cloud-based applications, could meet its requirements. As Plunket was a beneficiary of a software and services grant from Microsoft Corporation in 2010—which included Office 365 as one of the deployment options—Plunket was able to deploy nearly 700 seats very cost-effectively.

“Microsoft continues to show enormous support for what we do,” says Le Quesne. “Our local contacts understand what we’re trying to accomplish, and they help us get the right technology in place to achieve that.”

While Office 365 includes online enterprise-class email and collaboration capabilities, what caught Le Quesne’s eye as an immediate benefit for Plunket was Microsoft Lync Online, the suite’s web-based conferencing tool. “One look at Lync Online and I knew immediately the significant impact it would have on our organisation,” Le Quesne remarks. “As soon as we set it up, users started playing with and exploring all that Lync Online can do. We’re communicating better via video, and are set to recapture thousands of dollars previously allocated to travel.”

Plunket volunteers, such as Plunket board members, are also benefiting significantly from Lync Online. Because Lync Online can be accessed from virtually anywhere, the few Plunket meeting facilities—which had outdated technology—have been replaced by the familiarity of volunteers’ own devices.

“When you can meet virtually rather than securing and travelling to meeting sites, you can accomplish so much more,” Le Quesne states. And according to Tristine Clark, president of Plunket, “Lync Online is bringing our staff and volunteers together like never before.”


According to Le Quesne, Office 365 is perfectly aligned with Plunket’s aspirations. “Conversations spark action,” he says, “So while Lync Online will help us keep our overhead low—which is important—we’re also empowering our staff and community to drive positive change.”

Time to make a difference

Plunket predicts Lync Online will help it will recapture a significant number of staff hours—and thousands of dollars—annually. Le Quesne cited one case where a senior manager could swap flying in to live meetings for video conferencing via Lync Online from her local office, which will enable her to spend more time in the community.

As Le Quesne asserts, more time and money means more growth for Plunket’s support and volunteer programs: “People don’t volunteer to sit in meetings, they volunteer to make a difference. Lync Online makes it easy to stay connected and focused on action.”

Leading by example

Eager to tap into more Office 365 capabilities, Plunket is currently leveraging Microsoft SharePoint Server together with Lync Online to provide frontline staff with a new application, PlunketPlus. Through this application, it hopes to establish a new way of working that will ultimately benefit the health of New Zealand’s children.

“PlunketPlus enables our nurses to capture and record personal data,” says Le Quesne. “Through this centralised system, nurses can record and access client information in less time, which aligns with our plan to eliminate multiple, paper-based records and better connect our services throughout Plunket. Ultimately, it will better assist us to give families the full support they need when they need it.”

Le Quesne is optimistic about the possibilities of the cloud. “At Plunket we are working together to make sure we’ve got it right in our working environment,” he remarks. “Office 365 provides great capabilities, and when you really look into it, much greater peace of mind—in regards to privacy and security—than almost any organisation, including Plunket, could offer with its own IT.”

Of Plunket’s future with Office 365, Le Quesne concludes, “People are beginning to understand that Office 365 provides critical business capabilities—and a leap forward on security. We can do good work with the cloud, and make sure our staff and volunteers have technology that supports their ability to help New Zealand’s children and families.”

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: Plunket

We look forward to working with you for Cloud, Security, and other IT product-related opportunities. You can connect with us at +91-8826294740