Royal Mail more efficient using Microsoft Cloud Computing

In 2008 Royal Mail, the British national postal service, moved over to cloud computing. The mail service had recently been under threat from more efficient competition and privatization. In order to streamline services and, more importantly, bring down rising costs, the company switched from the onsite Lotus suite to the more modern Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite. It is estimated that over the last 4 years there has been a 10-15% reduction in the cost of maintenance alone.

Gone are the on location racks and in are the cloud based servers and bandwidth provided by CSC, the Computer Sciences Corporation. Cloud based services reduce costs as clients are only billed for the features they use; over the Christmas period Royal Mail saw their costs rise by approximately 20% and then fall by the same figure in January.

Although most data is stored on the cloud, sensitive application information is still kept in house. This is something the company hopes to overcome in the not to distant future by using Microsoft’s Hyper-V solution. This gives the advantages of being able to move applications on or off the cloud while keeping the data secure.

“Importantly, we can seamlessly move applications in and out of the cloud as and when we choose”, “It has given us a foundation to adapt and change so, whatever the future holds, we are ready. Decisions are infinitely quicker now.” said a company representative.

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28 Comments

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DiamondFootprint said,
This is all well and good but it doesn't speed up the queue when old people stand talking to tellers for five minutes!!!!

"Back in my days we used to pay 3 shillings for a stamp! oh they were wonderful times, rationing blocks of lard during the war time...."

Well it looks like moving to the cloud has been a beneficial move for the Royal Mail. The real winner looks like Microsoft though.

Ricky65 said,
Well it looks like moving to the cloud has been a beneficial move for the Royal Mail. The real winner looks like Microsoft though.

No, the real winner is Charlie Sheen

antsy said,
How does software reduce maintenance costs?

Presumably they now need to maintain less hardware to run it.
Also if the new software is on better licensing terms (i.e don't have to pony up for a support subscription.etc) it could reduce ongoing costs.

Government procurement practises virtually guarantee selection of the worst possible solution. Once it's privatised, the royal mail will inevitably abandon Microsoft technologies.

Flawed said,
Government procurement practises virtually guarantee selection of the worst possible solution. Once it's privatised, the royal mail will inevitably abandon Microsoft technologies.

No they don't, and it probably won't. Many large companies are moving away from IBM Lotus because it's such hard work. Even if they move to an on site infrastructure - they have the ability to do. Another example is Canon, they are moving away from Lotus to Exchange/Lync/Office because it offers a more sensible, cheaper, and easier solution.

Matt Hardwick said,

No they don't, and it probably won't. Many large companies are moving away from IBM Lotus because it's such hard work. Even if they move to an on site infrastructure - they have the ability to do. Another example is Canon, they are moving away from Lotus to Exchange/Lync/Office because it offers a more sensible, cheaper, and easier solution.

Agreed; I haven't been on the 'development and deployment end' but I do know people in organisations where they were once 'IBM all the way' shops but have now started moving away from Lotus. Years ago Lotus pretty much had a strangle hold on the market but as people woke up and gave Microsoft a fair chance people realised just how horrible Lotus was. The client is even worse - simply integrating an office suite into an already slow and bloated piece of software isn't going to fix the problem but in usual IBM fashion they hope if they throw enough engineers and programmers at the problem that'll solve itself magically.

It reminds me years ago a release of Lotus Domino that had a massive memory leak which required on average a server reboot once a week - oh, and the big surprise, customers would have to wait a month before they can get a patch to fix it. When I heard that I really couldn't believe there was anyone left actually using it.

Matt Hardwick said,
It would be nice to see some references/sources cited for this article.

There are sources stated in the article.

I hate this "fad" about the word "cloud" instead of saying internet. Sure, granted, it's shorter but it just sounds so dumb to me.

Tekkerson said,
I hate this "fad" about the word "cloud" instead of saying internet. Sure, granted, it's shorter but it just sounds so dumb to me.

Cloud is more than Internet. So much more.

Matt Hardwick said,
Cloud is more than Internet. So much more.

Yes, it's a way for 'cloud' providers to monetize their datacenter infrastructure like IBM have been doing with their mainframe for decades.

Tekkerson said,
I hate this "fad" about the word "cloud" instead of saying internet. Sure, granted, it's shorter but it just sounds so dumb to me.
The stuff would have already communicated via the internet, so saying that it was moved to the internet would be ambiguous.

Tekkerson said,
I hate this "fad" about the word "cloud" instead of saying internet. Sure, granted, it's shorter but it just sounds so dumb to me.

I'm just hoping that it'll appear on something like Numb3rs or CSI so they can use the cloud to "knock-up a GUI in Visual Basic to track his IP address" or whatever it was!

PotatoJ said,
And people say that large companies will never go to cloud computing ... pffft.

I seem to remember a large payout by Microsoft to get Royal Snail to move to the cloud, but if true well done if this genuinely saved them cash. However not sure that new IT management may just have slimmed down the exiting staff who were just not needed.