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Igors Indriksons | IT manager

ELVI is a franchising chain of convenience stores that has been uniting small and medium-sized Latvian retail companies under a single brand, for more than 20 years. By presenting a modern service atmosphere with a Latvian-style approach, as well as selling healthy local food, the company's mission is to create a friendly community for the producers, retailers and residents of Latvia.

For several years, ELVI has been using Google Workspace as its digital business solution. For example, Google Worksheets were used for sharing data on product inventory and sales results. Google solution was also used by the company’s IT team to create a simple intranet and exchange information about products and various marketing materials. At the end of 2021, Google announced a significant price increase, almost doubling the cost of using this platform. This forced ELVI to look for solutions that would optimize IT processes. Given the limited experience in working with MS Office, the IT team did not feel confident enough to implement the necessary changes on their own. Since IT-related matters closely affect the daily operations of the stores and such critical business processes as inventory management and product orders, ELVI decided to hire professional help. In December 2021, ELVI started cooperation with Primend, and within a couple of months, the main IT infrastructure issues were promptly and efficiently reorganized.
Primend experts swiftly integrated MS Office 365 with ELVI's local infrastructure, providing a solution that is cohesive with existing systems. Primend also assisted with a quick and smooth transfer of employee’s e-mails and other data. 
One of the biggest challenges during the IT infrastructure reorganization was migrating all of the company's data from the existing intranet to Microsoft environment. Instead of blindly moving all data, which could include unnecessary and potentially outdated files, Primend experts recommended reviewing and restructuring file and data libraries. The evaluation process allowed to retain only the current and essential information needed for the workflow. As a result, using the previous intranet based on the Google solution, along with the support of Primend, ELVI transitioned to a new intranet platform that is more efficient and easier to manage. 
ELVI created a working group, consisting of personnel from its IT, marketing, and PR departments. This team successfully carried out the reorganization process, getting explicit and precise instructions from Primend IT experts, both on the setup of the SharePoint platform and on the further management of daily administrative tasks. ELVI, as a large company with more than 500 employees and its own in-house IT team, welcomed the opportunity to use its internal human resources and talents, while also receiving support and advice from Primend. Such a collaborative approach allowed ELVI to deepen its understanding of these processes, enabling the company to manage and develop its daily operations successfully and independently.
Primend also provides ELVI with valuable guidance in solving Microsoft license issues, advising on optimal and smart purchase and use. Although licensing cloud solutions is a relatively simple task, legacy Microsoft licenses can be more complex to manage, since they require careful evaluation of various factors to avoid unnecessary services and costs.
All the basic elements of the IT infrastructure have been reorganized and are currently provided in high quality. The next step is the development and implementation of robust security solutions. ELVI has already implemented two-factor authentication, as well as a group-based approach to manage employee access to data more successfully and conveniently.
In the near future, it is also planned to introduce device management using MS Intune. This tool applies high-quality security measures to smartphones and other mobile devices that are used for remote work.
One of the business needs of ELVI’s grocery stores is the ability to make prompt changes late at night which obviously falls outside the standard working hours. Serving the dynamic nature of daily operations, the self-service portal provided by Primend has turned out to be a very successful tool. It allows IT administrators to perform the necessary actions easily and quickly (e.g., adjusting the number of Microsoft licenses and creating new user accounts). That eliminates the need for extra resources and paid IT support services. 
In order for ELVI IT administrators to develop and stabilize the skills necessary for the effective use of cloud solutions, Microsoft provided paid training. Given that Microsoft products were a relatively new and uncharted territory for the IT administrators, Primend as an experienced training provider took on the educator role for the rest of the employees. In addition, these training videos were uploaded to the SharePoint platform. That allows quick and easy access to learning about Microsoft environment for new employees. Furthermore, as a result of the IT reorganization and training, IT administrators have acquired a comprehensive understanding and knowledge – thus being able to cope with their duties confidently and independently.
Small businesses often depend on comprehensive IT outsourcing solutions, while larger companies typically maintain their own in-house IT teams. However, even experienced experts may encounter issues where they lack the needed knowledge and skills. Therefore, seeking support from external specialists is not only a valid but also a highly beneficial strategy. The success story of the partnership between ELVI and Primend serves as a compelling example of the valuable collaboration and growth opportunities, provided by the teamwork between a large company's IT department and an IT outsourcing provider.