Lincolnshire Co-op has been serving the people of Lincolnshire and surrounding areas for more than 150 years. Its family of businesses include food stores, pharmacies, travel branches, filling stations, funeral homes, a florist and post offices.
Lincolnshire Co-op provides a wide variety of products and services, but something sets it apart from other retailers. All profits are recycled back into the community to support local charities, schools and sport clubs. It is an integral part of the social fabric. When it succeeds, the community succeeds.
Lincolnshire Co-op is succeeding. In addition to increasing sales and building new stores, it is winning awards. Investors in People, a nonprofit accreditation organization, has awarded the Society, Investors in People Platinum Status, meaning it is one of the country’s top employers.
Employees are fundamental to Lincolnshire Co-op success. Ryan Niblett, Infrastructure Manager at the Society, makes sure the data they need for their jobs is always available. Most of that data is in Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Teams.
“Our challenge was protecting data as we migrated to Microsoft Office 365,” Niblett said. “Microsoft makes it clear they don’t offer backup, so we considered three solutions from other vendors.”
Lincolnshire Co-op’s data protection requirements are precise. Backing up on-premises isn’t an option because of connectivity speeds and concerns, and backing up off-premises to another data center isn’t viable because of the expense. To eliminate the risk of data loss, Lincolnshire Co-op wanted to back up several times a day to guarantee multiple restore points. Two of the solutions investigated only offered once-a-day backup.
“We also wanted fast, reliable recovery,” Niblett said. “One of our biggest concerns was being able to recover data quickly and easily in case colleagues accidentally delete it. So much of the data in Office 365 is vital to the business, so if we cannot recover it, business operations would be impacted. For example, employees rely on Teams to collaborate on seasonal inventory, using Microsoft 365 to communicate with suppliers. If someone accidently deletes this information, we need to have the ability to restore that data quickly so that we can remain on top of issues and not run out of seasonal goods at that critical time of year.”
Lincolnshire Co-op won’t run out of seasonal goods with Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365 and Azure Blob Storage. Veeam provides total access and control of Office 365 data, enabling it to be backed up several times a day and recovered quickly and easily. Veeam also leverages the cost efficiency, simplicity and scalability of Azure Blob Storage and supports the design, development and construction of new stores.
“Veeam is the only solution we considered that provides the flexibility, speed, ease of use and affordability to meet our precise data protection requirements,” Niblett said. “Veeam backs up to Azure Blob, giving us data accessibility, retention and visibility while also saving money.”
Niblett said one of the things he appreciates most about Veeam is visibility into the storage size of data contained in Office 365.
“Microsoft doesn’t provide great visibility into size, but that information is important when you’re paying per gigabyte and per access. When you use Veeam to back up to Azure Blob, size becomes evident, plus Veeam compresses data, enabling us to maximize storage efficiency.”
Niblett said Veeam also ensures data availability.
“Our colleagues work a wide spread of hours across the week, so having access to data at all times means that they can work efficiently,” Niblett said. “They use a range of devices to access data, and with Veeam we’re able to ensure that this data remains accessible at all times.”
Veeam supports the design, development and construction of new stores too.
“A lot of the planning we do for our new stores and refits takes place in Office 365, so it’s important everyone has access to the wide range of information required for scheduling and for installations of everything from telecommunications and electricity to shelving and refrigeration,” Niblett said. “Veeam keeps that information available.”
Moreover, Veeam keeps COVID-19 information available so employees know what is being done in each retail environment to protect their safety and the public’s safety.
“Office 365 is critical to everything we do,” Niblett said. “Veeam protects it so it’s always accessible.”
Lincolnshire Co-op is one of the most successful independent consumer co-operatives in the United Kingdom. Trading from more than 200 stores throughout the East Midlands it provides food, pharmacy, funeral, travel and post office services. Founded in 1861, Lincolnshire Co-op has 290,000 members and 3,200 colleagues (employees).
A large portion of Lincolnshire Co-op business-critical data is in Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams. The challenge was protecting data as the Co-op migrated to Microsoft Office 365. Losing data could impact some store operations.