Microsoft technology powers security and efficiency gains for innovative marketing business
By Wesley Dowding, Director of Operations and Technology, RomaxSmall/medium-sized business, Romax, is one of the UKs leading marketing communications businesses. Embracing a range of media channels including direct mail and online communications, Romax handles every aspect of its client’s direct marketing requirements from data and design to print and delivery. With many long standing, strategic clients, Romax are as equally driven by customer service as they are by maintaining high levels of service innovation. Wesley Dowding, Director of Operations and Technology, turned to Microsoft to deliver a technology modernisation programme that would optimise operations at every level.
In such a dynamic industry Romax has to balance speed of delivery with accuracy and detail. Delivering highly creative campaigns to tight deadlines is an everyday occurrence. Romax is also responsible for retaining client data for which it needs to adhere to tight information security policies in order to maintain ISO 270001 compliance. It’s a business that never sleeps.
The internal technology systems had been steadily slowing down over a number of years. Running Window Server 2003, Exchange 2010, varied versions of Windows desktops including Windows XP and old versions of Office, there was little software uniformity which was also contributing to unnecessary inefficiencies. With Windows Server 2003 approaching end of support on 14th July 2015, Wesley was aware of the resulting security implications facing the business.
Wesley comments “We had a number of critical challenges. The sluggish servers were making us completely inefficient – installing patches was taking longer and longer. Older versions of Office made it cumbersome to work together and internal communications were slow, especially when we were on the road. We just weren’t working as smartly or efficiently as we could and it needed addressing. Upcoming ‘end of support’ on Windows Server 2003 gave us a huge opportunity to reconsider how we were going to protect client data moving forwards.”
Wesley’s Chosen Solution
Wesley evaluated a number of on-premise and cloud platforms including Microsoft and Google. Microsoft partner RedPixie recognised the unique requirements and recommended a hybrid (on premise and in the Cloud) environment based on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure for data backup and security, Office 365 for a full suite of productivity and communications applications, and Microsoft Intune for cloud-based systems management.
“RedPixie impressed us with their understanding, their enthusiasm and their specialist knowledge. They also confirmed our view that Office 365 and a hybrid Microsoft solution was an unquestionable choice for us. We had looked at Google but didn’t find the platform mature enough and because of the extensive data work we do, Google couldn’t compete with Excel and the Microsoft Office suite.” Wesley recalls.
Today, Romax use SharePoint as a central document repository and company intranet where features like News feed keep everyone updated on company news and help them communicate informally. Client data is secure and accessible within Windows Server 2012, backed up in the cloud with Microsoft Azure. Office 2013 provides the team with all the familiar tools for data work, database management and creation of customer documents and presentations. OneNote, a new tool for the team, has revolutionised the capture and sharing of meeting notes. With Lync everyone has a fast way to keep in contact and share information whether they are in the office or on the road, relieving email volume. Surface Pro 3 tablets complement the new technologies by enabling access to all information through a lightweight, portable yet powerful device.
Main Benefits for Romax
Seamless customer connection
- Audio and video conferencing facilities through Lync have reduced travelling time and cost and enabled client-facing team members to become more responsive to clients
- Romax are able to impress potential clients with their capability and data security provided by the modern technology platform
- Confident that everyone is using the right content and document templates, Romax can ensure that every customer communication is consistent and reinforcing their brand within the market
Greater productivity everywhere
- Windows Server 2012 is helping Romax speed up streaming of large client data print ‘packets’ – production jobs that previously took 2 hours to ‘rip’ to the print presses, now take just 45 seconds
- With Office 365 available across all operating platforms, Romax are able to fully empower their team with a BYOD policy than lets them use smartphones and tablets of their choice
- SharePoint provides full, secure access to documents within and outside of the office from laptops and mobile devices
- New apps and devices including the Surface Pro 3 and OneNote, provide Romax with powerful functionality to work together in new ways to complete everyday tasks faster
- Lync helps everyone to stay connected even when “on the road” so Romax are able to consistently beat their own SLA’s for turnaround of client quotes
Secure, protected business
- Swift patching and systems management, coupled with Cloud back-up, ensures Romax maintains the highest security levels at all time and adherence to the business critical ISO27001 standard
- When a nearby factory fire recently happened, business continuity for Romax was completely assured – with all data and documents backed up and secure in the cloud with Azure Romax were able to carry on working as normal from another location and maintain customer communication
- Having previously been hindered by hundreds of SPAM emails every day, Microsoft Intune has dramatically reduced that volume enabling Romax to locate critical new business leads and client emails.
Efficient business growth
- Romax will always have the latest version of software with a rich set of features that will help them to innovate new services and efficiently grow the business
- The unified platform is enabling Romax to launch a regional office, helping them to extend their brand and customer base with the comfort of knowing both sites can work together effortlessly
- A significant reduction in systems management time has completely freed-up one staff member to work on revenue generating business activities rather than IT management tasks
- The scalability of Azure and Office 365 means the business can grow efficiently as demand grows.
Wesley’s Favourite Features
“I love Newsfeed’ in SharePoint – it’s a great way to quickly see what’s going on and interact with people in a very social, informal way even when out of the office. SharePoint document collaboration and version control has also had a big effect. I can work on documents wherever I am and I like to know I can revert to a previous version if necessary!”
- Customer Name:
Windows Server 2012 R2, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Microsoft Intune
- Customer Website:
Small/medium-sized business, Romax, is one of the UKs leading marketing communications businesses. Embracing a range of media channels including direct mail and online communications, Romax handles every aspect of its client’s direct marketing requirements from data and design to print and delivery. With many long standing, strategic clients, Romax are as equally driven by customer service as they are by maintaining high levels of service innovation. Wesley Dowding, Director of Operations and Technology, turned to Microsoft to deliver a technology modernisation programme that would optimise operations at every level.
“There are so many things we can do now that simply weren’t possible before. For a relatively small business, our technology advantage is huge, giving us the security and efficiency we need to work from anywhere. I can go to sleep at night knowing that if the place went down we’d still be able to serve our clients and our data is secure. You can’t put a price on that. The Microsoft hybrid platform brings so many benefits, any business would be mad not to do this!”
– Wesley Dowding, Director of Operations and Technology, Romax