Capitalis, a market research company which collects, analyses and interprets commercial data, realised it needed to consider other communications methods after having to ask clients for their conference dial-in details to conduct calls.
“...it just didn’t look very professional,” says Gareth Tranter, commercial director at Capitalis, says of reasoning for the company to begin looking for a unified communications provider.
It was using the latest version of Office and had tried using teleconferencing providers. For example, one provider was located in the US to accommodate its US clients. However, this meant Capitalis had to dial in to the US and resulted in expensive international calls. Another teleconferencing provider in Australia charged by the minute, which grew to be expensive as Capitalis expanded.
An unreliable internet connection also meant it sometimes dropped out at night and had to be reset in the office, which caused problems if employees were travelling and meant they could not access their e-mail. This also posed problems for the Perth-based company as most of its clients are primarily located in Singapore, Sydney or the US.
National, international and teleconferencing calls were also adding a substantial amount to the company’s bottom line.
Due to being a small company with no permanent IT person on-hand, the company was also affected by down-time when things went wrong. For example, work would cease if there were network problems while someone physically went into the office to fix it. This meant there were difficulties not only communicating internally, but also communicating with clients.
Tranter says while it looked at Cloud-based solutions, Cloud did not provide the functionality it required. Due to having some IT clients, Capitalis had heard about Office 365 and it seemed a good fit as employees were familiar with using Office programs such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
Capitalis has been using the Cloud-based version of Office 365 for around nine months now. Tranter says it has allowed greater mobility through its instant messaging and VOIP features, as he is often located outside the office for work.
“When everything was on-premise, every time something went wrong we had to call someone out ... Now it does seem less things go wrong, but if it does go wrong, it can be fixed pretty quickly or remotely,” Tranter says.
Tranter says Microsoft's unified communications platform, Lync, also provides a rich level of communication and Office 365 makes it easier for employees working from home as it is easier for them to set up meetings and collaborate internally.
Despite some concerns by larger organisations around the reliability of software as a service, Tranter says it has provided a more reliable platform than if it were operating from a server on-premises.
“The reliability is actually better for us because they’ve got a team of people [at Microsoft] looking after it and it’s got redundancies in place. The only potential problem would be if we lost a potential internet connection here for whatever reason, which hasn’t happened, but we can always go down the road to use another internet connection to access everything,” Tranter says.
“So from my perspective it’s actually more reliable than an on-premise model for small businesses.”
There were, however, some unexpected time delays. Tranter says it took a couple of days to port everything over to the new system, which also impacted by physically moving offices at the same time.
He says he would like to see an option included where he can call fixed landlines from within Lync, which he says Microsoft will be including in the near future.
“We use Lync a lot for calls, but we still have fixed line phones and use them ... When the Lync Cloud version comes out with the Enterprise voice we’ll probably be able to switch everything across to Lync and use that exclusively,” he says.
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