Cate Hulme, Operations and Finance Director at Tactical Solutions, says: “Our customer expectations are constantly changing – gone are the days when clients would give us a couple of weeks’ notice to plan upcoming projects with them. In a business environment that demands a fast response, we need the ability to notify team members about new projects or changes as soon as possible.”
As a field-marketing agency in the fast-paced world of retail, Tactical Solutions needed to update its existing email system. It wanted a more flexible solution that would grow with its needs, while allowing staff anytime, anywhere access to communications tools.
The demands on our team mean that they may be at the head office one day a week, on the road three days a week, and working from home the other day. Wherever they are, effective communication, both internal and external is essential. The company’s email system, based on Lotus Notes, served its needs for more than six years, but Tactical Solutions needed a more sustainable solution that was flexible enough to adapt to change quickly. “We wanted a better way of sharing information with employees, and getting it back quickly. The business is growing exponentially, so we wanted a solution that would not only provide email, but also be flexible and scalable,” says Hulme.
Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Polymorph has provided strategic and day-to- day IT support to Tactical Solutions since 2002. It runs the company’s IT helpdesk and provides software development, migration, and strategic consultation on the IT infrastructure. Stephen Harris, Managing Director at Polymorph, says: “We focus on finding solutions to IT challenges." Tactical Solutions outsources its IT administration and maintenance to us, so we provide a complete solution, including day-to-day maintenance, guidance, and the resources needed to help develop the IT infrastructure.”
Email is an important part of business operations at Tactical Solutions, so it was vital that a new system be deployed with minimal disruption. The company also needed a straightforward pricing structure to simplify budgeting.
Naturally Tactical Solutions turned to Polymorph for help and advice to provide a solution. “We have a close relationship with Polymorph, they understand our business requirements and are key to driving change throughout the company and making our processes more efficient. Polymorph adds value to our business,” says Hulme.
Polymorph successfully implemented a cloud solution using Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) in 2010. Following this in 2011 Tactical Solutions upgraded to the improved and updated Online Services – Microsoft Office 365. Providing Microsoft Exchange Online Services for messaging, Microsoft Lync Online Services for instant messaging and web conferencing and Microsoft SharePoint Online for collaboration.
Tactical Solutions initial approach of moving to Business Productivity Online Suite was a natural fit as most users already had Outlook, and the executives who used Lotus Notes wanted the current version of Outlook.” Polymorph reviewed the technology with Tactical Solutions and ran a successful trial and deployment of BPOS, which then led to the deployment of Microsoft Office 365 for over 250 users.
By deploying a Notes to Office 365 migration, Polymorph provided Tactical Solutions with a sustainable communication and collaboration infrastructure that reduced the need for capital investment. A flexible pricing model allows the company to scale up or down as needed, depending on the number of users, while staff are able to access communications tools from anywhere with an internet connection. Microsoft Office 365 offers a full suite of tools and services the company can build on as needed. “Implementing a cloud solution takes away the hassle of maintaining the underlying infrastructure. Microsoft has the resources to deliver it effectively and consistently, so we can focus on helping our customers maximise the positive benefits IT brings to their businesses,” says Hulme.
Polymorph’s strong consultancy skills and expert knowledge of IBM Lotus Notes / Domino migrations to Microsoft Office 365 has helped Tactical Solutions get the most from their investment. “Polymorph has helped us by providing the necessary analysis and implementing a scalable solution that was available with minimal outlay. We realise that it’s important to invest in the business, but it’s equally important to invest wisely” says Hulme.
Microsoft Office 365’s flexible pay-per-use pricing model is scalable and doesn’t rely on an expensive on-site infrastructure. Hulme says: “We’re a fast-growing company with lots of new people coming into the business. Microsoft Exchange Online allows us to add users as needed. Now, we can give more people access to email.”
Improving collaboration for Tactical Solutions was key. “The solution has given us more flexibility and it has improved our communications and processes. It’s easier to share data and work together as a team,” says Hulme. “We’re able to work remotely more effectively. Staff can receive messages and vital information at any time, from anywhere with an internet connection.
Tactical Solutions provides on-site marketing support to retailers and manufacturers wanting to maximise sales at retail outlets. It’s an industry where things change constantly, so employees need to be able to think on their feet to meet the needs of customers. Excellent communication between the company’s head office in Cheshire, in the United Kingdom (U.K.), and its field staff is an important part of the company’s success, but also one of its greatest challenges.