Customers are the centre of daily business life at ICS Cool Energy, and for over 25 years this focus has consistently set them aside from their competitors. As the business focused on European expansion, Colin Banks, Group IT Manager needed to modernise their IT to take their growth to the next level. Colin chose Office 365, Windows Server 2012, Dynamics CRM Online and Surface Pro 3 tablets, powered by Windows 8.1, from Microsoft. The team of 250 people now work hand-in-hand across boundaries to deliver fast results. And the business has a template IT environment that can be quickly and cost effectively replicated in new countries as the business grows further.
ICS Cool Energy provide cooling and heating solutions to businesses in a wide range of industries including Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical, Data Centres, and more. The business has grown substantially over the years but one thing has remained constant – their commitment to consistent, high quality customer service. Being flexible in how they engage as well as providing solutions ‘at the speed of want’ has earned them trust and loyalty from their customers.
Challenge – Unconnected systems, hindered productivity
Like many growing businesses, ICS Cool Energy found that as new offices were set-up, keeping the company connected across all European locations became harder and harder.
Each division was running its own email and document management systems and the unconnected servers had outdated software. Colin would purchase Microsoft Office whenever a new team member joined, resulting in multiple versions in use at any one time; while mobile sales teams were resorting to a mix of old laptops and iPads to be able to work effectively on the move. The result? Every part of the business was effectively independent. Information sharing and team working was virtually impossible, and lack of server integration presented business continuity risk.
The Solution – Cloud-enabled IT, faster results anywhere
With the support of Microsoft Cloud Specialist, Paradigm Systems, Colin moved the business onto a modern IT platform made up of Office 365, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Dynamics CRM Online and Surface Pro 3 tablets running Windows 8.1.
Now all 8 sites work with a common set of applications for content creation, email, customer information management and document storage. Lync (now Skype for Business) instant messaging and video conferencing gives them incredible value by bringing the team closer together to meet online regularly, share information with ease, and minimise travelling. Unlimited data storage in OneDrive for Business ensures all content is secure, accessible and easy to manage in the cloud. Surface Pro 3 tablets have transformed the work day for mobile sales teams, giving them one powerful, portable device which integrates seamlessly with Office 365 and customer information held in Dynamics CRM Online.
Importantly for the business, the new solution that Colin has put in place helps ICS Cool Energy feel and operate as one connected business with tools that enable multiple ways to work efficiently together to deliver fast, high quality customer service.
“The teams are now much better connected and we’re running faster as a business. We’ve been very pleasantly surprised by how easily all the products integrate with one another and how quickly the system went live. Paradigm Systems managed the set-up and migration across our European sites; their experience and professionalism guaranteed we achieved the results we needed,” Colin enthuses.
Benefits & Value
Connected teams - one company, one brand
- Lync (now Skype for Business) brings teams closer together with easy-to-use video conferencing, instant messaging and a simple presence feature that simply lets everyone know who is available
- With Office 365 email, everyone works with a standard company email address, helping the team feel united and presenting one brand to the external market
- Customer-facing teams use Lync (now Skype for Business), OneDrive for Business and Dynamics CRM to work tightly together – telemarketing and sales now meet online weekly to share lead and account updates
- Company Directors no longer need to travel to be with their teams; Lync (now Skype for Business) enables them to have regular video conferences sharing vital company updates and devoting additional time to people development
- With standard versions of Microsoft Office, teams across the business have been able to create a set of shared materials, securely stored and co-authored in SharePoint
“As a business we’ve taken a big leap forward in how we communicate and work with one another and that’s down to Office 365. We have a much more personal approach to working with one another and Microsoft has made that possible.”
Improved customer service, greater agility
- With Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365, ICS Cool Energy are able to respond to customers quicker and process new requests whilst onsite with customers
- Integration between SharePoint and Dynamics CRM will allow ICS Cool Energy to surface vital information in real-time for valuable use across the business
- Surface Pro 3 tablets, powered by Windows 8.1, equip mobile sales teams to work with complete productivity from any location on, armed with vital customer information from Dynamics CRM at their fingertips
“With all information in the cloud, customer facing teams can work in the field without interruption. They can access the information they need quickly from their Surface tablets and tasks like quote approvals can be done in minutes. We’re seeing considerable impact on productivity and customer satisfaction.”
A template for global expansion
- ICS Cool Energy have a template IT environment that can be quickly and cost-effectively rolled out when new country sites are set-up without the need to be physically in-country – this will help new teams feel part of the business and become immediately operational
- With automatic upgrades to the Office 365 applications, ICS Cool Energy can be confident that all staff, new and old, will be working with the latest set of applications at no additional cost to the business
Heightened security, greater resource efficiency
- With in-built security measures within Office 365, like email filtering, ICS Cool Energy have significantly reduced the resources required to manage patching and systems management
- Combining Windows Server 2012 in-house and Office 365 in the Cloud, ICS Cool Energy benefit from a hybrid environment which allows them to securely store different forms of information in the location of their choice
- Data back-up in the cloud in Exchange Online, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint gives ICS
Cool Energy an immediate business continuity solution in the event of a regional incident
“Much of the burden we had around information security, has been taken away. That time saving can now be applied to value-add activity. Our next step will be to move everything up into Azure and extend the disaster recovery advantages of the cloud.”
Colin’s Favourite Features
“I just love that Office 365 and Windows 8 help me get started so quickly each morning. Everything I need is right there when I log on. Lync (now Skype for Business) and Outlook load automatically. I can immediately see who’s online through the presence buttons and in one click, I can view my meetings for the day. Outlook even tells me if someone is out of the office before I send an email! It’s those little things that make a difference.”
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