As a touring jazz musician and entrepreneur, Marcus Johnson launched FLO Brands to blend music and wine into a full lifestyle experience. With a demanding travel schedule and a 2-year-old daughter, Johnson leads a hectic life that calls for fast access to his information at all times.
A few years ago, Johnson was paying an IT consultant up to $2,000 a month to manage his Microsoft Exchange email servers. With roughly a dozen employees spread across New York, New Jersey and Maryland, Johnson grew frustrated with the expense and how often the email system would crash or overload when handling large music and video files. Seeking a solution, he subscribed to Microsoft Office 365 and hasn’t looked back.
“What used to cost me $15,000 to $20,000 a year now runs $999 for an annual license,” Johnson says, adding that the license includes Office Suite, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync. “Everything is in the cloud. If my computer is lost or stolen, I can retrieve my files from anywhere.”
When Johnson encounters problems finding files or has email issues, he uses the remote control feature within Lync to contact Microsoft support staff, who quickly help him. “Office 365 really does allow the small-business person be more efficient and effective,” he adds.
Johnson is just beginning to use the mobile version of Lync and anticipates that the software will help his staff become even more productive. “It’s just really convenient for someone like me who travels all the time,” Johnson says.
Mark Bowker, a senior analyst for the Enterprise Strategy Group, says the operational efficiencies that cloud services offer small businesses can improve the company’s balance sheet.
“Office 365 allows companies to simplify application maintenance and support and remove the burden from any onsite IT staff member or potentially costly IT outsourcing services,” Bowker says.
Fabrics manufacturer Glen Raven has been using Cisco Systems’ WebEx for the past three years to run video conferencing sessions, town hall meetings, conference calls and document-sharing across its 18 locations. The company’s headquarters are in North Carolina, and most of its facilities are based in the United States.
David Harrison, director of IT infrastructure for Glen Raven, says WebEx reduces the company’s travel costs and IT administrative burden. The company selected WebEx because it’s familiar to the most employees.
“We used to have a video conferencing system that required a setup in every location, plus an IT person every time somebody wanted to run a conference,” Harrison says. “Now, our people can run conferences at their desks or from wherever they want without needing to call an IT person.”
To learn more about cloud solutions for your business, visit cdw.com/cloud.