4-page Case Study
Posted: 10/24/2011
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Crystal Edge Marketing Services Firm Cuts Costs 40%, Boosts Productivity 35% with Cloud Services

We’re an agency, so clients don’t come to us—we travel to them. We can save 15 hours per week with Lync Online because our staff can attend meetings from anywhere.
- Jaime Chong, Director, Operations & Special Projects, Crystal Edge

Crystal Edge was founded in 1994 in Malaysia and has become a premier marketing services company with a regional office in Singapore, and customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region from a variety of industries. Meetings—internal, external, overseas, and domestic—are a way of life at the company, which supports customers on all aspects of marketing services. A single event can require up to 20 meetings to plan and carry out.

The company now uses the document sharing and access and automatic data backup features in Microsoft Office 365 to save $13,000.00 annually. The ability to access and collaborate on documents anywhere, anytime means employees save 15 hours weekly in meeting travel and redundant tasks, or 35 percent of the work week.

Situation

The company used email and phone calls to collaborate, but these methods were not flexible enough, especially for employees who attend meetings from outside the office—and long-distance bills could be high. In early 2011, Crystal Edge switched to Microsoft Live Meeting, part of the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite. The company used Live Meeting to provide access to voice and video conferencing; users who were away from a computer could participate in audio conferences using a public switched telephone network (PSTN) phone.

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* Our staff once had to be in the office to open certain documents. With SharePoint Online, they will be able to access files from anywhere our business takes them. Now, our file-sharing capabilities are aligned with our business: fast-paced, responsive, and global.  *

Jaime Chong
Operations & Special Projects
Crystal Edge

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With these capabilities, Crystal Edge could reduce the number of in-person meetings, but the company also wanted to be able to share and edit documents during meetings, with version control, file access from inside or outside the office, and automatic data backups. As it was, employees had to come into the office to access documents stored on company servers, or rely on colleagues to email them the files.

The company wanted to cut costs, especially around online event capabilities, such as webinars, for customers. The custom solutions Crystal Edge looked at cost around U.S.$7,000.00 per event, which was too expensive for them.

Solution

In May 2011, Crystal Edge began using Microsoft Lync Online and SharePoint Online, part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite of cloud-based productivity tools. The company chose these services because they work with the company’s existing Microsoft Office applications, and allow the employees to have anywhere-access to their documents, robust online conferencing, team collaboration sites, and more.

Crystal Edge can use Lync Online to provide audio and video conferencing, instant messaging, and web conferencing through the Microsoft Lync 2010 desktop application. To conduct meetings with clients, employees can also use voice and video conferencing capabilities from any location with a standard Internet connection, or participate in audio conferences by dialing in with a standard phone. Staff inside or outside the office can conduct their online project-meeting agendas and presentations to clients and colleagues, including audio, video, screen sharing, and a virtual whiteboard for sharing a meeting agenda or action items.

With unified conferencing, users can collaborate, share information, and coordinate their efforts in real time, so there is no duplication of documentation. Using these features, employees can attend meetings from wherever they are: typically, some users will be at home, some at the office, and their clients are often in Sydney, Hong Kong, or somewhere in India. Lync Online will cost $13,000.00 less annually than third-party solutions.

With SharePoint Online, Crystal Edge can build team sites for document sharing and collaboration, including Document Workspaces and Meeting Workspaces, to help manage particular projects or work items. The company can also manage and store their marketing proposals for collaboration, plus project meeting notes and client contact information, so everyone has the latest information and can offer the personalized service that Crystal Edge is known for. These features and any document libraries are accessible to employees and partners online through a password-protected portal.

The added functionality will reduce the need for in-person meetings and associated travel by 40 percent: Jaime Chong, Director, Operations & Special Projects, estimates that employees can eliminate travel to 12 meetings annually. Crystal Edge will be able to offer affordable new online-event services using Lync Online, such as customizing webinars for customers. Anyone can attend these webinars using the Lync Attendee client, a free download that can be used by external users.

Benefits

With Office 365, Crystal Edge will gain new capabilities while reducing costs, with benefits such as:

Reduced Travel

Employees can join a voice or video meeting from inside or outside the office, using a telephone or an Internet connection. Chong says, “We’re an agency, so clients don’t come to us—we travel to them. We can save 15 hours per week with Lync Online because our staff can attend meetings from anywhere. And we can edit documents together in real time during meetings.”

Version Control and Improved Access

Staff can access, share, and edit files during meetings, or when they’re away from the office. With version control, the company gains accuracy in their documents, to better serve clients. Chong comments, “Our staff once had to be in the office to open certain documents. With SharePoint Online, they will be able to access files from anywhere our business takes them. Now, our file-sharing capabilities are aligned with our business: fast-paced, responsive, and global.”

Save $13,000 Annually in Solution Costs

With Lync Online, the company can reduce the number of in-person meetings that its employees once spent time and money traveling to, for substantial cost savings. The company can also serve customers outside its traditional territory by using voice and video conferencing—which cost less than long-distance phone calls.

Chong sums, “Lync Online costs one third the price of custom solutions for providing online events to our customers, saving us $13,000.00 annually. And, we design and host customers’ events. Now we can move forward with what is the fastest-growing segment of our business.”

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Office 365 brings together cloud versions of our most trusted communications and collaboration products—Microsoft SharePoint Online, Exchange Online, and Lync Online—with the latest version of our Office desktop suite and companion web applications for businesses of all sizes.

Office 365 helps save time and money, and it frees up valued resources. Simple to use and easy to administer, it is financially backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing 99 percent reliability. Office 365 features robust security, IT-level phone support, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and the business-class privacy controls and standards that you expect from a world-class service provider.

For more information about Microsoft Office 365, go to:

www.office365.com

For more information about Crystal Edge products and services, call or visit the website at:

http://www.crystaledge.net

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview




Organization Profile

Malaysian marketing support services company Crystal Edge has 17 years of marketing knowledge and expertise in delivering online and in-person events to customers in Asia and beyond.


Business Situation

Crystal Edge needed a way to cut down on the overhead and travel associated with project meetings, and online event costs for their customers.


Solution

The communication and collaboration tools in Microsoft Office 365 enabled Crystal Edge to lower costs and improve productivity and collaboration significantly.


Benefits

  • Boosted productivity 35%
  • Improved collaboration 30%
  • Cut costs 40%


Software and Services
Microsoft Office 365

Vertical Industries
Advertising

Country/Region
Malaysia

Languages
English

Partner(s)
Rhingle Sdn Bhd

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