UK recruiting firm increases productivity by 15% with Windows 7
The Health and Safety Partnership is a leading recruiting firm for health, safety, environmental and quality sectors in the UK. Based in Birmingham, England, the firm has matched hundreds of professionals with leading companies since 2003. The company supports multiple clients and hundreds of job candidates, necessitating highly efficient systems and business continuity functions. As the list of clients has grown, the need for business efficiency has also grown. So when the company began experiencing computing issues due to sluggish PC performance, it needed to solve the problem quickly. By deploying the Windows 7 Professional operating system, the company has improved efficiency by reducing time-to-resolution for computing issues, while safeguarding information and speeding up business processes associated with everyday tasks.
Operating with a staff of seven, the Health and Safety Partnership provides recruiting services for hundreds of companies in the health, safety, environmental and quality sectors, which requires the collection, manipulation and analysis of vast amounts of sensitive business information.
With Windows 7, we are saving time, safeguarding our data and increasing productivity at the human level."
Paul Flynn, Director, Health and Safety Partnership
To operate efficiently and effectively, the company relies heavily on its computer systems and a specialised, third-party recruiting software programme. Recently, it noticed an increase in system issues that were slowing business processes and inhibiting the performance of its recruiting software. "We were sending five to six calls a week to the help desk, resulting in significant downtime," says Paul Flynn, Director of the Health and Safety Partnership. "And for us, downtime means lost productivity and ultimately missed revenues."
The company needed to find a way to make it easier for staff members to get working and stay working and to safeguard client information from loss or damage.
The Health and Safety Partnership deployed Windows 7 in 2009. The new system's powerful diagnostic and troubleshooting tools increased uptime by making it easier for users to resolve more issues themselves, while reducing time-to-resolution issues that required a help desk call. Strong security and document recovery features protect user data from security threats and loss due to failed or missing backups. In addition, Windows 7 increases business efficiency by simplifying everyday tasks and speeding up access to information employees need to get their jobs done.
Windows 7 Professional is the recommended choice for small businesses and for people who work at home but have to operate in an IT-managed or business environment where security and productivity are critical, says Mike Ybarra, Windows General Manager at Microsoft. "For those running Windows Vista Business, it will be a very logical move to Windows 7 Professional."
Today, powerful diagnostic and troubleshooting tools built into Windows 7 Professional make it easier for users to resolve many issues themselves and when users do need help desk support, Problem Steps Recorder helps reduce time-to-resolution by making it easier to communicate the details of the issue.
Users record their interactions with an application and capture a detailed screen-by-screen view, along with accompanying information. They send the recording to the help desk agent for faster, easier diagnosis and resolution - a process Flynn experienced firsthand. "I had a problem recently that I needed help desk support for," Flynn recalls. "With Problem Steps Recorder, I simply pressed the 'record' button and emailed it off to our help desk and that was it. Problem solved."
According to Flynn, Problem Steps Recorder is shaving approximately 15 minutes off each help desk call - or more than 50 hours of productive time annually. He says, "We're getting more than a week back in productive time due to Problem Steps Recorder."
Information Security is a top priority for companies like Health and Safety Partnership, which must protect sensitive information against security threats such as spyware or information theft, or data loss caused by failed or missing backups.
The strong Windows 7 security features help protect systems against malware and other forms of security threats. Advanced Backup lets users schedule periodic data backups that automatically save specific data or the entire system image, while Restore Previous Versions creates a shadow copy of documents so users can instantly recover files that have been accidentally deleted or changed.
The Windows 7 Encrypting File System (EFS) enables users to encrypt files or folders that contain sensitive information. "The business continuity features in Windows 7 are giving us the ability to protect our important information at the highest levels," says Flynn. "This is an immense benefit to our business efficiency."
Speeding up Business Processes
Windows 7 Aero desktop personalisation features increase productivity by reducing time spent on redundant tasks such as aligning windows in order to compare information between documents. Aero "Snap," lets users position windows side-by-side for simultaneous viewing. Aero "Shake," allows users to minimise all windows at once and Aero "Peek," makes windows transparent so users can see what's on the desktop.
With Jump Lists, users see recently-accessed files by simply right-clicking on an icon. They can keep frequently used documents and files handy by pinning them to the Jump List and for even faster access, they can pin files directly to the Taskbar. "These changes to the interface seem small at first, but they have had a fantastic impact," says Flynn. "What were once long, arduous tasks such as data comparison and analysis of candidate qualifications are now a snap!"
Federated Search enables users to find files and folders instantly - rather than spending painful minutes trying to remember pathways to infrequently used files and information. Now, users simply type questions and phrases in the Instant Search box and Windows 7 scours a local PC, HomeGroup, network, external drives and the Internet to find the information needed. For example, typing in "power management," or "dim screen," will bring in the power management feature that extends laptop battery life.
Windows 7 Libraries enable the company's recruiters to share information quickly and easily, while providing version control. Libraries are collections of related files and folders that can be aggregated and shared between users. Users simply create a Library category and then drag files and folders from other network locations into those libraries. The user can then access and edit any of the documents in those folders anytime - streamlining projects by providing a single, unified view of project elements.
Search is brilliant, but Search coupled with Libraries is more than we could have hoped for in a productivity tool, says Flynn. "We are saving time and improving quality by sharing information more effectively."
One of the biggest challenges associated with running a data-driven organisation is ensuring that staff members understand and execute standard processes precisely. The Health and Safety Partnership is using the Windows Problem Steps Recorder to automatically and accurately capture core processes, such as the ones steps recruiters must take to qualify a candidate, or instructions on how to use the company's recruiting software. "What used to take us one to two days now takes us one to two hours - a huge time savings," says Flynn. "With Windows 7 we are saving time, safeguarding our data and increasing productivity at the human level."