The need for speed
Rapid iteration means nothing if compliance and data-safety protocols aren’t observed. The Seattle area is home to Boeing and hundreds of other aerospace companies, so Jemco is accustomed to the “space race” and serving high-profile customers in the industry. Accordingly, protecting data and intellectual property (IP)—its own and its customers’—is a top priority. Jemco is one of a select few firms with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) clearance, a standard designed to restrict and control defense and military related technologies for US national security purposes. This involves complying with regulations around who has access to certain designs.
At Jemco, lead times are short and deadlines are tight, so managing calendars and adhering to schedules are essential. There are so many projects in motion at once that misplacing a file or missing a customer meeting can have serious consequences. Yet employees didn’t have reliable remote access to their work calendars, and Jemco used what Moore calls an “old-school hosting system” for email. The programming department and engineering teams both work in the same building, relying on face-to-face collaboration and a secure on-premises file system to store and edit computer-aided design (CAD) files, which are too large to be sent by email.
When it comes to technology, the company has invested heavily in robotics and automation for building parts. With all the focus on production, project management, compliance, and security, Jemco didn’t have much time to address the state of its internal tools; Moore considered the company to be ahead of the curve in everything but IT. The situation was tenable until the company had a growth spurt in 2016 and went from 30 employees to more than 50 in 18 months. Moore knew that 2017 was the year to find a new solution.
Prospective customers usually ask what internal platform Jemco uses, so Moore wanted one with a good reputation for security and reliability. ”We don’t have the budget to hire a big IT firm, yet it’s so critical that we have top security and reliability,” says Moore. “It’s the small-to-midsize company’s dilemma.” He and other company executives interviewed three or four different IT companies and decided on Microsoft.
This choice didn’t come out of the blue. Moore was familiar with Microsoft from his days as a cost-conscious startup entrepreneur, having attended several technology workshops. “The Microsoft Store hosts these monthly and quarterly workshops, and I was just astonished at how valuable they are, and what a great service they provide to the community,” he says. “So, when I took this job here in Seattle, one of my first actions was to get in touch with the local Microsoft Store. After talking with them, I felt confident that whatever solution we implemented, we were going to do it together—that they had my back.” Staff at the store recommended Microsoft Surface devices and Microsoft Office 365 as a solution for Jemco.