How Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 helps a small marketing firm stay in touch with their clients and staff anywhere and everywhere
"At the moment I may spend just one day a week in the office," says Diana Watson, owner and director of Bespoke Marketing, a four-person marketing consultancy in Thame, Oxfordshire.
To do this and still be able to run her business requires the latest technology - provided by Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 and Microsoft Partner Neville Jones from The RQ Consultancy.
From the beginning Watson knew what she wanted from her computer system:
The business rationale is clear: "clients don't want to wait 24 hours to know if you can see them on Thursday."
The answer: Small Business Server 2003
"To be in communication at any time is worth its weight in gold," says Watson. The new server means that when Watson is at a client site she can send and receive emails using a web browser on client's computer (via a system called Outlook Web Access) or using her own laptop connected to their network or wireless connection, in which case she uses her regular Microsoft Outlook 2003 software.
When she's out and about she can use the wireless network card in her laptop to access the server from Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes and hotels or she uses her Orange Data Card to access the server using a cell phone-style connection. It gives her complete flexibility; "even if I'm on the train I can [stay connected and] get some work done."
A virtual team
�To be in communication at any time is worth it's weight in gold.�
Besides the four permanent staff, Bespoke Marketing uses virtual teams of freelance individuals who are based all over the country. When they're working on Bespoke Marketing projects, they have Bespoke Marketing email addresses and access to the relevant files but work remotely using their own computers and internet connections.
"I am not a techie," explains Watson, so it was important for her to find an expert IT partner who knew what they were doing and could explain it in terms that make business sense. The RQ Consultancy fitted the bill. Having built the system to her specification, they are able to monitor it and fix any problems remotely.
Getting the right technology has been critical to Bespoke Marketing's success; "Your clients don't want to know about your technology problems. They just want the job done."