UK drinking water maintenance experts are proving that every cloud really does have a silver lining by embracing a number of ‘cloud’ computing applications to transform its internal data and performance monitoring processes.
Panton McLeod turned to ‘cloud’ based SAAS (Software as a Service) applications after recognising their efficiency for storing and organising business data and the improved reliability, performance and security that come with them.
Cloud computing delivers IT services online, rather than via in house server based systems, which means certain businesses get more reliable and efficient access to their data and software as well as improved performance and security, often at a cheaper cost and with less in-house hassle.
The Scottish borders based firm began using 37 Signals and Hyperoffice Online Collaboration Solutions in 2011 in order to manage a number of their software application requirements and are now determined to have the company fully running using cloud based services by the end of the year.
Jim W Panton, Chairman and CEO of Panton McLeod said: “Moving our data and software processes to the cloud away from our own computer networks has been a massive benefit to Panton McLeod – it’s cheaper for us, flexible and easier to maintain as well as easier to access wherever our staff happen to be.
“The choice of applications now available online also means we were able to select some very user friendly and cost effective online solutions.
“It’s easy to understand that the transfer of more complex in-house solutions onto the cloud can be a daunting exercise – particularly if like us there is limited in-house IT resource to manage that.
“However, we were lucky as our existing internal processes weren’t too complex and as well as starting new processes from scratch online the transfer of existing data to online solutions has been reasonably straightforward.
“We’ve used a variety of the packages 37 Signals offer including Basecamp and Campfire but have found the CRM tool Highrise to be particualrly useful for our needs.
“It has completely revamped the way in which our sales activity and client relationships are managed and a large number of staff now use it every day to take things forward with our prospective and existing clients. Our entire business system is totally reliant on it now.”
Panton McLeod formed in 1994 and has since earned a nationwide reputation one of the UK’s leading experts in the UK water sector and has acquired a wealth of experience in cleaning, disinfecting, inspecting and repairing drinking water storage structures for some of the UK’s biggest water companies.
Jim adds: “We also started using Hyperoffice after looking at ways we could upgrade our email system but quickly discovered they could also offer a number of other useful services. We are able to manage projects, share calendars and documents and use a built in database tool for tracking our daily and weekly key performance information.
“It keeps everything together which means files are kept secure and are easy to access and share with staff and clients, including access via mobile phones. It has a number of other useful tools which we are looking forward to using more in the future.
“We found an excellent reporting tool called Easy Insight which now draws data from Highrise and the management information store in Hyperoffice and produces a range of useful reports. A small number of these are emailed to key managers on a daily and weekly basis. Our entire management information system is now tied up between these effective and easy to use tools.”
Hyperoffice recently launched its communication and collaboration tool for the iPad which has provided the added benefit of sharing documents, managing projects and syncing with corporate email, calendars, contacts and tasks more flexibly.
Jim adds: “We have started using iPads more and more with a number of online business apps so it’s a huge plus to also have quick access to HyperOffice tools while using those. It looks good too.
“Ultimately being well prepared and organised makes a huge impression with our clients and transferring to these “cloud based” applications has made this significantly easier and this benefits our communication internally and with our clients. I think it’s inevitable that more and more businesses will turn to the cloud and we are pleased to be pushing on with this now while it is easier for us to do so.