Imperial Ductwork Services is one of the leading companies in the manufacture and installation of Ductwork Ventilation Systems. Alongside a head office located in Sidcup, Kent, the company has offices in London, Milton Keynes, and Denmark.
We have been Imperial Ductwork Services’ IT supplier since 2010, and we have worked alongside them as they’ve grown from 35 users to 130 users, with multiple offices.
As the coronavirus pandemic hit businesses, Imperial Ductwork Services needed to ensure that their employees would be able to work remotely where possible. They knew that they needed to improve the resilience of their email system, and they also needed to be able to incorporate a video conferencing system. This would allow them to remain working dynamically as a team whilst working from home.
An added challenge was that due to the rapid nature of Covid-19, they needed to have a system set up rapidly. Maintaining emails was critical – the client simply couldn’t afford hours of downtime, so it was imperative that we kept the client’s systems up and running.
At Lucid Systems, we always start by discussing the situation in-depth with the client so we can understand their pain points and create ways to overcome them. To start this project, we spoke with the senior management team to understand their requirements, and then we were able to provide recommendations with full pros and cons. This allowed them to make an informed decision.
Our final recommendation was to migrate to Office 365 with a hybrid solution that would minimise disruption and provide a seamless transition to the end-users. We wanted to ensure that the client could continue to use their current archiving solution along with a centralised automatic email signature software. This allowed them to maintain access to their emails during the migration whilst being to use Microsoft Teams would allow them to collaborate effectively.
The majority of users already had their own laptops and we sourced external webcams for those who needed them. This ensured full accessibility to video conferencing for all staff members.
In addition to the migration of Office 365, we needed to provide effective training and support to their users. Many had never worked remotely before, and video conferencing was a new form of communication that many were unsure of. To combat this, we created a bespoke user guide which allowed staff to understand the basics of how to use video conferencing software. We also held several video conferences with key staff members to help them get used to using the software. This approach proved successful and gave the client confidence that they could use video conferencing effectively.
Like every business, the disruption caused by Covid-19 meant that we had to react incredibly quickly. We anticipated that the country would soon be required to enter lockdown so Imperial Ductwork Services needed to be prepared.
In ‘typical’ projects, a migration like this would generally take at least a month. This is because we would take time to plan, test, and implement a new system. However due to the situation we had to work incredibly quickly, and the migration was complete in just two weeks.
Since the country went into lockdown, and remote working became the ‘new normal’, Imperial Ductwork Services have been able to collaborate effectively using Microsoft Teams. One member of the senior management team has been so impressed with its efficiency that he has decided to invest in new equipment so that he can continue to work remotely more often.
As a result of the migration, the client now has its email mailboxes stored in the Office 365 cloud. This means that they have greater resilience in case of any technical issues from their head office. They also have a simple and effective video conferencing tool which is freely available to all staff members. The company believes that being able to collaborate in real-time and continue to communicate as a team whilst being socially distanced is hugely important. They also believe that in the future, the use of Microsoft Teams will continue to be an asset as they participate in on-site visits as they will be able to show problems to colleagues in real-time, rather than relying on emails or text messages to explain difficulties.
We anticipate that the investment into Office 365 will provide an effective ROI. This is because any investment into their server hardware will be significantly reduced. They will also be able to benefit from reduced licencing costs once Share Point moves into Office 365, as well as the additional facilities provided with the suite.
An additional benefit to the company is that the investment into Office 365 will significantly reduce their travel costs. As a growing European company with offices in different countries, Imperial Ductwork Services can start to work much more dynamically. Rather than flying to different countries to attend meetings, staff members can log in remotely and manage meetings through Microsoft Teams. This will not only save travel expenditure but will dramatically improve productivity, making a significant difference to their bottom line.
“Over the years, we have worked closely with Hiren. He has been incredibly helpful in setting us up with an IT system that meets our needs. Prior to the lockdown, we had previously spoken about the potential need to install remote working capabilities. As soon as it became clear that it was something that we needed to set up, Hiren did everything that he could to help us work effectively from home.
The biggest impact was the installation of Microsoft Teams. This has allowed us to springboard into another direction and it’s had a huge impact on our business over the last few months. For example, we can have onsite communication with site managers, and we can have virtual meetings with clients. It has really opened our eyes to what we could have been doing beforehand. Without the remote working capabilities, our business may have really struggled to adapt. It’s thanks to Hiren that we have had everything that we’ve needed to cope with the lockdown situation.”
Imperial Ductwork Services