Ricoh continues to add significant value to the company and they have a good solution to almost any problem I throw at them. They have become a trusted partner that I know I can rely on now and in the future.
Wingate streamlines office productivity and reinvents meetings with Ricoh
Wingate is a leading Australian private markets finance and investment house with global reach.
Launched over fifteen years ago with a vision to revive the old European family merchant banking tradition, Wingate’s success has been guided by a measured approach to risk and a deep sense of responsibility to co-investors, partners and clients.
With a focus on private debt, Wingate originates and manages investment opportunities across property, corporate investments and consumer finance.
As Wingate expanded its operations during the past five years, reliance on information technology grew.
Increasing numbers of processes were digitised and communications with clients and investors were conducted electronically.
To support this infrastructure the company had engaged a service provider for certain functions which worked well initially. However, over time it became clear that the service model was not delivering the right level of service coverage for the business.
“Our initial reaction was to take control of our technology systems back in-house,” says Wingate IT Director Dan Lodder. “However, a lack of internal IT skills and resources led to us realising that this was not a long-term solution.”
Lodder says the company was also keen to take advantage of cloud-based resources to reduce the need to invest in on-premise hardware. The goal was to improve the level of service provided to staff while at the same time keeping costs and complexity under control.
Two areas were identified for attention. The first was migrating staff from an on-premise productivity suite to an Azure cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 platform.
The second was improving collaboration between their offices for staff and clients by utilising the existing investment of their Unified Communication software solution (Skype for Business) and to bring this into the meeting space.
“We recognised that both these initiatives would help to boost productivity and support the firm’s ongoing growth,” says Lodder. “We then set out to find a suitable technology partner to guide us through the transformation process.”
Ultimately, Wingate required a cost-effective modern and innovative room solution that would minimise up-front investment and was fully supported yet minimises ICT involvement in the overall support process.
Wingate had an existing relationship with Ricoh which had been providing print services to the company for many years. After evaluating a range of options, Wingate selected Ricoh to manage the Azure migration project.
“We were confident that Ricoh had the technical skills and experience to undertake the migration without causing any disruption to our day-to-day functioning,” says Lodder. “Work began in August 2017 and was completed on time and on budget by January 2018.”
Files stored on Wingate’s on-premise servers were migrated to the Azure cloud and 85 Office365 seats configured for staff in the company’s Melbourne and Sydney offices. All users were provided with Windows 10-based devices and trained to use the features of the new platform.
Once the Office365 migration project was completed, attention turned to finding ways to improve internal communications. The objective was to streamline the way meetings were conducted, provide a technology that is simplified, easy to use and intuitive to reduce the amount of staff travel required between offices.
“The Ricoh team demonstrated their Smart Meetings and Workspaces portfolio and we could quickly see the value it would add to our operations,” says Lodder. “We have now deployed the Ricoh Interactive Collaboration Hub solution, our new all-in-one collaboration tool. This includes a Ricoh 80+ inch interactive whiteboard, Logitech Rally camera and microphone system, Barco Clickshare for wireless presentation and Quicklaunch software for simple and intuitive interface in our Melbourne boardroom. It also includes two mobile collaboration hubs incorporating a 75-inch mobile interactive whiteboard, Logitech MeetUp camera and microphone system, Barco for wireless presentation and Quicklaunch for simple and intuitive interface.
With both phases of the digital transformation project now complete, Wingate is enjoying some significant business benefits.
Thanks to the Azure-based Office365 platform, staff can now easily and securely access files and email from any location, and the IT team no longer has to manage on-premise servers and associated infrastructure.
“The change has also smoothed out associated costs,” says Lodder. “Rather than the peaks and troughs of investing large amounts and then spending nothing for 18 months, we now have a steady per-user charge. Essentially we have shifted from a Capex to an OpEx model of operation.”
Lodder says the firm’s new Ricoh Interactive Collaboration Hub Solution have radically changed the way meetings are conducted. Staff in Melbourne can meet with colleagues in Sydney using Skype for Business, reducing the need for interstate travel, and have improved user adoption of their UC platform Skype for Business in the meeting space.
A presentation on one staff member’s laptop PC can be easily shared with a group and the Interactive Whiteboard’s touchscreen displays assist in making interacting with materials easy and intuitive.
The other key benefits include improved productivity due to less time wasted and reduced conference room set-up time, and the ability for board members to participate in board meetings remotely.
“The screens also make it easy for meeting participants to capture and share handwritten notes in real time,” he says. “They can be digitally shared with other meeting participants and stored for future use.”
Lodder says staff have taken to the new devices “like ducks to water” and have quickly found they add real value to collaboration sessions. “You get a better quality of communication when you can see the other party,” he says. “It’s more like being in the same room than when you have to rely on audio-only services.”
Lodder says the Ricoh interactive whiteboards, combined with Skype for Business, allow participants to join meetings remotely when required, further improving flexibility and productivity. “It has changed for the better the way in which we operate as a company,” he says.
To deliver further value for the firm, Lodder is now working with Ricoh to deploy a meeting room management system to assist in relation to availability, booking, utilisation and management.
“Ricoh continues to add significant value to the company and they have a good solution to almost any problem I throw at them,” he says. “They have become a trusted partner that I know I can rely on now and in the future.”