How an educational small business schooled an industry
“We can bring together people from all across the world,” says Mike O’Hanlon, Cofounder and Vice President of Imagineeringart.com. O’Hanlon remembers how, not too long ago, getting work done remotely wasn’t so easy. “If we were doing a project with a publishing company, everybody we’d be dealing with would be in another city. Maybe once every three or four months we’d get together.” Now, the executive editor can be in San Francisco and the art development manager can be in San Diego while the animations editor is in New York and the author is in Hawaii.
Creating illustrations and computer-animated graphics for post-secondary textbooks spanning the physical and life sciences is a niche business, and Imagineeringart.com has been doing it for 22 years. “As the industry has shifted from the printed page to pixels on the screen, it has opened a lot of new doors and slammed shut a lot of old ones. Some companies on our end of the business didn’t anticipate that and didn’t start moving quickly enough. They’ve since disappeared.”
According to O’Hanlon, the company’s enduring success can be attributed to looking ahead and taking the lead. As a result, Imagineeringart.com is now shepherding their publisher clients into the new age of electronic academic material, placing their small business firmly at the vanguard of an industry essential to generation after generation of doctors and scientists. As such a forward-thinking business, Imagineeringart.com needed a telecommunications solution that was as innovative as they were.
In addition to five full-time artists and a catalogue of free- lance artists, Mike’s team consists of several editors and project managers, all of whom can be very widely dispersed despite the need to collaborate closely on each project. “Three or four years ago, collaborating would have involved hopping on a plane,” says O’Hanlon. Flying all over North America for client meetings and overseas to a variety of events may sound exciting, but as O’Hanlon notes, it can be tiresome and it definitely slows down work.
However, collaboration isn’t just about communication. “If a publisher wanted us to update some art,” says O’Hanlon,“they’d have to send us all their source files. That meant pulling 10 to 20 gigabytes of data over two or three days.” Then there’s the very real risk of the servers going down. “If our people lose access to our servers for an hour, it costs us a thousand dollars,” says O’Hanlon.
Of course, reliably and efficiently collaborating with so many stakeholders in so many places is only part of the challenge. “It’s a matter of being able to connect with whomever is nec- essary whenever it’s necessary,” says O’Hanlon. “That’s why a desk phone just doesn’t make sense for our business at this point. If we screw up, we want to know now,” he laughs.
To ensure Imagineeringart.com was able to maintain their momentum as a leader in their field, they needed a communication and collaboration solution that was as innovative as they were—and only Rogers had the right package: A combination of Rogers UnisonTM and G Suite by Google Cloud supported by Rogers IgniteTM for business 150u and Share EverythingTM for business.
With the Ignite for business 150u package, Imagineeringart.com has the fast, reliable internet they need not only to ensure everyone in the office can seamlessly connect on any device, but also to efficiently share the highly detailed pictures and animations they create of everything from the human heart to chemical reactions to the moon’s effect on ocean tides. “We’re hardwired with Ignite for business internet because you need that when you’re moving around files that are 300 to 400 gigabytes,” says O’Hanlon.
To make collaboration easier, O’Hanlon leverages G Suite by Google Cloud. “Using the Google Meet feature, we can bring together people from all across the world and share a screen to review all our visuals and answer everyone’s questions.” And despite his initial trepidation, O’Hanlon is making the big leap into the cloud after seeing Rogers and G Suite in action. “As we worked through the process, the Rogers support people have been excellent, which also eased my mind. Once the migration is complete, all of our administration, all of our file sharing, all of our creative, all of our sampling—everything—will exist in the cloud where we have unlimited storage for a flat monthly fee.”
Furthermore, everyone is now reachable by phone from anywhere at any time thanks to Rogers Unison. “When a customer calls the company number and gets to our directory, wherever I am, and whatever time it is, my mobile phone will ring,” says O’Hanlon. “Our customers know that everybody is available anywhere, anytime.”
Since implementing the Rogers solution, O’Hanlon has seen significant impacts. “We save about 20 to 30 work hours a month and about $1,000 in telecommunications costs a month,” he says, “and that doesn’t include what we save on travel. We expect those numbers to improve over time.”
However, the benefits of G Suite and Rogers Unison in particular have had benefits beyond work efficiency and costs: namely customer satisfaction and admiration.
“Nothing can beat saying to someone in, for example, California, ‘Hang on a second; I’ll bring Toronto online,’ and collaborate with them via video in real time. Boy,” says O’Hanlon, “that really impresses our customers.”
O’Hanlon is also quick to point out that the Rogers solution is about enabling Imagineeringart.com for the future. “The Rogers solution has given us a foundation that will allow us to move more easily and rapidly into the digital world.”
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