ImagineDesign: Using Technology to Tap the Crowd
Launched in 2004 “with $14 and a dream,” as founder and CEO Patrick King puts it, ImagineDesign might be the poster child for how the emergence of cloud computing and concepts like crowdsourcing and crowdsolving have made it possible for small and medium-sized businesses to extend their reach and hone their competitiveness far beyond the strictures they faced just a few years ago. Fundamental to those capabilities, however, is a rock-solid communications infrastructure, and ImagineDesign gets just what it needs in that regard from Comcast Business.
“We use online project management software, cloud-based CRM, apps for work sharing—it has gotten to the point where we are able to work together without being in the same place,” King says. A national marketing firm headquartered in Manassas, Virginia (about 25 minutes from Washington, D.C.), ImagineDesign also has an expanding office in Chicago and another in San Diego. It regularly uses crowdsourcing and crowdsolving to tap experts in other fields and other locations, which greatly enhances its competitive positioning while keeping a lid on costs. “We have a particular group of experts in Chicago we use all the time,” King says. “We can communicate with them via online video, and it’s like they are sitting right here in our office. That’s a huge help for us, and it wouldn’t be possible without the right technology infrastructure.”
Serving clients at a rapid-fire pace
King and his cohorts—whom he describes as “an industry-leading group of creative, caffeine-fueled problem solvers who believe that marketing can’t be truly effective unless every piece is part of a cohesive plan and managed under one roof”—must work at a rapid-fire pace to service ImagineDesign’s large and growing roster of clients with comprehensive, integrated marketing solutions. Reliable, high-speed Internet and phone service are must-haves for the completion of day-to-day business tasks such as strategic planning, content creation and production, and client communication. They’re getting that now, but that wasn’t always the case.
With previous communication services providers, ImagineDesign was saddled with business-sapping connectivity issues, such as slow and spotty Internet and dropped phone calls—conditions that also fed a growing level of frustration among its employees. “I can’t tell you how many phone systems we have tried over the past four years. Each one was screwy. Calls would drop, and incoming calls would get sent straight to voicemail. It got to the point where we thought our phone number was haunted,” King quips. Likewise, the company’s T1-based network infrastructure simply wasn’t up to the job of keeping pace with clients’ demands for more Internet-based marketing campaigns leveraging technologies like social media and online video.
The solution for ImagineDesign turned out to be a trio of services from Comcast Business: Comcast Premium Internet with a 27Mbps/7Mbps connection; Comcast Business TV to give its employees access to news and entertainment during break periods and to provide ambiance for visiting clients; and Comcast Business VoiceEdge™ for cloud-based and Unified Communications services. “Since we added Comcast voice services in early 2012, we’ve had no problems with our phone service—and this is the first time we’ve seen this sort of reliability since I opened for business in 2004,” King says. “Aside from the fact that everything works, my accountant is also very happy because having a bundled solution makes billing much simpler, and we’re saving every month.”
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