Counting on Hosted BlackBerry Services

By  Jeff Goldman — October 06, 2010

The public relations firm SpeakerBox Communications, based in McLean, Va., has been providing its account directors with BlackBerry devices "for as long as I can remember," according to company CEO Elizabeth Shea. But in 2009, the company turned to Apptix for hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server and hosted Microsoft Exchange services, as well as hosted VoIP.

Working with Apptix transformed the company's experience with the BlackBerry -- among other things, Shea says, it's a vast improvement over the desktop syncing the company had previously used. "[Now], we trust that if a meeting is changed or an interview is changed, the syncing is working correctly," she says. "It's really an extension of our Exchange system, which is our lifeblood."

Shea says the company initially selected Apptix because of the complete range of services it offered, including hosted VoIP, hosted Exchange, and hosted BlackBerry services. "Apptix was the only one that really had them all," Shea says.

The result, Shea says, is that SpeakerBox's employees are now able to rely completely on their BlackBerrys. "Our productivity is enhanced so much... because we really need to always be connected," she says. "We have to be available for 24/7 access to reporters, and be able to respond if a client has an urgent announcement."

Many of SpeakerBox's employees work remotely at least a day or two a week. "We've had our people go to client sites and sit with them -- and they can still work on other clients if they have to, but they have that access and that control," Shea says. "And then they can also work from home, which I personally believe is a productivity enhancer."

Over time, Shea says, that kind of flexibility has simply become part of the company's culture. "We have a relatively young workforce, and we're only 20 people," she says. "We're pretty close, and most people have been with us for at least three years... so we've worked together for a long time, and there's a high level of trust."

And so, at a basic level, Shea says, the BlackBerry now provides reliable connectivity while on the move. "Otherwise, you're taking a laptop everywhere, and taking an AirCard around -- or praying there's Wi-Fi," Shea says.

Shea says the BlackBerry has also become essential for social media. "We have three account directors who rely on their BlackBerry to tweet on behalf of the clients, and to update Facebook pages... For example, Stephanie represents Red Hat, so she has a very aggressive schedule to hit, as opposed to someone who might be representing a startup that just needs to tweet once a day," she says.

A new SpeakerBox employee, Shea says, recently chose to purchase her own BlackBerry device specifically so she could connect to the company's system. "If she's making a decision not to go with other smartphones... because of the fact that we're standardized on BlackBerrys, and the fact that it can be synced up with her Exchange in a much easier way than by using another device, that's pretty cool," she says.

And there's one other significant benefit. "Since moving to Apptix, we're probably spending a tenth of what we spent before on IT... I looked back at the budget at the end of last year and realized, holy cow, we really saved a lot of money -- because we weren't calling our IT people out all the time," she says.



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Counting on Hosted BlackBerry Services

By  Jeff Goldman — October 06, 2010

The public relations firm SpeakerBox Communications, based in McLean, Va., has been providing its account directors with BlackBerry devices "for as long as I can remember," according to company CEO Elizabeth Shea. But in 2009, the company turned to Apptix for hosted BlackBerry Enterprise Server and hosted Microsoft Exchange services, as well as hosted VoIP.

Working with Apptix transformed the company's experience with the BlackBerry -- among other things, Shea says, it's a vast improvement over the desktop syncing the company had previously used. "[Now], we trust that if a meeting is changed or an interview is changed, the syncing is working correctly," she says. "It's really an extension of our Exchange system, which is our lifeblood."

Shea says the company initially selected Apptix because of the complete range of services it offered, including hosted VoIP, hosted Exchange, and hosted BlackBerry services. "Apptix was the only one that really had them all," Shea says.

The result, Shea says, is that SpeakerBox's employees are now able to rely completely on their BlackBerrys. "Our productivity is enhanced so much... because we really need to always be connected," she says. "We have to be available for 24/7 access to reporters, and be able to respond if a client has an urgent announcement."

Many of SpeakerBox's employees work remotely at least a day or two a week. "We've had our people go to client sites and sit with them -- and they can still work on other clients if they have to, but they have that access and that control," Shea says. "And then they can also work from home, which I personally believe is a productivity enhancer."

Over time, Shea says, that kind of flexibility has simply become part of the company's culture. "We have a relatively young workforce, and we're only 20 people," she says. "We're pretty close, and most people have been with us for at least three years... so we've worked together for a long time, and there's a high level of trust."

And so, at a basic level, Shea says, the BlackBerry now provides reliable connectivity while on the move. "Otherwise, you're taking a laptop everywhere, and taking an AirCard around -- or praying there's Wi-Fi," Shea says.

Shea says the BlackBerry has also become essential for social media. "We have three account directors who rely on their BlackBerry to tweet on behalf of the clients, and to update Facebook pages... For example, Stephanie represents Red Hat, so she has a very aggressive schedule to hit, as opposed to someone who might be representing a startup that just needs to tweet once a day," she says.

A new SpeakerBox employee, Shea says, recently chose to purchase her own BlackBerry device specifically so she could connect to the company's system. "If she's making a decision not to go with other smartphones... because of the fact that we're standardized on BlackBerrys, and the fact that it can be synced up with her Exchange in a much easier way than by using another device, that's pretty cool," she says.

And there's one other significant benefit. "Since moving to Apptix, we're probably spending a tenth of what we spent before on IT... I looked back at the budget at the end of last year and realized, holy cow, we really saved a lot of money -- because we weren't calling our IT people out all the time," she says.



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