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By Doug Green, Sales Engineer and Marketing Manager, PSI Solutions
As a sales engineer, staying in close contact with clients is my number one priority. PSI Solutions represents companies that build world-class test and measurement, imaging, and embedded products. We act as the sales and marketing arm for those companies, and we sell to engineering, technology, and manufacturing companies that need those products. The five of us who handle sales are split between our Washington and Oregon offices, and we spend a good deal of time meeting with clients at their locations to find out exactly what they need. We then follow up with technical details to make sure that we’re getting them the products that will best meet those needs.
Because we’re often trying to communicate complicated pieces of information—product specifications or detailed design elements—email is an essential tool. Access to information and the technology to quickly communicate it are critical to our business. We’re away from the office a lot and rely heavily on our mobile phones and portable computers to help us stay in touch with clients. A high level of responsiveness is a requirement. We were using a POP3 service, and when I downloaded mail to, say, my phone, I didn’t have any of the mail downloaded to my computer. The lack of synchronization caused a lot of problems and left me reluctant to send email from my phone because I worried that I wouldn’t have a record of that information later. We also had problems with long delays—we wouldn’t receive mail for days, and then we’d receive duplicates of everything. It was a bit of a mess.
We’ve found a solution, however. We recently started testing Microsoft Office 365, which gives us email, document-sharing capabilities, instant messaging, and conferencing—all through the cloud. We get reliable email through Microsoft Exchange Online, and we’re using Microsoft Lync Online for instant messaging and, potentially, for web conferencing, which would enable us to eliminate the cost of our current Cisco WebEx system.
Plus, we now have a large resource network available through the Office 365 online community, which helps me provide IT support for my colleagues since the firm doesn’t have a dedicated IT guy. And I’ve been blown away by my ability to use Lync Online to take control of a colleague’s desktop remotely. It means that both of us can resolve the issue right away and get back to work!
We’re planning to use Microsoft SharePoint Online to collaborate and share documents, which will eliminate the need to use Google Docs, which we dabbled with in the past. We won’t have to worry about compatibility issues anymore because SharePoint Online works so well with the Microsoft Office tools that we already use every day. We need tools that help foster a more professional environment, and we get those with Office 365.