Reality Check: How The Windward Group Uses the Cloud

Mindy Rathe
November 7, 2012
EMC Syncplicity from The Windward Group

There are many examples of technology that is launched with great promise and fanfare, only to fail because they don not adequately fulfill un-served market needs. Consider HD-DVD, Windows ME and the Apple Newton.

What about cloud file sharing?

We were very excited about going to the cloud and becoming more efficient. However, we wanted to see firsthand how this technology saved us money and improved our processes in order to recommend it to our clients. Though we're located in Louisiana, we all wanted a little bit of Missouri "Show Me."

Having now used it for over a year, we love the cloud. We have used it to become a more efficient, more connected and more secure company when it comes to sharing information both inside and outside the organization with delivery tickets and contracts.

For those of you unfamiliar with The Windward Group, we are an enterprise content management (ECM) integrator with a service bureau operation. The latter means that we pick up and scan documents, convert them into digital files and upload the into our clients' systems or burn them to CD/DVD, and then we return, store or destroy these documents - all for a wide variety of clients, including hospitals, oil and gas, government agencies, and corporations.

As part of our scanning service, we use delivery tickets to document the receipt of client documents following their digital conversion. If there is a question or problem, we need to make these delivery tickets available to our clients. Because we need to so quickly and efficiently, hunting through a file cabinet for the paper original and then emailing or faxing them is neither efficient nor cost-effective. Instead, we use a cloud based database to give our clients access to these delivery tickets. Deployment was fast, and the return on our investment was almost immediate. Our clients love it and we love it.

Our team is constantly on the go and we need to have access to contracts and templates from a variety of locations. Whether in a hotel room or at a client site, access to these documents needs to be instantaneous and secure - and having someone from the home office email them is neither. A cloud-based database provides this capability. Our sales, finance and operational people all have access to documents with incredible can manage these documents, make changes and assure that the latest and greatest is always available. We also use a cloud based database to share these contracts and communicate forecasting information to our vendor partners.

Our use of cloud-based databases to manage delivery tickets and contracts is just the tip of the iceberg and we'll report back here how else we are using the systems to become more efficient and to cut costs. We are also happy to share more of our experiences with you so that you can get a better idea of how cloud based database can be deployed in your organization.

Feel free to explore this in our recent blog posts or contact us to learn more and a free consultation.