Political Intelligence

Political Intelligence wants virtual CIO

Managing an SME is hard enough without having to worry about IT too much. And only very few SMEs have someone with an IT background to run things for them, let alone a CIO. This is why Political Intelligence wanted to outsource all its IT activities to an IT partner it could trust. ‘You need to leave IT to the experts,’ says CEO Isabelle De Vinck.

The Brussels Public Affairs office, Political Intelligence, was anything but happy with its IT infrastructure. ‘We received lots of complaints from customers about IT related things not working properly when they came to meet with us,’ explains Isabelle De Vinck. ‘That’s unacceptable in an office like ours. It’s essential that our customers see us as a professional and reliable organization, and that means our IT needs to run perfectly.’ When the office decided to move into new premises at the start of the year, De Vinck decided to take the bull by the horns and look for a new IT partner. Things clicked straight away with Esther Van Ham-Grave from Realdolmen in their first meeting.

Videoconferencing and Skype

We already worked with Microsoft Office 365 at Political Intelligence, so the experts from Realdolmen assumed control straight away. The biggest change was switching to Skype for Business with custom videoconferencing equipment and new computers, which immediately
gave the organization a much more professional image. Employees in the Brussels office – there are branches in London and Madrid too – received training to work with the new equipment. The network is fully integrated, too, so you can even answer the doorbell
with Skype for Business. Absolute unburdening Political Intelligence is already preparing for the next step: Workplace as a Service (WPaaS). ‘SMEs generally can’t afford to employ fulltime IT professionals,’ says De Vinck. ‘But I want to be completely unburdened, and need my IT partner to have every aspect under control. So when a new employee starts, I want there to be a laptop ready for them, with the right email account configured, access to the wireless network all set up, everything. Even the smaller things like headsets, printers and anything that our partner can give us that helps, so we don’t need to keep buying and replacing things. I also want support requests not to be centralised before they go to the partner anymore, which we currently need to do to keep the IT budget under control. I’d like to give each employee a number of credits, for example, so they can open support tickets independently at their own discretion. Then I only need to intervene when they’ve used up their credits, which would save me lots of time.’

Every SME’s dream

Realdolmen is fully committed to this approach. ‘But there’s a lot involved,’ says Van Ham-Grave. ‘You need to have the equipment in stock, for example, so that you can supply and configure everything straight away. New contracts need to be drawn up, agreements need to be made about how customer data can and must be stored, and so on.’ De Vinck certainly hopes the new service will come soon. ‘I think this is a formula that every SME dreams of,’ she says.

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