Small and medium sized businesses in particular can struggle when it comes to an adequate IT set-up. Yet they need to be competitive, boost employee productivity and take advantage of the latest technology. This is where outsourcing comes in.
Will outsourcing replace your internal team? Will it needlessly replace established systems? Some SMEs have concerns about overlaps and complications with their IT department - especially as third party suppliers have started taking on a wider scope of tasks, like service desk and infrastructure management.
However, outsourcing can never replace the IT experts in your company. The IT professionals in your in-house team will always bridge the gap between technology and people. They make sure the technology is meaningful and easy to use.
Rather than replacing the in-house IT function, an external solution provider should serve as a trusted and valuable extension. At Konica Minolta, we provide complementary services. We will empower and work flexibly with your in-house team to identify issues and maximise efficiencies and cybersecurity. This will free them up to ensure that IT supports your strategy and business goals.
As well as helping you to meet everyday and urgent demands by taking on specific tasks, Konica Minolta can do much more. We have the expertise to help your IT function to drive digital transformation in your organisation.
This means enabling you to unlock potential, streamline and look at the bigger picture. It means designing the digital future of your company and helping your workforce and business functions to get the greatest benefit from technology.
"Through our close relationships with our customers and our long-term experiences within the industry, we have seen that IT professionals, particularly in SMEs, struggle to keep up with technological advances. This is because they simply lack the necessary resources to take on everything at once."
Want to outsource but not sure what you need? We'll start by understanding your existing environment and business processes and then bringing you tailored services, in line with service level agreements. This includes:
Analysis of your IT environment to understand your needs
Anti-virus and anti-malware services to minimise vulnerabilities
Assessment of your servers, devices, PCs, peripherals
Broad network of top tier partners
Emergency back-up and recovery services
Extensive portfolio of IT services tailored to your needs
IT environment optimised, standardised and consolidated
Proactive monitoring and management to anticipate issues
24/7 remote control capabilities
A seamless experience to end users
Single point of contact for all problems, incidents and requests
Supporting your IT team so they can focus on core competences
The increased adoption of outsourcing IT to external managed service providers poses a seemingly obvious question – at what point will internal IT departments be rendered obsolete? While it is certainly true that service providers have demonstrated their ability to take on a widening scope of tasks, including areas that traditionally within the domain of internal IT departments such as service desk and infrastructure management, this is not a zero-sum game.
Selecting the right partner for your business' IT isn't easy - and it's never been more critical. But with so many providers on the market, how can you be sure to get the perfect fit for your business?
Get in touch with our IT outsourcing experts to talk about how we can support your SME. We'll be happy to advise you on our outsourced services and guidance.
Elajo is one of Sweden’s leading electricity, mechanical engineering and energy com¬panies, offering broad expertise and a knowledgeable staff of close to 900 employees. Since it was founded in 1958, the family business has experienced strong growth over many years and combines the proximity as well as the flexibility of a small company with the resources of a large one. In the vast majority of cases, the company is geographically very close to its customers as it has offices in 38 cities in Sweden. With its products and services, Elajo and its employees generate a yearly turnover of approximately SEK 900 million. The decision in favour of the long-term partner Konica Minolta for the update of their software and hardware as well as for the assignment of managed network services was just natural. The solutions ensure the new system provides the highest level of security while enabling very efficient and simplified workflows.
For Elajo’s business, it is exceptionally important to be able to focus on the needs of their customers. In today’s economy, underlying IT systems take on a decisive role in order to allow this. As more and more systems become connected and internal as well as external business processes grow increasingly digital, companies need to be able to leverage the full potential of these technologies to stay competitive in their market and serve their customers with the highest levels of quality. A strong partner who knows its business and is able to take care of IT and the digitalisation of a company’s processes is especially crucial with a diverse and geographically spread company structure with 38 offices. “Managing our IT is at the core of our business and we want to limit the internal resources we invest here to a minimum. Hence, in order to be able to focus our resources and efforts on supporting our employees, our IT department turned to Konica Minolta, our long-established, proven partner,” Elajo’s CFO Olle Westerling explains. Through the close dialogue between the two companies before the start of the project, Konica Minolta gained an in-depth understanding of Elajo’s needs and was hence able to tailor the service to exactly the desired outcome, freeing up internal resources. “In many ways, it feels like Konica Minolta’s experts have become a part of our IT team,” Westerling added.
In order to provide Elajo not only with a set of IT products but also with the solution it truly needs, Konica Minolta delivers a complete array of managed services. Konica Minolta’s experts proactively manage the company’s entire network: this covers hardware and IT management, including PCs, servers and the whole printing infrastructure, as well as software components such as security firewalls and conventional day-to-day office software. The services include real-time monitoring and patching of the network and infrastructure as well as the continuous deployment of new software and hardware, ensuring the maximum level of security to protect each office location. For Elajo, this procedure has the enormous advantage that the company has one single point of contact for all topics concerning their network, as Konica Minolta is responsible for all issues concerning the IT network. With Konica Minolta harmonising the company’s IT set-up, new locations can now be easily integrated into the existing systems. The new locations receive an easy-to-implement rollout package of simple steps so they can be up and running in a fraction of the time a new set-up used to take.
As an organisation, Elajo is on its path to taking advantage of the potential of digitalised work processes. Konica Minolta harmonised the company’s office software with the implementation of Microsoft Office 365 across all locations and mobile devices. The project was planned and executed in very close collaboration between Konia Minolta’s experts and Elajo’s IT professionals, ensuring a perfect fit for the entire organisation. The implementation opens up a wide range of applications for mobile and remote work as well as communication; it is of exceptionally high value for employees who are constantly on the road or at construction sites. Access to new applications gives employees greater flexibility in how they work and how they interact with their peers, while simplifying the whole maintenance and update process of the system. “Konica Minolta knows our business very well. Their solutions enable us to work remotely, for example, which significantly increases our overall efficiency. We can therefore focus on our core tasks and have to travel less, which means huge financial and environmental benefits for us,” says Olle Westerling.
The projects with Elajo are a prime example of Konica Minolta’s complete focus on customer needs. As more of a solution provider than supplier of products, Konica Minolta makes sure to fully understand the business and the existing circumstances within the customer environment. Furthermore, Konica Minolta’s approach of remaining a universal service partner even after the implementation phase of the tailor-made systems defines the close relationships it has with its customers as well as the insights into their business processes and what they need in order to deliver the best possible solutions for their customers.
Our maxim is to be the most attractive business partner on the market for electrical, energy and technology solutions. Through our long-lasting relationship with Konica Minolta we know that they are the right vendor for our IT needs so that we can focus on our customers. We can be sure that for projects like infrastructure and IT support we don’t have to worry as Konica Minolta knows our business and delivers exactly what we need
CFO, Elajo Invest AB
The decision in favour of the long-term partner Konica Minolta for the update of their software and hardware as well as for the assignment of managed network services was just natural. The solutions ensure the new system provides the highest level of
security while enabling very efficient and simplified workflows.
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IT infrastructure was never in the centre of too much attention in DuoBad’s daily business. This changed, though, when the IT’s age and limitations started to become a constraint. Much of DuoBad’s IT infrastructure, software and support was reaching end-of-life. DuoBad was also seeking to modernise its IT in order keep up with its growing business.
Workplace Hub is now at the heart of DuoBad’s IT, integrating and maintaining all systems the company needs. Combined with Konica Minolta as a single point of contact, the company now has an enterprise quality ‘Intelligent Connected Workplace’ at its disposal, while being able to focus its investment in staff and skills needed for the core of their business.
As a small business, DuoBad focusses all of its resources on delivering exceptional products and customer service. This means, however, that its IT infrastructure was never in the centre of too much attention in the company’s daily business. This changed, though, when the IT’s age and limitations started to become a constraint. Much of DuoBad’s IT infrastructure and software was reaching end-of-life: support for the existing systems was running out. DuoBad was also seeking to modernise its IT in order keep up with its growing business. Further, it should provide its employees with a modern working environment – a truly digital workplace with easy and secure access to information from wherever and whenever they needed it. The customer’s Microsoft Office solution was running towards its end-of-life as well and did not reflect those new needs anymore. For its e-mails, DuoBad was using one by its internet service provider and looking for a solution to integrate a mail server into its systems. At the same time, the company was searching for a solution that was easy to manage and able ensure protection against data loss with an automated, reliable backup solution in place.
With regard to connectivity, DuoBad struggled with an additional challenge small and medium-sized business outside larger metropolitan areas face in particular: “Our location initially didn’t have a local fibre connection. We therefore were very reliant on having a local IT infrastructure in place,” explains DuoBad CTO Rikard Karlsson. Poor connectivity could otherwise translate to interrupted, unreliable workflows, if significant amounts of data would have to be quickly accessed from clouds systems, for example. “We were relying on a local HP server, running with Microsoft Windows Server. Both hardware and software were approaching end of life, however”, says Karlsson.
With only one team member dedicated to maintaining the IT of the business, having one partner taking over responsibility for the IT and providing a fully functional, holistic solution was key for DuoBad. “We are a small, specialised company and appreciate a strong IT partner with a local service team and shared values,” says DuoBad CEO, Niklas Hult. Having a single point of contact was also important to the company as they wanted responsibilities to be bundled in one place.
The company was an existing customer of Konica Minolta, working with bizhub MFP devices for over 14 years. It was a positive relationship that had endured through much of the company’s history. During this time a strong foundation of trust and mutual respect had grown. “We have an Account Manager at Konica Minolta that we know and trust. He knows us, too, and understands our business very well”, says Niklas Hult, who also appreciated that Konica Minolta shares his company’s deep commitment to sustainability. “Konica Minolta has done a great job during time we have cooperated in the past. It is important to have this local knowledge on hand when we need to address our technical challenges.” So, when it came to finding the right partner for the implementation of the new IT solution, DuoBad relied on its existing partner Konica Minolta.
“From a day to day perspective, the technician I work with has a lot of knowledge and I have a lot of trust in him,” explains CTO Rikard Karlsson. “As he’s part of Konica Minolta, I also know that my contact can draw on this wider pool of skills and experience whenever needed and will always get back to me quickly with solutions.”
Konica Minolta was able to provide exactly what DuoBad was searching for: The IT services expert proposed Workplace Hub Advanced as a modern and future-proof all-in-one digital workplace solution that would be an ideal fit for DuoBad’s needs. By integrating the previously separate server, software, and MFP, this Workplace Hub implementation provides DuoBad with a digital workplace solution – from a single trusted supplier, just as DuoBad was aiming for. “If we encounter a challenge or have a question, I instantly know who to call,” Karlsson points out.
Following further consultation with Konica Minolta, DuoBad agreed to proceed with the implementation at the end of 2019. The solution runs a Windows Server 2019 installation to fulfil File/Print/AD server roles. In terms of security and resilience, the solution also includes Konica Minolta Remote Care Antivirus and the Acronis Backup Service. The project started at beginning of 2020 and moved into its final phase within three months.
As DuoBad faced the challenge of not yet having a fibre connection, the hybrid nature of Workplace Hub helped to address this challenge: With a hybrid solution, data that needs to be quickly and reliably accessed locally is stored on-site. At the same time, a connection to the cloud makes external access to information possible, for example from a vendor’s or supplier’s office. This is a quite common scenario for many businesses that do not have broadband connectivity. DuoBad’s situation exemplifies how many SMEs can use a hybrid solution – not forcing them to choose either an on-site or a cloud solution. In DuoBad’s case, the mission critical GARP business system, which incorporates ERP, CRM and ECM functions, remains on premise. The same goes for the company’s file and print functions.
As a company we have a dedication to only choosing the best vendors, otherwise how can we provide our customers with the best? So when it came to upgrading our IT, quality was of the upmost importance to us. Konica Minolta’s Workplace Hub was the perfect solution for our needs: a simplified but robust architecture that will continue to evolve with us.
CEO, DuoBad AB, Sweden
A refresh of the company’s outdated mail system as well as Microsoft Office solution is delivered as a second phase of the project. The cloud-based Office 365 Business Premium solution that is rolled out once the fibre connection has been installed at the company premises, providing DuoBad’s team with the modern work tools the team needs in its daily work. It further runs the company’s mail servers, integrating them seamlessly with the other applications in place and replacing the mailboxes at the internet service provider. The migration to Office 365 will also give DuoBad’s employees access to improved remote working and collaborative possibilities. “Mobile access is certainly vital, as it is important to be able to work offsite and still use our main systems remotely,” explained Niklas Hult. This capability could also prove transformational. DuoBad is keen to explore new ways of working made possible by modern collaboration solutions such as Microsoft Teams.
Recognising the possibilities offered by Workplace Hub, DuoBad expanded the initial scope of the project to also include a remote desktop solution to empower system administrators and to facilitate offsite working. With the installation of fibre, the company is also able implement the Arconis Backup Service: a cloud-based disaster recovery solution – and a very important step for DuoBad. “Thankfully, we did not suffer a catastrophic data loss in our company’s history, yet. However, our design files, our customer, logistics, supplier and stock – all this data is absolutely business critical for us, and we simply cannot afford to lose it in case of a fire, for example,” explains Karlsson. With the disaster recovery system in place, an automated process will generate a regular backup of this critical information, making quickly accessible, if the original data is lost.
Further, thanks to Konica Minolta’s 24-hour managed IT services, the company now has a dependable solution at its disposal, ensuring smooth operations around the clock. With only one team member responsible for IT at DuoBad, this provides considerable peace of mind and greatly increases the company’s resilience. Similarly, the ability to pay for leading edge services on demand via Workplace Hub allows DuoBad to access Sophos XG Firewall as part of a monthly subscription. This world-class solution has stepped up the company’s security, minimising risks as the company’s sales force connect remotely via VPN. Threats and hidden risks can quickly be identified and neutralised, infected systems are automatically and instantaneously isolated.
Workplace Hub is now at the heart of DuoBad’s IT, integrating and maintaining all systems the company needs. Combined with Konica Minolta as a single point of contact, the company is now has an enterprise quality ‘Intelligent Connected Workplace’ at its disposal, while being able to focus its investment in staff and skills needed for the core of their business. “We are very excited to further explore the full potential of Workplace Hub,” concludes Niklas Hult.
Varri imports and distributes climbing and outdoor equipment, with customers in the sports industry, rescue industry and building industry. The company has a wealth of expertise in climbing and fall protection equipment but its original three employees had to depend on a more restricted source of IT knowledge when the company was founded in 2008. “A friend helped me to set up our own server and I was responsible for operating and maintaining it. It was housed in a toilet and a cupboard at various points”, explains founder and owner Marius Olsen. This solution worked fine for many years. The company’s data backup routine consisted of taking a copy home on an external hard drive at somewhat irregular intervals. However, the setup was not without its challenges, particularly as Olsen alone was responsible for all IT operations. “I remember one day when I had finally taken some time off to do a bit of climbing but I had to go back into work to fix the server because it had stopped working. That time the power supply was the problem; another time it was the CMOS battery.” Olsen explains that a new start-up company can probably get away with more than an established organisation. However, as the company grew and employed more people, supplied more products and worked with more suppliers and customers, there came a point when finding more professional IT solutions became necessary.
“We had to choose between building on our existing setup, investing in better equipment and perhaps employing an IT consultant to operate it, or we could outsource the work to professionals who could guarantee stability and security. We chose a cloud solution from Konica Minolta called HydraCloud. We’ve now been working with it for seven years”, says Olsen.
The HydraCloud solution allows the company’s order systems, accounting systems and everything else to run on servers located in Konica Minolta’s ISO certified data centres in Norway. Varri employees log into these systems via a remote desktop. Varri no longer operates its own servers, and the only IT equipment left in the cupboard is a firewall and network switches provided by Konica Minolta as part of the cloud agreement.
Olsen is especially pleased that this setup has freed up a lot of his time to focus on the core business instead of on technical IT solutions. “I now have more time to focus on our suppliers, customers and markets, and I sleep well at night knowing that all of our IT equipment works properly at all times,” says Olsen.
“A friend helped me to set up our own server and I was responsible for operating and maintaining it. When our company grew, we had to choose between building on our existing setup, investing in better equipment and perhaps employing an IT consultant to operate it, or we could outsource the work to professionals who could guarantee stability and security. We chose a cloud solution from Konica Minolta called HydraCloud. I now have more time to focus on our suppliers, customers and markets, and I sleep well at night knowing that all of our IT equipment works properly at all times.”
Founder and owner, Varri, Norway
Varri has actually experienced first hand how important it is to have a secure setup: It is one of a very large number of companies to be attacked by ransomware in recent years. One Monday morning, the employees discovered that the systems had been hacked. All systems had been locked down and encrypted, and on the printer there was a ransom note from the hackers demanding a hefty amount for unlocking everything again.
“The incident was not too much of a problem for us because a data backup every night is part of the service from Konica Minolta. We were able to roll back to a backup from just a few hours earlier so we were up and running again as normal in just a few hours”, says Olsen.
The incident was a good reminder of how vulnerable Varri was when it was running its own server in a cupboard with an old backup lying around at home on an external hard drive.
“I hardly dare to think about what would have happened if the ransomware attack had happened before we moved to the cloud solution. The backup could have been two weeks old”, he says.
The Norwegian company Varri imports and distributes climbing and outdoor equipment and has customers in the sports industry, rescue industry and building industry. The company, which was founded in 2008, has wealth of expertise in climbing and fall protection equipment, but restricted in IT. When the company was founded, a fried of company owner Marius Olsen helped him setting up the server, which was housed in a toilet and a cupboard at various points, and Olsen was subsequently responsible for its operation and maintenance.
Wilkri-Etiketten G. Hoss KG is a medium-sized company that produces a wide range of labels for products from various industries, from personalised and multilayered designs to sealing labels and label rolls and many more. The 75 employees at the company’s site in Reutlingen, Germany, use a customised IT infrastructure as well as Smart Managed Services from Konica Minolta.
Even a sudden Trojan malware attack did not cause any outages at the company, and the issue was fixed within a few hours. Although the direct point of contact on the customer side was not available at the time of the attack, the seamless mechanisms of Smart Managed Services from Konica Minolta ensured that the attack could be repelled immediately.
Shortly after 2 pm on a normal working day in September 2019, experts from Smart Managed Services at Konica Minolta noticed a large ticket volume at label manufacturer Wilkri, based in Reutlingen. At 2:44 pm, the team received the message «Services not running». Three minutes later, tickets began to be processed at the first level, which includes checking the services and summarising the tickets. At 3:28 pm, the incident was confirmed to be a Trojan malware attack.
Although the virus protection software in use at Wilkri had already intervened, it could not undertake a complete clean-up of the IT system. The Trojan malware continued to attempt to download malicious files. But Konica Minolta experts had now identified the malware more specifically, allowing it to be removed from the system manually.
“Although I was in a customer meeting at the time of the attack and therefore not reachable, Konica Minolta managed to completely resolve the attack on the same day it happened so that no damage was caused to our system” says Stefan Nedele, Sales Manager at Wilkri and direct point of contact for Konica Minolta at the company. “When I returned to our headquarters the next day, everything was running as usual. If I hadn’t been informed about the incident in the meantime, I wouldn’t have noticed anything had happened.”
At 7:44 pm, the entire infrastructure – comprising 17 virtual servers, three Hyper-V hosts and around 30 PC workstations – was successfully cleaned up and completely under control. As part of this process, the relevant files had to be manually deleted from affected environments. Konica Minolta completed this task using remote maintenance. The Trojan malware infected a third of the PCs and various servers in a very short space of time.
“Trojan malware attacks are not uncommon and usually affect larger companies – although small- and medium-sized companies are not immune to them. Anti-virus software alone is not enough to prevent attacks or find and close all security gaps – comprehensive monitoring is actually required to detect suspicious network behaviour,” says Rosaline Braun, Account Manager IT-Infrastructure at Konica Minolta and main point of contact for Wilkri.
As the Trojan malware was identified and dealt with very quickly, there were no disruptions to daily business. Cleaning up the system so rapidly meant that data theft and days of downtime for the entire company could be avoided – these have often been the results of other Trojan malware attacks at companies and organisations that took longer to detect the problem. Such attacks often require backups and time-consuming system reinstallations.
“In order to avoid such outages and focus on our core business rather than IT, we decided several years ago to outsource the control and support for our IT landscape to Konica Minolta,” says Nedele, who particularly appreciates the reliability of Konica Minolta: “We consider Konica Minolta to be our partner that always resolves issues quickly and does not leave us out in the cold as a customer.”
Smart Managed Services monitor the Wilkri IT landscape 24/7 and provide real-time alerts and quick error detection – a system that has been proven to be valuable during this Trojan malware attack. Proactive monitoring and preventive IT maintenance ensure that this service is effective, and performance data can also be used to find and eliminate bottlenecks. Customers pick the dedicated services to suit their requirements and only pay for what they actually use.
Smart Managed Services is tailored to the needs and requirements of the customer. This also includes notification rules, including the ability to define representatives, as is the case at Wilkri.
If a problem occurs, measures can be taken quickly to eliminate faults and prevent system outages that could affect the entire process chain. One cause of this can be, as Wilkri discovered, an employee accidentally downloading the wrong file.
“We were impressed by the way that our IT systems were immediately analysed and cleaned up after the Trojan malware attack, proving how reliable and effective Smart Managed Services from Konica Minolta is. Thanks to the great dedication of the Konica Minolta employees, Wilkri did not suffer any damage or outages.”
Sales Manager, Wilkri Etiketten KG, Germany