Based in Norwich and with branch offices throughout East Anglia, Flagship Group has a portfolio of more than 22,500 quality homes for sale, rent and shared ownership, making it a leading provider of social housing. In a recent technology refresh, it turned to Sharp Business Systems to see how the latest equipment can improve communication, teamwork, efficiency and collaboration.
One glance at Flagship’s website makes its business philosophy abundantly clear – this is a company that’s fresh, modern and entirely focused on reaching out to its customers. This is a company which doesn’t let tech get in the way. It is a company which invests in technology to serve a higher purpose – to find ways in which its 800 employees do what they do best - but faster, more efficiently and always for the good of its customers.
Investing in technology
When designing its new HQ, Flagship took the opportunity to equip its meeting rooms with Sharp’s high resolution large format screens. As a result, anyone who wants to share information, even visitors, can simply plug in a USB memory stick and start displaying the content. No one has to struggle with aging projectors or old-fashioned flipcharts, and the screens also accept content (and video conference feeds) from over a network connection.
The elegance and ease of use of the screens appealed to Flagship’s IT Systems Development Manager, Sandra Smith, as much as the technical specifications. “When they are really busy and focused on a project, people can sometimes be reluctant to take the time to learn alternative technology,” she observed. That’s understandable. One of the reasons we chose Sharp is that there’s nothing to learn; you just plug in and present. And of course, every screen works exactly the same way.”
Fit for the future
Flagship also took the opportunity to invest in several BIG PAD interactive flat panel displays. The BIG PADS, which can be permanently installed as the centre piece of a large meeting room or mounted on mobile stands, represent the very latest conference room technology.
Bright enough to be used in full daylight, the 70” and 80” BIG PADs can display any content from a connected computer including photos, videos, PDFs and all Microsoft Office files. But that’s just the start. Up to four users can write and draw on the screen simultaneously and anything that is written or drawn can be converted into a neat, digital font. 10-point multi-touch technology makes user input via 2 mm touch pens or fingers extremely responsive and accurate.
During the session, anything on the screen can be saved at any time to a PC, or emailed to whoever needs it. When paired with a camera, the BIG PAD becomes an ideal platform for videoconferencing and BIG PADS can be linked together through the cloud, each with access to files securely stored in the cloud. What’s more, guests can link their laptops and tablets to the BIG PAD to share information on the spur of the moment, making every meeting truly interactive. These are just some of the most popular features.
“The BIG PADs really are an all-in-one solution and we use them all the time,” said Sandra. “Their large size and clarity are perfect for designing workflows and discussing complex information. They can do everything we need them to do and do it easily. In fact, they have features that we haven’t really begun to use yet but every time Sharp visits they show us how to make better and better use of them. I don’t know what the future holds but it will certainly include BIG PADs.”
The last part of the new technology equation was the selection of eleven Sharp multifunctional printers, including three ‘light production-class’ machines, controlled by a large colour touchscreen and capable of producing 62 pages per minute on a wide variety of stock up to 300 gsm. Toner for each of the eleven machines is supplied automatically, direct to the site.
“Sharp’s equipment looks sleek and it blends in with our corporate look and feel, which is a bonus,” said Sandra. “But the real attraction for me is that the technology is very easy to use and the support is exceptional. If there is an issue, or we have a question, Sharp always responds quickly and effectively. And that’s important.”
The ‘Flagship’ way
“We are keenly aware that what we do - and how we do it - affects people’s lives. That’s why we have our own ‘Flagship Way’ of doing things with a team culture and a specific way of working. Sharp’s technology never gets in the way of that and we never have to slow down or pause for thought. It just works.”