Microsoft partner Enlighten Designs is taking note of where its top specialisations lie and how it can leverage those strengths to help its customers weather COVID-19 and emerge from the pandemic when things return to a kind of normal.
“Our first and foremost business priority is to support our clients through their response to COVID-19,” founder and CEO Damon Kelly told Reseller News. “The way we have been approaching this is to really consider where our specialisations can help.
“It is through thinking about what we are good at that we have been able to package up offerings and take them en masse out to our clients to support them through this challenging time,” he added.
A core method of supporting the company’s own innovation as it does this is through its continued transformation internally into a practice-based model.
According to Kelly, the company has found that, in addition to supporting high levels of specialisation, it enables its practices to have a strong focus on innovation investment and bringing new offerings and solutions to market.
At the same time, Enlighten Designs’ technology priorities over the next six to nine months will see the company take a customer experience (CX)/user experience (UX)-first approach before focusing on technology alone, as it works to continue delivering its services to a market in need as it works to navigate a landscape disrupted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Clients need quantifiable results and, no matter what technology they use, our data and analytics team provides the tools to understand their data and communicate these results using data storytelling and visualisation,” Kelly said.
Indeed, according to Kelly, investing in digital channels at present is paramount. As such, Enlighten Designs is focusing on digital experience platforms such as Sitecore to help clients get closer to their own customers and increase revenues through personalisation, lead scoring and customer relationship management (CRM) integration.
“Organisations always need to focus on lowering costs – now more than ever.” Kelly said. “We help organisations take advantage of the rise of citizen development and low code solutions via training programs in Microsoft Power Platform products such as Microsoft Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents.”
Moreover, Enlighten Designs is seeing a strong international draw for its skills in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), with the company set to continue focusing on leveraging various Microsoft Cognitive services such as machine learning, Azure Search and Video Indexer whilst developing reusable AI models for its clients.
Building on a pedigree
Kicking off roughly 21 years ago in a caravan out the back of Kelly’s family home, Enlighten Designs started out primarily as a web development agency. The company started winning awards early on and, over time, found that organisations increasingly came to the company for its software experience and knowledge of Microsoft technology.
The company has always built websites but, as it has become more important for organisations to digitally transform, Enlighten Designs moved from just building websites with content management systems into digital experience platforms like Sitecore, becoming a Gold Sitecore Partner in 2018.
“Our early move into data and AI solutions really kicked off our international expansion,” Kelly said. “We found we were not only punching above our weight but were doing world-first innovation with both Power BI and AI.
“We now have a large collection of the most downloaded Power BI custom visuals globally, some of which have been shown to Bill Gates. We have also developed the most viewed Power BI report in the world with Microsoft for covering the European elections with Politico,” he added.
Today, Enlighten Designs creates digital experiences for its client’s customers and employees across web, mobile apps, custom development, data, AI and digital workspaces. At the same time, its Digital Response team focuses on providing ongoing application support.
Not only does the company develop websites with a focus on user experiences, it also helps organisations to use their website as a platform to get closer to their customers through personalisation, lead scoring and CRM integration.
Enlighten Designs’ modern workplaces team focuses on Microsoft SharePoint, Power Apps, and Microsoft Teams. In July, the company was named 2020 Microsoft New Zealand partner of the year for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.
It should come as little surprise then, given Enlighten Designs heritage and area of expertise, that its overarching strategy has not really changed in the wake of the disruptions caused by measures aimed at minimising the spread of COVID-19.
Indeed, COVID-19 reinforced the company’s organisational strategy. However, the industries in the market that are buying the company’s services have changed, which has required a change in focus.
Raising a repeatable offering
For Kelly, having repeatable offers was always important for Enlighten Designs, but the pandemic has created the need to be able to get a COVID-specific offering out to its clients and to be able to scale them quickly.
“Power Platform had previously been a consistent topic with CIOs, however the need to reduce costs accelerated those conversations,” Kelly said. “The same can be said with clients and their digital channels, with accelerated need for both lower costs and increased revenue through a focus on ecommerce and digital experience.”
This approach comes as customers develop a strong focus on web development and digital marketing automation. At the same time, there has been a large rise in the use of AI chat bots to help support self-service and call centres, according to Kelly.
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