Improving is an IT services firm offering comprehensive training, consulting, and project services. Its innovative solutions and processes have helped hundreds of clients across the globe in finance, energy, travel, retail, government, and other industries realize their tactical and strategic business objectives. The company has over 1,400 employees in offices across Canada, the US, and Mexico.
In early 2020, with its lease coming up for renewal, the Calgary branch of Improving was considering a move to new offices. That all changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. “We moved all our work online, so I was questioning the need for space,” says Michael McCullough, President, Improving – Calgary. “It was pretty clear we weren’t going back to 2019. But I also felt like we couldn’t stay in 2020.”
Michael realized the workplace would have to accommodate new kinds of work preferences. “Number one, people don’t want to be told they have to go to the office. And number two, they don’t want to be told they can’t go into the office. People want to feel they have agency and are treated as professionals; that they know the best place to work effectively.”
He added: “Flexible work arrangements are also important to diversity as they make it easier for team members from all walks of life to accommodate things like medical needs, child rearing, and other family commitments.”
To empower employees with choices, Michael decided to do a new build-out of Improving – Calgary’s offices. A key part of that was upgrading the AV solution to better address work flexibility and meet three specific needs. Michael explains: “We have our own team that comes here to work, and of course we’ve moved into a hybrid work environment, so wanted to set things up to be hybrid all the time. In addition, we do public training sessions in our training spaces. The third category is community groups: we open our doors and share our space with professional groups, like Women in Data, so we wanted our space to support those kinds of meetups.”
Improving decided to install Kramer’s Quicklaunch meeting room software solution in its training rooms and boardroom. Although the system also has keyboard control, the touchscreen activation and control has proven the go-to choice for the Improving team. “Once people started understanding the intent and reason behind Quicklaunch, they quickly moved to approaching everything as an online meeting, even for all those in the same room, which really helps to simplify things.”
Improving handled the installation of Quicklaunch, with support from the Kramer team.
In addition, Improving installed Kramer 4K HD cameras in its two training rooms. “They’re very plug-and-play devices, the controls all make sense, and they work out-of-the-box, so that worked great,” recalls Michael. “They have proved particularly useful for training workshops, as well as for townhalls. The cameras have the ability to focus on different areas of the room, so the remote participants are able to follow the speaker.” Improving’s plan also calls for Kramer Control and switches, which will be added later, for enhanced AV management capabilities and to support additional applications, such as digital signage.
“Quicklaunch is a technology that enables a hybrid work environment, and that includes very quick and frictionless engagement with remote or in-person attendees sharing content,” Michael explains. “While sharing content may sound trivial, it’s a brand-new way of sharing, so it’s now a very fluid way of discussing and having a conversation together.”
The use cases have been wide, inspiring better communications and opening new business opportunities. “For example,” Michael continues, “we recently ran a Blockchain Developer Workshop. There were about 20 participants in-person and about the same number online; it was a phenomenal setup where everyone was able to communicate amongst each other and work through this workshop together.”
Plus, the new AV solution has helped boost sales: “The Kramer technology and integration have set us up to be able to sell into a hybrid environment, a fully online environment, or an in-person environment, all very easily,” says Michael.
“We also use Quicklaunch extensively for business development meetings, recruitment, and even internal sessions. We have team members here in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver so using Quicklaunch brings us all together. It feels like a smooth conversation amongst our team.”
Quicklaunch has been a game-changer – for the person running the meeting as much as the attendees. Michael says: “The ability to walk into the room and simply log-in and start a meeting with my phone is tremendously helpful. Now I don’t have to carry my laptop around. I can devote more attention to clients or team engagement, as opposed to what’s happening with my laptop, cords, and plugs. It makes meetings much more efficient and focused.”