First Columbus is a specialist corporate finance boutique, regulated by the FSA, which offers a range of niche and differentiated corporate finance services. Established in 2006, the team provides high quality, straightforward advice to both UK and international companies on subjects including equity financing, IPO M&A and strategic advisory solutions across a variety of sectors.
Katrina Perez, Associate Director at First Columbus, has been with the team since inception, her primary focus being on the business operation and the day-to-day management of customers. One of her key challenges was to deliver a technology platform that would give the flexibility and reliability required for a worldwide organisation without the capital out lay of traditional IT. It needed to be available on-line for remote access.
To suit the team at First Columbus, Katrina decided to implement a tailored broadband solution using:
- Hosted Microsoft Exchange, which provides state of the art, secure, reliable and 24/7 enterprise level email accessible from anywhere in the world
- Hosted Microsoft SharePoint, which gives a secure, scalable portal for team and client collaboration. It is hosted on the internet so all team members, with relevant security, can work together on tasks, projects and documents in real time on a global basis
- Hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony system, which uses a broadband connection to a corporate level phone service that can be plugged in anywhere with the same telephone number and gives free “on-net‟ to other users on the same business network
- Hosted Backup, which ensures that versions of all files will be backed up and stored automatically when required in two EU-based secure data centres
- Hosted Microsoft CRM, which can underpin every aspect of customer relationship management in one simple system. It allows comprehensive reports to be compiled which give instant views of customer service and sales and allows businesses to tailor their approach to target audiences.
“We are an internationally focused organisation and need to be able to communicate with our clients regarding strategic and critical projects efficiently and knowledgeably”, said Katrina. “The solution we have built with Accelerator is tailored to us and is easy to administer – they act as our virtual IT manager and my one stop shop for hosted services. It means that we can concentrate on our core business, and more importantly, our clients and leave someone else to deal with any issues that may come up”.