One of the most pressing concerns for any expanding smaller business or a stable mid-sized firm is providing a relatively trouble- free, easy to operate network support system to cater for an ever-expanding workforce. Harlow-based server specialist Bigred offers a straightforward solution in the form of its bigredbox package, an easy to operate all-in-one solution tailored to the needs of this type of business. "Today Bigred and the bigredbox offers the channel and end users a simple, easy, reliable, fixed cost server solution," says Bigred's Neil Barnett.
Established back in 2003, Bigred Solutions came up with its unique solutions package whilst grappling with the group's own systems. "The first-hand knowledge of the UK SME was pivotal in designing the bigredbox," he continues. "In fact it was working as the IT support and developer for our own group that led to the initial idea. This early experience led the development down a well known route, to a market that the industry accepts is in need of new solutions. Any company with less than 250 users in the UK is defined as either a small or mid-sized business."
One major evolutionary moment was the change from research and development to manufacturing. After many years of development, testing and refining, the bigredbox was marketed directly to end users, providing the solution and the technology. The bigredbox offers these businesses exactly what they are looking for. All of the service from a server without the headaches. This no-nonsense approach has won us contacts, channel partners and end users."
The bigredbox is at the core of the company's offerings; an easy to use, dependable unit for a variety of customers that can include anything from tiny home-based operations up to those with a need to provide a network for up to a few hundred PCs. With the bigredbox 500 for example, customers are provided with a compact plug and play server solution for offices with up to 75 users.
A quick 15 minute installation and the bigredbox enables workstations to manage users and groups through the web wizard, communicate via email and access collaborative and share files and folders. Compatible with Microsoft Windows, Mac and Linux and requiring no licences, the system aims to cut right down on the usual problems that accompany server management. It also features a flexible system that means boxes can be replaced extremely quickly and with no prolonged delay following any hardware problems that may occur. "The advantage of the bigredbox varies depending on who you ask," says Barnett.
"Many partners see the ease of use as the big win for them, with the fixed cost as a win for their end users. Others see the service and support as the most competitive advantage, usually due to the fact that they have been let down by larger vendors in the past." Offering a comprehensive service package with extensive support to the customer has meant that the company has earned a reputation for providing a straightforward answer to the needs of businesses who rapidly need to look after the IT requirements of the increasingly busy workplace.
"Customer support and satisfaction is assured through our channel partner program," Barnett continues. "Each level offers the channel partner a different relationship, managed to offer the best level of service for both the partner and end user." The Bigred solution has been designed to ensure that customers can rely on the technical support supplied from the Bigred team, whilst easily maintaining the systems themselves. The company offers warranty support, which covers both hardware, software and any future upgrades, whilst online support is available direct from Bigred in the form of FAQs, Knowledge Base and a technical forum.
"Our Solution Warranty partners are highly trained and offer end users a level of service and support matching that of our own engineers. These Solution Warranty partners are active in the development of the services the bigredbox provides, after all they are the ones working day in, day out with our end users. Custom solutions built around the bigredbox are offered through our partner program. Remote assistance from partners and bigred engineers, offsite backup and co-location all assist Bigred partners in winning contracts and keeping end users happy."
Its reliable blend of easy-to-use hardware and a thorough technical support network has seen increasing numbers flock to the Bigred banner, with the brand growing at a quick rate. "Overall the cost, service and support all make the bigredbox a unique offering," continues Barnett. "Our Solution Warranty and the Solution Warranty partners extend our high level of service to end users. This and other elements in the partner program offer the channel more, making their proposition even more competitive."
In an area where many businesses constantly find themselves hitting a brick wall with server problems and IT issues, Bigred's commitment to its customers and track record in delivering the sort of service that is not only desired but absolutely crucial to the 21st century business has seen its stock go from strength to strength.
The last year has seen the company move at a frenetic pace as its bigredbox technology caught the attention of a market in need of straightforward, manageable solutions with minimum fuss and maximum productivity. Success and widespread interest at launch certainly led to a happy New Year for the company. "2007 was a good year, with lots of hard work, learning and growth," says Barnett.
"Moving from direct to channel sales took time; three months were spent on the channel proposition alone. Consultants with backgrounds from 3Com, Allied Telesyn and D-Link all contributed to the channel program. The launch at the Channel Expo was overall a success. The two-day event introduced the bigredbox to the channel, with numbers visiting the stand higher than most. Many interested partners (including a Microsoft representative) spent quite some time on the stand, with demonstrations causing some of the visitors to spend over 30 minutes with us."
The final part of the year saw Bigred push its distinctive product into the channel, with a vigorous marketing campaign, and saw the company come to the attention of the wider market. "The end of 2007 was an intensive period of marketing and branding for the bigredbox, the channel and the end user message," says Barnett. "The icing on the cake was to be nominated and then a finalist for the PC Retail Awards '08."
With a new year comes new challenges, especially now that Bigred has begun plotting the push towards a huge awareness campaign.
"The start of 2008 has been full of long days, channel and staff recruitment, and not to mention planning. The PC Retail Awards 08, although a welcome surprise, was not part of our initial marketing plan but has since added to the growing message that the bigredbox is a winner with the channel," concludes Barnett. "Expanding the channel, partnering with marketing and PR agencies and introducing new technologies have all kept Bigred and the bigredbox an interesting topic of conversation. End user marketing is a hot topic for us here at bigred. As a proud sponsor of the Super League in 2008, upwards of three million viewers will see the message and branding of the bigredbox each Friday and Saturday with other campaigns rolling out soon."
There's no doubt that this year will see some exciting times for Bigred Solutions with their innovative approach to solving the needs of the small to medium sized business. A significant marketing push alongside a product that is proving network solutions need not be hard work, has built Bigred an army of fans that looks set to keep growing.