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									Microsoft Server Product Portfolio Customer Solution Case Study

Franchiser Uses Web Collaboration Solution, Increases Sales Order Value by 55 Per Cent

Customer: Prontaprint Web Site: www.prontaprint.com Country or Region: United Kingdom Industry: Media and entertainment— Publishing and printing Partner: Black Marble Customer Profile Prontaprint, a corporate design and printon-demand service provider, operates through a network of more than 175 franchised centres across the United Kingdom and Ireland and has an average annual turn over of £50 million. Software and Services  Microsoft Server Product Portfolio − Microsoft SQL Server 2005 − Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition  Microsoft Office − Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007  Technologies − Active Server Pages

“Office SharePoint Server 2007 has given us a flexible Web environment on which the company can build a strong and productive relationship with its customers.”
Keith Davidson, Marketing Director, Prontaprint

Design and print-on-demand service provider Prontaprint wanted to enhance service quality and standardise new brand positioning across its 175 franchised centres. It built a Web solution based on Microsoft® technologies to improve collaboration between the centres as well as with customers. As a result, it receives more than 350 Web sales enquiries a month from business customers, and the average value of print orders has risen by 55 per cent— from £350 to £550. Business Needs
Prontaprint is one of the leading companies in the United Kingdom (U.K.) print industry. A Business Superbrand, it provides design, print, display, direct mail, and document finishing services to customers such as Hush Puppies, British Airways, and Dixons. Established in 1971, the £50 million (U.S.$99 million) company operates a network of 175 franchised digital print centres across the U.K. and Ireland—many with an annual turnover of over £1 million. Prontaprint has traditionally been perceived as a design and print-on-demand service

provider for consumers as well as businesses. But it recently embarked on a £3 million project to reposition itself as a business-to-business service provider and attract more large and medium-sized businesses as customers. Two years of research led to establishing a new brand identity that aims to better communicate Prontaprint service offerings and differentiate it from other players in the print industry—generating higher brand appeal among business customers. A key success factor was the efficient adoption of the brand values by the franchisee network.

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Keith Davidson, Marketing Director at Prontaprint, says: “To help our design and print centres fulfil the brand promises to business customers, it was a must to enhance the quality of their services—achieving higher standards of functional excellence across all business disciplines” “Once we had launched the new brand positioning, we needed to standardise it across all the Web sites used by the local centres. And besides training franchisee staff to comfortably manage high-value business customers, we also needed a Web solution that allowed us to share business knowledge with them. At the same time, it had to help them communicate easily among themselves as well as with their customers.”

weather feeds and interactive maps showing centre location. The extranet also automatically transfers sales leads and queries from prospective customers to the marketing system, which then alerts the appropriate centre. The intranet site is a central location for franchisee staff to share business information. Online discussion boards help share advice on best practices and day-today operational issues—including suitable vendors for printing equipment. Prontaprint uses the intranet for knowledge transfer activities that help centres improve business practices, stay up-to-date with the printing industry, and take advantage of cost-saving deals on equipment and paper. The capability database designed by Black Marble captures each centre’s equipment profiles and information on stock such as paper and ink. Franchisees have a transparent view of each other’s printing capacity, and can quickly and easily share workloads when required. “It was a pleasure to work with Black Marble. It listened to our requirements, understood our needs, and ultimately delivered a solution that exceeded our expectations,” says Davidson. Launched in January 2008, the solution is hosted externally by Microsoft Gold Certified Partner e-know.net.

given us a flexible Web environment on which the company can build a strong and productive relationship with its customers and provide more support and business value to franchisees.”



On their customers’ and franchisees’ suggestions, Prontaprint decided to develop a solution based on Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007. Davidson says: “Corporate clients and small businesses using their own document management systems advised us to establish a collaboration environment based on Microsoft technology due to its scalability and seamless integration with other systems.” Microsoft Gold Certified Partner Black Marble delivered a comprehensive solution comprising an extranet site for customers and an intranet site for franchisees. The system runs on Windows Server® 2003 Enterprise Edition operating system and Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 Standard Edition data management software. The extranet replaces the existing disparate centre Web sites by providing links to local Prontaprint centre micro sites on the main Prontaprint Web site. Once registered, customers can send queries, place a printing order by uploading document artworks, and proof documents designed for them by Prontaprint. Web Parts based on Microsoft ASP.NET— which users can click-and-drag to modify Web page appearance—offer features such as





A structured approach to repositioning and an effective use of technology for collaboration and communication has transformed Prontaprint. What was once a high street print and copy shop is now a key player in the business-to-business design and print-on-demand sector. The intranet and extranet have helped it capitalise on the new brand positioning and attract highervalue business customers. It receives more than 350 Web sales enquiries a month and the average value of print-orders has increased from £350 to £550. Davidson says: “Office SharePoint Server 2007 has


Intranet and extranet achieve 100 per cent availability and are accessible by franchisees and customers anytime, anywhere. Prontaprint can now track the number of Web site visits and sales leads generated through the Web—which was not possible before. Earlier, the average value of print-orders placed with a centre was £350, whereas an average Web order’s value is estimated at £550. Prontaprint receives 350 sales enquiries a month through the extranet, and the numbers are growing at the rate of 30 per cent a month. Stronger collaboration among the franchisees through the intranet promotes discussions on business issues, helping them make informed decisions and identify new market opportunities. Centres can reduce operating costs by having access to timely information on issues such as paper cost reductions and discounts on equipment. Web Parts help the company add new sales promotion campaigns easily, and a post-implementation research conducted by Prontaprint shows that Web site user interface is now improved. The Prontaprint Web site was one of the five finalists in the Franchise Marketing Awards 2008, out of the 640 participating Web sites in the U.K.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published September 2008

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