Monday, October 7, 2013

JAC Photography: A Future View Zoomed In On Microsoft Technology

Creative use of Microsoft devices and services bring customer delight leading to efficiency, productivity and business growth

KUALA LUMPUR, 27 September 2013 – JAC Photography, which specializes in events and portraitures, was thinking about how they could wow their clients with enhanced event experiences when they decided on Microsoft’s family of devices and services to take them there. With several Windows 8 PCs, Surface RT devices, Skype, and Microsoft’s free cloud hosting service SkyDrive, they launched an initiative to improve their product offerings and give themselves a leading edge in an ultra-competitive industry. What resulted from it was more than just happier clients – as a bonus, they managed to derive a new source of revenue while also improving workflow efficiency.

Established in 2004, JAC Photography was faced with highly competitive industry landscape which saw many new businesses mushrooming as professional-level camera technology became more easily accessible to everyone. Wannabes and weekend hobbyists began charging for their services, even as potential clients started turning to their friends with “expensive cameras” to do them favors. “The advances in camera technology have given rise to a new generation of photographers who can more readily monetize their work. Today, many pick up a DSLR camera and start envisioning their own photography studio – which, of course, provides a challenge for traditional studios such as us. We needed to come up with a new and unique service proposition for customers that sets us apart from the competitors out there. What would benefit our customers, improve efficiency, and if possible, make us cool too? We found the perfect answer in Microsoft,” said Christopher Choong, co-founder of JAC Photography.
Being a tech-savvy group of entrepreneurs, JAC Photography saw the value in leveraging technology to elevate its current operations in a way that placed the customer at the very center of focus. Chris explained, “At JAC Photography, customers always come first. We believe that quality service guarantees a satisfied customer. One of the discussions we had was how to capitalize the technology available today to bring more value to our customers - with technology, we can achieve that. In streamlining and simplifying our workflow, we can pass on the savings to customers.”

How it all clicks together: doing more, with less – while still staying cool
With all that in mind, JAC Photography turned to a mix of Windows 8 laptops, Surface RT tablets, Skype, and SkyDrive to help make events more enjoyable while bringing even more value to their customers.

“It took us awhile to come up with the idea and to devise a configuration that enables it, but going with Microsoft has made it a worthwhile investment. For example, at a typical wedding banquet, our photographer will shoot photos of attendees at registration during the pre-dinner reception. With Wi-Fi connectivity, these photos are transferred to a Windows 8 laptop for quick editing and enhancement, and subsequently uploaded to SkyDrive. Then, a Surface RT will pull those photos and add in social media tagging and be featured on the company’s Facebook page. The same photos will be simultaneously projected as a slideshow in the ballroom. This provides our customers and the attendees at the wedding dinner an almost ‘live on the red carpet’ feel. So far, we have had tremendous/overwhelming positive response to this new concept! In fact, providing this feature as a service has opened up additional revenue streams for us,” Chris enthused. 

Another typical customer issue that Chris has started solving involved the option to purchase soft copies of photos. In most situations, customers would want the soft copy of the photos for safekeeping. However, photography studios are usually opposed to providing the soft copy option as it is perceived as giving away potential repeat business. Typically, most studios would take a few photos selected by the customer to be bound into a portfolio, which the studio then prints and delivers the hard copies. If requested, customers can purchase the soft copy of the photos in a CD – incurring additional charges in the CD and printing of the packaging, as well as mailing costs if the customer is out of town. On top of that, a lot more time is in the communication with the customer throughout – all just to complete one transaction.

JAC Photography however takes on a different view – one that has the customer fully in mind. Chris explained, “What can we change to bring more value to our customers? For one, what we do differently now with Microsoft technology is giving the customers access to all their photos via SkyDrive – for free. The customer has the choice of viewing all the photos at their leisure and come back to us to print the photos if they want to, and more often than not they do because of this flexibility and the ‘customer comes first’ service that we provide.” 

Elaborating further, Chris said, “We also decided to also incorporate voice and video calls via Microsoft’s Skype as an easier and quicker way to communicate with our customers! It’s certainly far more engaging and intimate to be able to communicate ‘face-to-face’, albeit virtually, with our customers – while also being able to see their reactions when they view their photos with us too! Of course, this certainly adds to the ‘cool’ factor – which is fast becoming a hallmark experience with JAC Photography! It is all about putting customers first.”

A view of the future
Apart from satisfied customers and a growing reputation, a simplified workflow also means increased efficiency for the business. JAC Photography has seen as much as a 15% increase in efficiency that has led to higher productivity and a better return on investment. With less manual work needed to complete each transaction, JAC Photography is getting more done, with less. As a result, customer satisfaction is on the up and this has given the photography studio the motivation to take the next step in fusing technology into their business operations. Chris said, “We are very happy with the results thus far, but I believe we can extend this advantage that we have over our competitors further. We are currently looking into the possibility of upgrading our Windows 8 laptops to Surface Pro tablets for photo editing and uploading, and also additional Surface RT units and Windows Phone smartphones for social media tagging. What makes this all possible – and easy – is the one experience across all devices that we use. The seamless transition in getting tasks done comes without the jarring experience when you change platforms. We are looking forward to this next phase in our growth with Microsoft.”

Azizah Ali, Director for Small and Medium Solutions and Partners (“SMS&P”), Microsoft Malaysia, commended JAC Photography’s for the innovative way they were using technology to transform their businesses. She said, “At Microsoft, we are delighted to see how much further people like Chris and his team take our technology. With a keen eye for the future, they have taken the devices and services we have introduced and configured it into a winning formula – to wow their customers while becoming more productive and profitable. That’s the essence of what we stand for – to work with businesses in a way where they can leverage our technology to help them concentrate on what they do best: succeed and grow their business. It’s truly the essence of what we believe in: to transform Malaysian businesses together.”

SMEs can find out more about how to upgrade to modern IT systems by visiting the Windows Upgrade Centre website.

Additional details on Surface are available at, the Surface Blog and Surface on Facebook.

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