When a global PR agency with a video focus goes looking for a remote collaboration and storage solution in the midst of a pandemic, they need a technical partner that thinks outside the box...
Team Lewis is a global public relations agency with an international team working across 24 offices in locations like Boston, Beijing, Barcelona and Brussels to deliver media-rich brand experiences that go beyond the written word. Their 400+ employees take care of everything from media relations to digital content creation and influencer marketing for blue-chip clients including McAfee, Adobe, Hisense, Skechers, Deliveroo and Siemens.
In early 2020, Team Lewis’ transition from traditional text-based PR to a media-rich approach to content creation was well underway. True, their workflows were slow - hampered as they were by a reliance on an internal network that limited collaboration and only allowed single-user access to creative applications at any given time. And sometimes the inherently large file sizes of high-resolution video meant that the only way to share content with their clients was to physically ship drives back and forth between them… but they made it work. Until the pandemic struck.
Like so many companies in the media industry, for Team Lewis, Covid merely accelerated an inevitable move to cloud-based workflows. “We’re a 365 house but the Microsoft services just weren’t up to speed with what we were trying to do globally,” explains Kelly Redding, IT director at Team Lewis. “It’s fine if you’re in one building because you can buy equipment to make that work, you can make workflows work really fast, but you can’t do that when you’ve got 20+ offices globally all trying to work on the same thing and process media through to a final state. Covid pushed us into a direction that we were inevitably moving towards – one that is more digital and more reliant on software as a service.”
With Team Lewis’ creatives now working remotely, processes that were previously just cumbersome quickly became unsustainable, as Redding recalls, “There was no real flow of data. If someone needed to connect from home, they’d have to connect by VPN and get data that way. It was very slow, especially when dealing with video. In fact, with the amount of video data we were working with, it was not manageable.”
Team Lewis reached out to Jigsaw24 client director, Vince Pittman, in search of a solution. “I have worked with Team Lewis for over 12 years and have known Kelly even longer,” says Pittman. “When he told me that they were looking for a platform or cloud service that could facilitate their creative team’s collaboration on video projects, I knew right away that LucidLink was the right solution.”
Despite LucidLink being a relative newcomer to the sector, Team Lewis agreed to plug it in and give it a test on the strength of Jigsaw24 Media’s recommendation – and they’ve never looked back.
“I don’t think I’ve ever implemented a product that has been so well received within our company. That’s very rare because creatives like to do their own thing, but this has been accepted straight through the group. From my perspective it’s been a win from day one.”
LucidLink could be described as a real-time version of Dropbox. Like Dropbox, it provides a single source of truth – centralised storage that allows teams to access a common set of files from anywhere with an internet connection. Unlike other file hosting services, however, LucidLink makes even the largest video files instantly available while they’re uploading to the cloud. Instead of storing media as single ‘chunks’, the software breaks each file into multiple objects which are uploaded individually - so users don’t have to wait for the full file to be available before they can start playing back and working with their media. As Redding describes it, “It’s like picking up one of our NAS devices and putting it into the cloud.”
With Jigsaw24’s support, Team Lewis had LucidLink set up across the organisation in just a few weeks. While the agency continues to use Microsoft 365 and Sharepoint for sharing office documents and administrative files, since installing LucidLink in 2021 they no longer use network attached storage for their creative workflows.
Instead, they rely on the Wasabi cloud via LucidLink to enable collaboration across applications including Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and Maxon 3D animation tools. In addition to facilitating creativity and quicker turnaround times, Redding notes that the agency is now able to recruit talent from anywhere in the world and offer teams the flexibility work remotely without the need for high-speed internet connections, saying, “I don’t think I’ve ever implemented a product that has been so well received within our company. That’s very rare because creatives like to do their own thing, but this has been accepted straight through the group. From my perspective it’s been a win from day one.”
“LucidLink solves so many problems experienced when you use a VPN, Dropbox or cloud storage gateways. It delivers bandwidth, security, scalability – my biggest challenge is convincing people it’s not too good to be true."
Because the entire solution is provided by Jigsaw24 as a managed service, there’s no additional workload involved for Team Lewis’ IT department. The Jigsaw24 team provides all the licensing and cloud storage so all that Redding has to worry about is setting up new users. He explains, “It works well because it takes the onus off me. We’re only a team of 11 people with 700 users globally, so that’s how I like to set up most new products - with a middleman that does most of the work.”
For Team Lewis, security was a critical consideration when testing LucidLink’s capabilities. In fact, Redding admits that as a "born and bred IT man" security is always his number one priority when assessing a new product, and that it even trumps user experience. Any concerns were quickly addressed once their active directory was tied into SSO, and Redding describes the solution as "an enabling platform that actually took a big weight off my shoulders."
“LucidLink solves so many problems experienced when you use a VPN, Dropbox or cloud storage gateways. It delivers bandwidth, security, scalability – my biggest challenge is convincing people it’s not too good to be true,” enthuses Pittman. In this case, thanks to a longstanding relationship built on trust and a deep understanding of their requirements, he didn’t have to work quite so hard to convince Team Lewis that LucidLink was the ideal solution.
“Being in IT you’re responsible for going through the whole process, finding a product, making sure it’s the right fit, doing due diligence, but there really wasn’t anything out there that we could find,” confirms Redding. “Our team has 130 years of combined experience in IT, but all of this stemmed from an off-the-cuff conversation with Vince at Jigsaw24.”
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