By relying on cloud computing, Calysto has assembled a more experienced, productive, cost-effective and responsive PR and social media team – and made its operations much greener.
ATLANTA (June 21, 2011) – Calysto Communications, a global public relations and social media marketing firm focused on the communications industry, this month celebrates its fifth year of doing business in the cloud.
Cloud computing is “a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction,” according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Put simply, cloud-based companies access the systems they need to conduct business securely via the Internet. This means they can do business from anywhere. Thus the cloud allows them to hire the best talent – independent of location.
When Calysto was founded in 1999, the public relations and marketing agency operated using a traditional “pyramid-based” business model. Under this model, senior-level associates manage mid-level and junior associates, and all employees are located in one central office. This model is used by many large public relations agencies because it is highly profitable but often results in clients of large agencies experiencing what is called a “bait and switch” – where a senior-level associate manages their account but relies on its lower-level associates to actually do the work.
In Calysto’s case, it had built its reputation on hiring mid-level associates that had experience in the communications industry. But as Calysto continued to grow, the Atlanta-based public relations and marketing agency found that it was more and more difficult to find PR professionals in Atlanta that had the kind of communications industry experience needed to deliver the superior level of service that clients had come to expect from Calysto.
So in 2006, Calysto’s founder, Laura Borgstede, decided to remove the “location challenge” by moving its operations to the cloud, and Borgstede started interviewing hundreds of candidates across the country.
Today, she has assembled a team of VP-level executives located in more than 40 cities across the United States and more than 80 countries around the world. Calysto’s VP-level associates each have 10 to 25+ years of experience in PR, marketing and social media and at least eight years of experience in the communications industry. Many have managed PR campaigns for well-known names such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Motorola, Sprint, Verizon, Level 3, BroadSoft and more.
While building the “new” cloud-based agency from scratch, Borgstede created an entirely new networking infrastructure for the company using a “software as a service” (SaaS) model to make it easy for team members across the world to work together in real-time regardless of location. Today, these team members share a centralized, hosted server and cloud communications phone system that gives them unparalleled productivity and allows them to learn from each other and communicate in real-time – just as if they were located in one centralized office.
Using the cloud-based model, the Calysto team can securely share files as well as access Calysto’s custom-built proprietary PR Vibes™ Media Catalyst™ database of more than 14,000 communications industry influencers, its state-of-the-art time-tracking and financial system and more than 300 sample client communications documents online. Calysto’s clients also benefit from the Calysto team’s unique productivity tools, such as Calysto’s detailed billing software, which shows clients exactly how their PR dollars are spent.
The Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
But that’s just the beginning of the benefits that Calysto and its clients have experienced thanks to the agency’s cloud computing-based business model. With its team now located across the country, Calysto no longer pays rent on fancy Atlanta office space, which formerly made up more than 10 percent of its operating budget. This means that unlike companies that hire traditional public relations agencies – where $1,000 of every $10,000 they spend goes toward rent – Calysto clients rest easy knowing that their money is spent directly on achieving results for their company, not on fancy office space.
In addition, since moving to cloud computing, Calysto saves approximately $70,000 annually in computing, software and other equipment costs and more than $70,000 in soft costs thanks to the increased productivity of its team members. And it passes those savings onto clients.
The cloud-based model also allows Calysto to offer more flexibility and a greater number of services to clients. Because Calysto can easily add new team members without worrying about buying new furniture and new computers or setting up phone or data lines, Calysto can support what it calls “dynamic human resource allocation.” In effect, this means it can easily scale to meet clients’ needs – with virtually no ramp up time.
For instance, Calysto has assembled a deep “bench” of 20 or so specialists that are not necessarily dedicated to any one specific Calysto account but regularly lend their expertise to clients on an adjunct basis. These specialists – with expertise in specific areas ranging from social media and exit positioning to new product launches and crisis communications – have managed global, award-winning campaigns for companies such as Verizon Wireless, Siemens, Alcatel-Lucent, BellSouth and Motorola. They have launched completely new businesses for well-known names like Huawei, Vodafone UK and Time Warner. Others have served as editors at leading trade publications such as Connected Planet (formerly Telephony), FierceWireless, Intelligent Enterprise, Multichannel News, RCR Wireless, EETimes, Pipeline Magazine, Billing & OSS Today and Total Telecom.
These Calysto specialists have helped clients analyze the effectiveness of their overall social media campaigns. They have helped clients use PR to increase the valuation of their company and to attract the attention of potential buyers. And these specialists have been added to Calysto teams on an adjunct basis to help clients ramp up their public relations and social media communications during a crisis or to strategically increase their PR efforts surrounding major company events.
At Calysto, It is Easy Being Green
The move to the cloud has also enabled Calysto to be greener and reduce its carbon footprint by eliminating an estimated 275 miles in total employee commute time each day. It also allows Calysto team members to be more responsive to their clients – while still achieving work/life balance. Instead of being stuck at their desks between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm, Calysto team members carry smartphones that allow them to answer client questions instantly – and access critical documents from the cloud – no matter where they are.
“Calysto moved to the cloud in 2007 – before most people had even heard the term ‘cloud computing.’” said Laura Borgstede, Calysto’s CEO. “I made the move because I knew a cloud computing-based model would enable Calysto to offer the services traditionally offered by a large agency – and combine those with the industry expertise of a boutique agency. Plus the cloud model allows Calysto to staff our team with VPs – and only VPs – because we can invest in our people instead of paying for fancy office space.”
“We have won back several clients thanks to our cloud-based model, and clients that have experienced both business models tell us that they prefer the cloud model, hands down,” Borgstede adds.
About Calysto Communications
Founded in 1999, Calysto Communications (www.calysto.com) is a global public relations and social media marketing firm focused solely on the communications industry. Calysto’s specialties include broadband, broadcasting & cable, embedded systems, IP communications, OSS, mobile and telecom. Its unique cloud-computing based business model combines the services traditionally offered by a large agency with the industry expertise of a boutique agency. Calysto’s VP-level only management team uses award-winning strategies proven to help clients drive sales, create value for shareholders, move toward liquidity or raise overall awareness by directly reaching market influencers. Calysto keeps its finger on the pulse of the communications industry with its PR Vibes™ newsletter (www.prvibes.com) and updating its proprietary PR Vibes™ Media Catalyst database of more than 14,000 communications industry influencers.
Calysto Overview: www.calysto.com/about/
Management Overview: www.calysto.com/Management
Calysto Blog: www.prvibes.com
Press releases: www.calysto.com/pressreleases/
Laura Borgstede, CEO