The cloud at your service

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Managing thousands of part-time workers is no small feat at one of Singapore’s largest manpower agencies.

Since 2004, TCC Group has been supplying service staff – sometimes at short notice – to over 200 hotel and retail clients across the island.

To meet the staffing needs of its clients, TCC Group sends text messages to its service staff to check on their availability to take on new jobs, but the work doesn’t end there.

On the day of an event, say, a wedding banquet, a duty manager relies on paper attendance lists to make sure part-time employees sign in for work. “This process is time consuming,” says TCC Group’s head of marketing and communications, Bryant Guan, as each staff could take a couple of minutes to look for his/her name in the register.

To make matters worse, some dishonest employees were cheating and signing in for others by forging signatures. After an event, the attendance lists are manually entered into back office systems at TCC Group’s head office, another process that could take up to two hours.

To streamline operations and improve accountability, TCC Group built a job management system (JMS), which was moved from its in-house servers to ReadySpace’s Cloud Infrastructure late last year.

The cloud-based JMS includes a smartphone app that allows duty managers to record staff attendance by scanning their NFC-enabled badges, slashing the time it takes for employees to sign in from minutes to seconds. The data is uploaded to the cloud over a 3G mobile connection.

TCC Group has also built an app for tech-savvy employees to check and sign up for available jobs. Its hotel and retail clients can use the same app to check how quickly their staffing needs are being fulfilled.

Mr Guan reckons the app has reaped time and cost savings, since the company now makes fewer phone calls and sends fewer text messages to part-time workers to fill jobs.

As with all cloud-based systems, the computing resources that power the JMS and its mobile apps can be managed on the fly. This enables Mr Guan and his IT team of three to increase the number of processors to crunch data during peak periods, and scale back when fewer resources are needed to save cost.

This flexibility is valuable, especially since TCC Group plans to expand to other markets such as China, Taiwan and South Korea.

Mr Guan says: “The system is a good investment, as it will help us capture bigger markets and serve our stakeholders better, while improving productivity”.

With thousands of employee records and job information being processed by the JMS each month, it is important to ensure that TCC’s data does not fall into the wrong hands.

“All our data is encrypted,” Mr Guan says. “And you will not be able to use our apps unless you have a client or employee account and register your device’s hardware identification number with us”.

The spate of data breaches worldwide in the past year has also raised concerns over the security of cloud-based IT systems. To that, Mr Guan is assured that ReadySpace guards its customers’ systems against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

Empowering employees

TCC Group is a big proponent of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend that allows employees to use their personal devices for work. Using ReadySpace’s e-mail hosting service, TCC Group’s 130 full-time employees can access their emails anytime, anywhere on their own devices.

Employees can forward e-mails to their Gmail accounts or directly access e-mails using Outlook or any smartphone e-mail app, allowing them to respond to clients as soon as possible.

In addition, ReadySpace’s e-mail hosting service also lets TCC Group create sub-domains for its other business units at no extra cost. TCC Group’s previous e-mail hosting provider, a Singapore telco, required it to pay more to do so.

Mr Guan plans to take things forward by allowing employees to access their desktops remotely. “We are exploring virtual desktop solutions that will provide access to TCC Group’s internal payroll systems and accounting software, so that employees can work remotely and anywhere around the world.”

Speedy connectivity

Mr Guan also turned to ReadySpace’s Cloud Fibre service to provide speedy Internet access for customers and staff at The Ramen Stall, a Japanese restaurant under the TCC Group located downtown of Singapore.

The reason for switching to ReadySpace: the ageing ADSL connection at the restaurant was so patchy that the cashier could not reach TCC Group’s Point- of-Sale (POS) server.

“Our transactions could not be recorded on our POS server,” Mr Guan says. “We had to issue written receipts, and that gave us a bad image.”

Worse still, at the end of each day, the restaurant’s staff had to bring the receipts to the company’s headquarters for the transactions to be recorded in back office systems.

Today, staff and customers at The Ramen Stall enjoy fast, reliable Internet connectivity powered by ReadySpace Cloud Fibre, which provides access speeds of up to 1Gbps. Moreover, as the fibre service is optimised for the ReadySpace cloud, businesses can expect a level of performance that is akin to locating their servers in their office.

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