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MK Illumination specializes in custom, end-to-end lighting solutions for seasonal celebrations and themed attractions. The company manufactures commercial lighting products and offers a range of lighting design services, helping cities and retail spaces turn everyday spaces into extraordinary experiences. Headquartered in Innsbruck, Austria, the company is active across the world, crafting ideas and delivering projects through its subsidiaries in various countries.
In 2019, employees at MK Illumination were using Microsoft Exchange Online with local copies of Office applications. They stored company documents on third-party cloud file-sharing services and on-premises file servers. Often, there were multiple versions of the same file stored on local file servers, personal hard drives, and in cloud folders. To overcome these challenges, the company began looking for a versioning and workflow automation solution to keep its specialized sales cycle and other business-process information current and accurate.
The company’s IT partner, Swedish company WeSafe, suggested a unified, efficient, agile, and scalable option: upgrade licenses to Microsoft 365 Business Premium. This would give remote employees such as sales representatives access to the most current documents regardless of where they work—and the ability to create custom Microsoft Teams workflows for project management.
Automated project workflows
Today, MK Illumination employees store all relevant project information in one place with Teams, and find the data they need quickly, without needing to search in multiple folders and apps. Workers automatically back up and share files with Microsoft Teams, and they also chat, call, and hold video conferences with others through this application.
WeSafe, a 2017 Microsoft Partner of the Year, went a step further in enhancing collaboration by creating new efficiencies using Microsoft 365 automation and integration tools. In a week, the partner used Power Apps to build a new app within Teams that integrates tools such as Planner and To Do to define and automate project workflows.
Each step in a project is validated and routed to the next person in the workflow using Power Automate, which automates manual processes with UI flows. Now when employees start a project, they click a button to automatically set up Planner and a Teams channel. Everything from sending invites and task reminders and assigning tasks to archiving projects is now done from this new app. Employees attach documents to project tasks and edit the files together online without leaving the Teams environment.
MK Illumination employees have embraced this new way of working to be more efficient, collaborating seamlessly in one place with all the necessary tools.
Integrated identity and data security
The partner also created a chatbot for Teams using Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. The chatbot manages workflow notifications based on employee identity information from Azure AD. The WeSafe solution also offers single sign-on and multifactor authentication powered by Azure AD and draws on that identity data to automatically prepopulate information in Teams workflows and perform tasks like validating project budgets. Employees can now look up colleagues’ job titles, org chart information, and contact details with the Teams chatbot.
Security, like collaboration, is now integrated at MK Illumination. After upgrading to Microsoft 365 Business Premium, the customer deployed Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection for email security to protect against malware and phishing as employees work with customers and partners from across the world. MK Illumination is focused on strengthening security—the company is undertaking planning to activate the mobile device management capabilities in Microsoft Intune next.
Work in a new reality
When the worldwide pandemic raised health and safety concerns in early 2020, MK Illumination used its agile new work solution from Microsoft 365 to quickly, seamlessly, and securely transition office staff to work from home. Employees access everything using the cloud, so the company no longer needs to maintain or secure a third-party virtual private network (VPN) solution or local file servers. Project management tools and documents are all accessible in Teams, so employees can work together from anywhere using any type of internet connection. And MK Illumination continues to get the most out of its data using low-code, customizable, automated workflows built by its IT partner WeSafe.
Even in this new reality, MK Illumination is excited to use more of the cloud tools and security features included with Microsoft 365 to break down collaboration silos as it creates stunning lighting experiences that bring a sense of wonder to special events and holidays.
Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.