Microsoft and metal: how Microsoft is helping Metalworks Studios keep on rocking
Run by Gil Moore of the band Triumph, Metalworks needed to keep its act together as it grew – and found a solution through its Microsoft partnership.
For Gil Moore, founder and chief executive officer of Metalworks Group, in Mississauga, Ont., music is as much a business as an art. The drummer and vocalist of Canadian power trio Triumph now manages a business employing a hundred people. While the art of music continues to provide the inspiration for the company, Microsoft products have become a key support in making Metalworks’ growing operations work in harmony – ensuring its employees are on the same page, its software up to date and its customer outreach coordinated.
Moore recalls the humble beginnings of the business during high school, when he assembled speakers and music equipment in his parents’ basement. Even as he enjoyed worldwide success with Triumph, his business continued to thrive, eventually evolving into recording facility Metalworks Studios.
“It’s hard not to get excited when you walk through their doors. We were fascinated with the possibilities of Metalworks.”-Sandra Kaffashian, SMB business development manager for Microsoft Canada
Moore now operates three businesses: a career college, the Metalworks Institute of Sound & Music Production; live event management company Metalworks Production Group; and an expanded Metalworks Studios, which has hosted artists as diverse as Drake, David Bowie, Anne Murray, Guns N’Roses and Prince.
Moore always embraced new sound technology, moving from all-analog to digital production systems. Metalworks’ offices were no different, exploring early programs designed to handle accounting and customer relationship management (CRM).
As the business grew, however, its needs outstripped product offerings. Connecting employees with up-to-date software also became a challenge.
“We would always find someone with out-of-date versions of software on their terminal,” says Moore. “With thousands of electronic documents travelling through the office, things were starting to go missing.”
Frustrated with the software platforms they were using, Moore’s team began to search for something better.
“We’re always looking to the horizon for what’s new and strong, and also at who’s falling behind,” he says. “On my end it started with looking for the best products to handle CRM. For my IT department, it involved looking for the best products for email delivery and hosting. We kept zeroing in on Microsoft, a company that we were happy to partner with because it demonstrates a high level of corporate ethics.”
Metalworks began with the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, working with Microsoft partner CRM Dynamics an HSO Company.
“Our partner alerted us to Metalworks and told us that there was a lot of potential and a lot of cool things that we might be able to assist with by working more closely together,” says Sadra Kaffashian, SMB business development manager for Microsoft Canada, who heads up the Metalworks account. “It’s hard not to get excited when you walk through their doors. We were fascinated with the possibilities of Metalworks – how they were transforming in the digital era and how we could help not only them, but also other companies in the music business, overcome challenges. ”
Working on a new cloud-based music product, Metalworks quickly migrated to Azure.
With the addition of Microsoft Office 365, the company experienced a rapid improvement in office efficiency and productivity. Products such as Microsoft Teams helped to bring company staff together, no matter where they worked.
“Everybody was soon up to date and software was upgraded seamlessly, so we were all operating using the newest versions,” Moore says. “With Azure, we avoided killing any more trees by moving documents to the cloud and suddenly our digital filing system became very solid and shareable. When someone needs a document, they’re no longer buzzing the intercom or walking from cubicle to cubicle and tapping people on the shoulder. Everything’s faster.”
Notes are now captured using Microsoft OneNote, ensuring that all information is in its place, and legacy information is easily passed from departing employees to new staff members.
“In recent years, the software we’d been using relied increasingly on third-party plug-ins to work together,” says Moore. “With the new Microsoft program suites, the integration is just fantastic. They speak to each other in a clear voice and create company-wide efficiency.”
Following the successful integration of so many Microsoft products, Moore and his team recently presented their story to a group of Microsoft Canada employees, who were eager to know more about serving the music industry.
“I’ll admit that I was flabbergasted by Microsoft’s interest and enthusiasm for all things music,” says Moore. “Maybe music is a universal language, but Microsoft speaks a type of universal language through its products as well, and they welcomed us more warmly than we could have imagined.”
For more on getting your company up to speed, visit Microsoft’s Modern Workplace on Demand, a free business channel that strives to inspire, educate and empower all businesses to modernize.
The article is sponsored by Microsoft Canada.