As the branding agency 1HQ began expanding into new global markets, the company modernized its file infrastructure to support its always-on, everywhere business model
Headquartered in the U.K., with creative studios around the world, 1HQ specializes in brand strategy, innovation, design, and communication. The agency is focused on helping brands succeed in highly competitive, fast-moving markets, and its customers range from local startups to major global corporations such as Unilever, Microsoft, Kraft-Heinz, and Nestle.
The agency needs to work with speed and agility to respond to the needs of its clients and win new business. Even with its larger global clients, 1HQ helps them compete on a local level, so speed and agility are critical. “We are hugely customer-centric as an agency,” explains 1HQ Chief Strategy Officer Andrew Collins. “Our clients are looking for growth and we are doing everything we can to help them achieve it.”
1HQ has studios in the U.K., New York, Amsterdam, and Singapore. The globally distributed brand strategists, designers, communications experts, and artists at these locations all share a passion for helping 1HQ’s clients succeed. But the agency’s leadership decided that 1HQ needed to make it easier for these individuals to collaborate effectively.
“It was always an ambition of the business to break beyond the walls of our U.K. headquarters and tap into new and existing markets,” explains IT Manager Sean Probets. “We needed an infrastructure that would support our global ambitions and allow all of our studios to communicate and collaborate seamlessly. Nasuni was the perfect fit.”
Supporting a 24-hour Global Design Agency
1HQ’s international growth strategy meant that traditional, isolated file storage solutions would not provide the required efficiency and flexibility. “As we grew and placed greater demands on the business, it was inevitable that we would have to rethink our attitude toward infrastructure,” says Collins.
The files common to creative agencies have also become too large and complex for the traditional approach to storage. Even the design file for a relatively simple package might grow to 8GBs due to layering and embedded smart objects. Collins, Probets, and others recognized that the agency needed a more agile, modern cloud solution to storing, protecting, and sharing these larger and more complex files. After analyzing multiple options, the team chose to deploy Nasuni’s cloud-native file services platform.
In addition to the advantages detailed in the next section, Nasuni has supported 1HQ’s larger vision of a global, 24-hour agency that can respond quickly to its clients and tap more of its worldwide talent for each project. The benefits include:
- Global Collaboration: With Nasuni, the gold or authoritative copy of each file resides in the cloud, and is cached locally for fast access. This cloud-native model allows for fast file synchronization between distant locations. As a file is edited in one location, only the deltas need to propagate to the next studio, not the entire file. This accelerates file sharing and collaboration.
- Tapping Expertise: Nasuni’s cloud-native approach to file storage and synchronization means that any 1HQ studio, anywhere in the world, can securely access the same shared files or volumes. The team in Singapore, for example, can easily share an RFP with the Communications experts in the U.K. to ensure that work is as strong as possible. “Not all studios are exactly the same,” says Collins. “We have different and often complementary skills, and we need to be able to fold those together efficiently.”
- Follow-the-Sun Workflows: 1HQ aspires to be a 24-hour agency, but that doesn’t mean the firm wants its people working 24 hours a day. With Nasuni, a studio in one part of the world can dedicate its workday to a project, then pass the relevant files along to their colleagues in the next time zone to pick up where they left off. A project can move from Singapore to the U.K. to New York, drawing on the talent at each location without losing valuable time.
- Higher Quality Work: The end result of this fast global collaboration isn’t just about faster time to market. A deadline is a deadline. But the work submitted at that deadline now moves through more reviews, and incorporates more input from more talented people around the world. “The end result is improved quality,” says Collins.
Results: Backed by the Cloud, Powered by Nasuni
Thanks to the Nasuni platform, 1HQ is also enjoying the following advantages.
Instead of multiple disconnected hardware silos of file storage in various global locations, 1HQ now has a single global file system in the cloud for storing, protecting, sharing, and managing all of its unstructured file data around the world.
In the past, storage hardware that was meant to provide capacity for five years might run out within two years, leading to unforeseen capital expenditures. Today, with Nasuni, all storage scales in the cloud. “Now, because storage is an operational expenditure, we’re organically growing as the business grows, and we’re able to predict the costs incurred each fiscal year,” says Probets.
1HQ wanted a Disaster Recovery strategy that would allow the agency to maintain productivity even after a major disaster. Nasuni Continuous File Versioning® ensures that a complete, versioned history of each file is maintained in georedundant cloud object storage. Nasuni enables uniquely fast recoveries in the event of data loss or disasters, as end users and offices can easily regain access to recent versions of files in the cloud, and continue working. “Even if we had a regional outage, our data would still be available,” Probets notes.
Simpler M&A Integration
As 1HQ acquires more global studios, the agency also has a simpler way to onboard new locations. By deploying a Nasuni edge appliance, that location immediately joins the global file share and unlocks all the capabilities of the file services platform.
Fostering Connections Across a Global Organization
Despite its global aspirations and success, 1HQ wants to remain a collaborative, and people-centric studio at heart. By making it easier for studios to work with each other, Nasuni helps foster that sense of community. “The key thing really is this sense of connectedness and being part of a single team,” says Collins. “People want to feel part of one organization, and Nasuni helps us achieve that. They might be proud of their location and their studio but they’re excited to be part of a business which has a global footprint while still retaining a personal touch.”