Businesses recognize that the challenges and costs of supporting some business functions are prohibitive, and it is better for the organization to outsource. There are many reasons to outsource, but staffing, expertise, and costs are at the core. Business process outsourcing (BPO) is a reliable way to source expertise through specialized providers working in specific domains that augment your internal resources. Businesses of all types are catching on to the BPO trend. According to Grand View Research, the BPO market is growing at a 9.4% annual compound growth rate, reaching $280.64 billion in 2023.

The labor market continues to be strained due to historically low levels of unemployment. Employers face difficulty and rising costs in acquiring specialized talent, particularly in IT-related fields, if you can find them at all. BPO benefits extend beyond labor. Businesses can convert fixed costs into variable costs through outsourcing, releasing capital for investment in other areas. They also gain access to world-class capabilities and technologies they might not possess in-house. This approach unlocks scalability and flexibility because the labor and supporting technologies can change with the demand cycles of the business.

Battlefield Farms Inc., a state-of-the-art commercial greenhouse operation located in rural Virginia, found success in partnering with Ricoh to outsource its IT systems, processes, and modernization efforts while also migrating to the cloud and improving security.

Improved IT Security and Infrastructure from
Ricoh lead to Operational Gains at Battlefield Farms

Battlefield Farms is a leading agriculture business supplying plants to national chains like Lowe’s and a network of smaller nurseries year-round. The facility uses state-of-the art, automated AI-based technologies to ensure optimal growing conditions that control watering, irrigation, flooring, soil mixing, and light for each plant variety. The advanced technology requires equally sophisticated infrastructure, which is a challenge in a rural area lacking adequate Internet connectivity and bandwidth.

Bob Haynes, IT Manager, championed improving connectivity with the local government and spearheaded the digital transformation initiative with Ricoh. The project aimed to consolidate on-premise servers and migrate to a more flexible and resilient cloud infrastructure. Moving to the cloud would help with the business objectives of faster access to reliable data, enabling waste control due to overplanting, verifying shipments and forecasting demand to influence the next growing cycle.

Working alongside Ricoh, the company implemented Microsoft 365 and SharePoint’s developer apps, quickly solving over-shipping and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars The company also adopted Microsoft Power BI, a customizable data analytics tool, to improve visibility and forecasting decisions. Decision makers now know which plants are selling and which are not— visualizing that information used to take 40 clicks and six reports but now it is available in under a minute. Battlefield also needed to bolster its cybersecurity initiatives to thwart attacks and more common email phishing schemes. With Ricoh’s guidance, employee training, new

servers, a new firewall, and a ransomware solution were implemented. Ricoh’s RansomCare service powered by BullWall monitors and isolates any affected endpoint. In just a few months of use, the solutions prevented at least 15 attacks and several email phishing attempts.

The digital transformation results are impressive. The company has eliminated thousands of dollars in over delivery and planting, many hours of wasted labor every week, and an untold amount of cost due to the minimized risk from a cybersecurity event.

Customer Benefits

From lower costs and the implementation of state-of-the-art cybersecurity defenses, Battlefield Farms continues to reap the benefits from its digital transformation project powered by Ricoh including:

  • Moving to a cloud-based infrastructure increasing flexibility and scalability
  • 97% decrease in search time for data, from 8 minutes to 15 seconds
  • Significant labor savings across the organization with 5 to 10 hours a week in IT alone
  • Multiple cyberattacks prevented resulting in untold saved costs to the business