Featured BizSpark Startup – Future Digital Media

Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Future Digital Media. 

True Star Trek fans look at the world a bit differently than others do. That’s a good thing, says Rahim Hankin, Director, Future Digital Media. Going boldly where no one has gone before can reap big benefits.

Future Digital Media is a UK web design agency that builds custom web sites and apps to meet technically complex requirements. Its mission? To build next generation web applications that are future-proof. That means deploying the latest technologies, designs, layouts and techniques for an exceptionally valuable user experience. And maybe tossing in a sleek, ergonomically designed space ship or two along the way.

Microsoft Azure and open source software plays a big part in the startup’s current success. Future Digital Media used WordPress to build its applications and Azure to host its offerings. Both are powerful, easy to use and customize and can quickly accommodate third-party software.

“A big part of our solution goes beyond web site design,” explains Rahim Hankin, director. “Our Azure-based web application is an advanced price comparison website that provides in-depth information to internet service providers.”

A Microsoft BizSpark member, Future Digital Media used its Visual Studio and Microsoft Azure benefits to build a sandbox for testing. Why those two tools? Because the seamless integration of Azure with Visual Studio and open source software, plus the straightforward server setups and configurations, just made good business sense, says Hankin.

BizSpark, too, has played a sizeable role in the young company’s success.

“Microsoft BizSpark gave us access to Microsoft software and Microsoft Azure,” says Hankin. “That really helped us to develop and deploy successful ASP.NET- based web applications.”

The fact that Azure is constantly evolving with new features and functionality is a critical support to Future Digital Media’s vision of the future.

Azure, says Hankin, offers so much flexibility and so many features that he never considered an alternative hosting company. His team was excited by the unique tools and integration across Microsoft products (such as storing the web application files in DropBox) that Azure offers. They also loved the ability to easily deploy changes from Visual Studio.

“We built the site on ASP.NET 4 using Visual Studio which worked very well in tandem with Microsoft Azure,” says Hankin. “That let us constantly test our service in a live environment online.”

Hankin adds that building in the cloud can offer a lot more functionality and features than more traditional forms of hosting. Plus, cloud-based technologies like Azure can make managing revenue and IT expenses pretty simple with its pay-as-you-go model and the ability to set a custom budget.

With the application well underway, the next challenge Future Digital Media faces is finding a delicate balance between good web design and fast performance. Because the startup must accommodate a wide variety of older internet browsers that don’t support newer design trends, Hankin’s team is working daily on finding and maintaining that balance to ensure a great end user experience.

Words Of Wisdom For Young Startups

Two things, says Hankin, are critical when launching a startup. First, produce the highest quality work possible. That helps attract repeat customers and build brand loyalty. Second, find the time to meet your work obligations and spend quality time with family or friends. That balance will help you produce great quality and ensure you don’t burn yourself out. 

Rahim Hankin, Director, Future Digital Media

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