In my last Insights article I wrote a recap of what we’ve covered so far in terms of leveraging the power of the cloud, and why there is a growing trend of companies migrating to the cloud. Click here to read it. I also mentioned that for the next several months, I’m going to delve into individual business verticals and examine very specific ways that cloud-based infrastructure and services can benefit them.
I wrote this first vertical-specific article as a short case study involving a real-world example of one of our clients. For the sake of confidentiality, I’ll refer to the company as Builder X.
Business Vertical: Mid-sized to large builders with a minimum of 25 employees
Company: Builder X, a local area builder
The Situation: Builder X had been using a traditional IT system for more than a decade. It had an IT provider (let’s call them Provider Y), but Provider Y was very reactive and hands-off. Provider Y offered little proactive advice and consultation about how to improve the company’s IT operations to increase efficiencies, capabilities and productivity. The only time Builder X ever interacted with Provider Y was when there was a problem, or if Builder X was adding some kind of business software. Even then, the software company would just tell Builder X the requirements to run the new software, and Builder X would pass the information along to Provider Y. Then Provider Y would buy new equipment as necessary without ever understanding why or where the software fell in the operations. Builder X eventually ended up with numerous servers on site. Most of the time when there was a problem, Builder X’s controller, who knew more than a controller should about IT, would perform band-aid fixes on the system while receiving verbal direction over the phone from the out-of-state IT guy until someone at Provider Y had time to remote into the network. After years of accumulated band-aids, the system began to fall apart and work efficiency slowed to the point that it was affecting productivity, customer satisfaction levels and yes, even bottom-line profitability. Builder X was fed up with the system, with the conflicting advice it was receiving, and with the various vendors that were blaming each other for the problems while nothing was getting solved. Builder X went looking for a change.
The Migration: Builder X not only wanted an IT operation that was functional, efficient and dependable, but also one that could be counted on to take full responsibility for the entire system. This isn’t an attempt to sell you on CloudWyze; this is an attempt to emphasize the importance of choosing an IT provider that is hands-on, takes the time to understand every aspect of your IT setup, and will take accountability for repairing any issues that may arise (without using temporary band-aid methods).
However, in this particular case, Builder X did select CloudWyze. The relationship started out with us simply managing Builder X’s existing network. Shortly after, upon a CloudWyze recommendation, Builder X switched over to dedicated access Internet. After a couple of strategy meetings, Builder X quickly understood the value of seamless remote access to its network and we began building them a new system on a private network.
Today, every Builder X employee uses a virtual desktop that is set up so they can quickly retrieve all of their files and settings from any machine, anywhere. Sales staff can access their individual desktops on their desktop computers and also from their laptops when they are on sales calls. Some field employees take their iPads to construction sites and can pull up their desktops on their tablets. We’re talking about complete mobility and full access to all of the same files, applications and functionality from anywhere and at any time.
Now that Builder X’s infrastructure is housed and managed off-site at a central data center, it can easily scale up and add capacity in minutes instead of waiting months to purchase a new in-house server and having the out-of-state IT guy fly in to install it and set it up. To ensure business continuity and reliable disaster recovery, Builder X’s entire system is replicated and backed up. Not just some data but all data.
Builder X also previously had an older, on-site phone system and paid another hands-off company a substantial monthly maintenance fee to manage it. Recently, Builder X migrated its phone system, the final piece, to a hosted platform. We met with Builder X to learn the requirements and built a customized hosted phone solution. This flexible phone system allows for complete integration with hosted desktops (receptionist modules, Outlook modules, call center applications and a remote office feature for sales reps), simultaneous ringing with mobile devices, extension dialing to remote sales centers, and a complete business continuity plan in the event of an outage.
Now that all services are implemented, Builder X can completely focus on construction, sales, expansion and growth. Technology has been completely outsourced and provided as a service rather than a capital expense and a project every three years. Instead of a relationship based on issues, IT meetings are strategy-focused and responses to IT growth challenges are filled with replies such as, “no problem, we’ll take care of it” and “just tell us when.” This is what an IT provider should be doing for you rather than focusing solely on problems and tickets. It’s the entire IT department outsourced, not just the helpdesk.
Shaun Olsen is the CEO and President of CloudWyze. CloudWyze was created to help businesses focus and perform at their optimal level by crafting and executing custom technology plans for businesses of every type and size. To learn more about CloudWyze, visit www.cloudwyze.com. Shaun can be reached at [email protected] or 910-795-1000.
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