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A growing company with IT performance problems needing to protect its brand and reputation for excellent customer service
Technical Sales International, Inc. is a leading provider of a wide range of innovative technology solutions and services for the construction industry that are designed to increase contractor profitability, productivity and consistency.
Among its software products are intelligent 3D-design CAD/CAM, AutoDesk and estimating software used in construction, manufacturing and fabricating applications for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers to use in BIM (Building Information Modeling) and design-build planning.
As TSI has expanded beyond the U.S. to serve clients in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Australia, its in-house IT department based in Austin has experienced increasing difficulty supporting TSI staff working on four continents in nearly all 24 time zones. For Brian Gruel, VP of Technology, it was time for a change-
“The issue for me wasn’t just staff frustration and loss of productivity. Here we were, a technology company that had built its reputation on delivering truly innovative software applications that significantly improve quality and productivity, yet what our customers were seeing was a company that never knew whether its own network would be up or down. And since our reputation is also founded on whatever-it-takes support, our IT problems had real consequences. Solving them was imperative.”
The IT infrastructure was reducing productivity and it had a potentially negative impact on TSI’s ability to win business in a highly competitive industry driven not just by the quality of solutions but the rapidity of responsiveness in their support.
“It might have been possible to solve our problems by modernizing and upgrading our existing solution and staffing up to achieve around-the-clock support, or maybe opening a satellite IT center in another part of the world, but that would have been inordinately expensive,” Gruel stated. In addition, an overseas IT facility could create a complication of a different kind. If TSI data resided in one or more other countries, it could be subject to foreign laws and compliance regulations.
Once the decision was made, it was full-speed ahead. Synoptek immediately provisioned the environment and began the transition planning. During the process, Synoptek communicated with all users for individual signoff and training. Within 90 days, everything was ready. To minimize disruptions, Synoptek transitioned all TSI systems in a single weekend. Not only did Synoptek move TSI to the cloud, they replaced their phone system as well, with an advanced Unified Communication solution hosted in the cloud. Considering all the systems in place at the time of the migration, this was a huge feat.
Synoptek’s hosted private-cloud solution for TSI includes the following: Exchange 2010,SQL 2008 R2,general application servers, file servers, web servers, office communications server 2007 R2 Standard, CRM 4.0, Windows Server 2008 R2 for all operating systems.
Customer experience is perhaps the most important component involved in a product or service based business. Companies must balance customer satisfaction and increasing revenues with continual efforts to reduce costs and improve business processes. Customer experience also encompasses social media, online recommendations and managing their internet presence. From initial touchpoints through the billing process each customer interaction has to leave the customer satisfied.
Poor performing unreliable IT systems can negatively affect your customer’s experience and your bottom-line profits. In order to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction TSI needed to improve their IT infrastructure.
“The performance increase was huge. We took TSI from two severely aging servers running off a DSL line to an enterprise-class IT infrastructure literally overnight,” explained Eric Westrom, Network Services Manager for Synoptek. “Does a private cloud cost less than what they had? No, but it’s a fraction of the cost of solving their problems any other way, and the consolidation of resources, the elimination of both a staff position and the need for constant outside tech support offsets a serious chunk of what they’re paying now.”
The benefits included:
For Brian Gruel, the benefits have been profound. “Personally, I’m no longer bogged down reacting to problems, so I can focus on strategic issues. For the company as a whole, TSI now has an absolutely stable IT infrastructure. Instead of the network crashing one or two or more times a week, it’s never down. No one is prevented from working and everyone is always in touch.”
And what has working with Synoptek been like? “TSI isn’t the world’s biggest company, but our IT challenges are probably unusually complex for our size. Meeting them required more than an off the-shelf solution, and Synoptek took the time and had the know-how to customize their private cloud solution to do exactly what we need. Now we don’t have to think about anything. They handle everything, including web requirements and SQL databases, and now we have an IT infrastructure that gives us the ability to expand quickly, which we really never had before.”
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