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Real People, Real Stories

How A Single IT Management System Can Win In Any Case

Our clients’ stories provide the “show me” factor when it comes to demonstrating the power of ShareTech’s single IT management solution. Each of the following ShareTech case studies demonstrates a unique circumstance or motivation associated with our relationship with our clients. We’ve changed a few of the names just in case any of the information we shared was sensitive.

A Case of Communication

Steve’s company is a major manufacturer and supplier of comfortable and attractive office furniture environments for commercial and major government accounts. Employing about twenty-five people, they have secured a strategic place in the market. His design team, one-month manufacturing and delivery and personable customer relations set Steve’s company apart from his competition.

Steve noticed a ShareTech advertisement in Upsize Magazine and contacted us a couple years ago. They had been maintaining their network on a break-fix basis and recognized the long-term deterioration of this type of IT management. Steve concluded it was time to retain a proper IT provider and invited us and a competitor to submit business proposals.

Steve weighed his information and opted to sign a one-year contract with our competition. Of course we were disappointed but we had made a good impression on Steve and he told us that if it didn’t work out, they’d get back in touch with us.

Eleven months later Steve called asking ShareTech for a new proposal.

As coincidence would have it, as he was considering the new proposal, his server crashed. His provider advised him to purchase a new server saying the situation simply couldn’t be rectified. Several days had passed, and he decided that if he needed to replace a server, and he was going to switch providers, he wanted ShareTech to help him now.

The network hadn’t functioned for nearly a week. Production was almost halted. Though a month remained on the prior contract, Steve asked ShareTech to step in and help out. Through a conference with Steve and the provider, ShareTech assessed the situation, repaired the server and restored the network to normal function.

Once the network was restored and the dust had settled, ShareTech went to work advising Steve and his staff on long-term planning for hardware replacement and standardization. Attentive listening and excellent relational skills with both clients and employees has won ShareTech long-term relationships.

The Perks Of A Crossroads

When You Venture In A New Direction, You Look Left, Then Right To See Who’s With You.

Mary is the director of a Minnesota nonprofit organization that has been involved in advocacy, education and service in an important social issue for over twenty-five years. From community outreach and legal consultation to emergency financial assistance, Mary’s organization is a leader in its mission. The organization partners with over 1,000 volunteers, provides confidential and non-discriminatory services and social support. In addition to providing services last year to over 3,000 people, they also reached thousands through community and outreach efforts.

Mary’s nonprofit found itself at a crossroads with a decision to make. They had an employee who had managed their network for a number of years, and he did a very good job considering he had no significant IT training. The network had, however, grown awkward and inefficient. His career development moved him out of IT and to another organization. Mary needed to decide if she should replace him or seek another method of network management.

After investigation and consultation with ShareTech, Mary concluded that elimination of her organization’s IT position would be a significant step forward for her nonprofit. Not only would she enjoy enormous cost savings, but her network of eighty PCs and four servers would receive a high level of IT management previously only known by enterprise corporations. Add to that the IT resources, technical team and security that to which she previously had no access, and Mary was confident that she had made a brilliant decision.

She was right. Immediately upon signing with ShareTech, she saved half of what she was paying her IT staff person including benefits, and ShareTech was able to reduce the number of servers on the network from four to three further saving monthly maintenance and hardware expense. A little further down the road it was time to replace servers, and ShareTech further saved the organization significant expense by again replacing two servers with only one. ShareTech had improved server efficiency by one hundred percent. Mary was watching her budget item for IT shrink almost monthly.

A cost savings that Mary hadn’t anticipated was the floor space previously required for IT was now mostly unnecessary. Aside from a server closet and a little storage space, the office space previously occupied by IT staff could now be allocated to some other more productive use. Space savings is a bonus of ShareTech’s Virtual IT that few consider yet a significant consideration when you take into account the cost of office space.

As a nonprofit, Mary’s organization would be eligible to enjoy massive discounts on most major software licenses from the manufacturers through nonprofit pricing – mere pennies on the dollar. ShareTech was able to help them acquire what they needed at more than affordable pricing.

Aside from the cost savings, Mary’s employees immediately noticed the lightning response time to IT issues. They discovered that ShareTech’s unlimited helpdesk was able to respond quickly and decisively in a way that their previous IT staff person was simply unable to do. Over the first year, ShareTech was helped the organization standardize their hardware and software providing them with a fast, stable computing environment.

The Signs Of A Leader

Real Value Is Not Always Expressed Numerically, But Is Almost Always Recognized In Quality Of Life.

Kathy is the founder and owner of a leading company in custom architectural signage - both interior and exterior. Her company offers superior sign design and fabrication based on years of experience, research and extensive product testing. Besides product superior in quality and progressive design, Kathy’s company distinguishes itself above any other sign company in providing superb customer service and her company is one hundred percent women owned and operated.

Kathy managed the computer network herself spending evenings and weekends resolving IT issues. Occasionally, she would retain a time and materials company to help her with issues beyond her time and expertise, but overall her IT capability was equal to the task.

With time, Kathy began to question the wisdom of spending her time and leadership capacity managing her IT department. She realized that not only was her time displaced by IT issues which could be handled by someone else and possibly even better, but she could give more attention to leadership and add more value to her business by managing her business rather than managing her network.

Kathy invited ShareTech to manage her company’s computer network. Upon the initial assessment of the network, ShareTech made a number of server improvements, increased redundancy for power and network failures.

The main value ShareTech brought to Kathy’s company is only quantifiable from Kathy’s perspective. Now, with ShareTech managing her company’s network, she has her evenings and weekends to spend as she wishes. She has found a new gift of time which can only improve her business.

Down, But Not For The Count

A Crisis Can Show You What You’re Capable Of.

For over thirty years, Jim has been focused on providing the highest level of quality and service for close-tolerance, small to medium-sized injection molded components. His company, a full-service injection molder, offers a single source for molded plastic parts and assemblies. Jim’s commitment to high quality and excellent customer service has made his company a leading supplier to the Filtration, Electronics, Medical, Automotive, Industrial, Consumer and OEM markets.

Jim’s company is also one of ShareTech’s first clients. A couple years into our business relationship, our technicians recommended replacement of a server on Jim’s network as it was reaching the end of its five-year lifespan and would soon be out of warranty. It was not a risk worth taking.

Unfortunately, Jim’s company waited just a moment too long, and yes, the worst imaginable happened. Of the three drives in the server, two failed. One drive can be expected to fail at any time. It’s not that unusual. Two failures means data is most certainly lost, and to make matters worse, the server was now just a few days out of warranty. There would be no first aid or even sympathy from the manufacturer.

Things looked bleak, but fortunately, ShareTech had managed the network for sufficient time to build a foundation of redundancy and backup. All of Jim’s company data had been remotely backed up on a regular basis as part of our managed service. Data was safe, but the entire network was down, and a new server would take a week to order and be delivered. A quick solution was needed.

ShareTech responded with technological innovation and devised a temporary, virtual server at the ShareTech data center. All of the data was restored onto the new virtual server and Jim’s network was connected via internet. Now, Jim’s office would operate normally until their new server arrived.

They experienced minimal impact of time loss – only a few hours – and incurred no expense or added fees from ShareTech. Disaster recovery is part of our management service. And in one week when the new server arrived from Dell, ShareTech migrated the client’s data from the ShareTech data center to the new server with absolutely no interruption in business.

While we hate to see a crisis occur in the business of a client, we’re very glad that we have the privilege, knowledge and experience to help restore order, sanity and create great solutions. It’s that kind of commitment that bonds us to our clients.

Never Without a Solution

Offices And 170 Locations Were Daunting To Others, But Not ShareTech

Barry is the Vice-president of a well-known, national fast food chain of restaurants. The company provides affordable, high quality food in clean, attractive and conveniently located restaurants under brands known and loved by all. Barry had been contracting with an IT management company for a number of years, however, when network issues developed, communication with his provider became a struggle. In the midst of the confusion, Barry recognized that there were actually several significant areas of the business relationship with his provider which lacked satisfactory solutions.

Chief among these issues was how to maintain the workstation in each of Barry’s 170 or so restaurants. Each of the PCs was locked down with very limited functionality in order to mitigate employee abuse. Consequently, the responsibility fell to the regional managers who were obligated to visit each restaurant every time maintenance, an update, patch or modification needed to be applied. In short, the client was shouldering a significant aspect of IT management itself. It wasn’t very convenient and it wasn’t a very good deal seeing they were supposedly "outsourcing IT".

Barry came to ShareTech looking for help. While ShareTech’s monthly fee was slightly higher than the prior service company, ShareTech would handle all aspects of IT management and create innovative solutions for those aspects of Barry’s company that required them. Barry and his managers were freed from the burden of performing any further PC management and would be able to put concern out of their schedules and minds.

ShareTech understood their pain and responded with a time-saving, cost-saving, productivity-enhancing solution: use technology to manage technology. Now, ShareTech manages all of the clients PCs, no matter where they are, using efficient, remote network management and software delivery technology. We do what they expect us to do – manage their IT. It’s our pleasure.

Always A Better Way

When A Traditional Network Solution No Longer Fit the Bill, An Innovative ShareTech Presented A Non-Traditional Solution

Bruce, founder and owner of a major insurance provider serving the Twin Cities northern suburbs and outstate Minnesota, operates as a full-time insurance agency, selling an extensive spectrum of insurance to businesses, families, and individuals. His competitive advantage comes from the objective and professional service that he provides, his access to a wide range of carriers, and extensive knowledge of the insurance marketplace. Between his main office and satellite offices his network operates upward of forty PCs.

Bruce knew his network was aging, replacement was inevitable, and he was looking for creative solutions. Though he has a very progressive and successful business he has a conservative office staff cautious of change unless they’re convinced it means improvement. The challenge to ShareTech was to present them a clear, plain English presentation of ShareTech’s approach to IT management that is honest and attractive without sounding magic.

ShareTech’s story and solutions couldn’t help but inspire Bruce’s office staff. They knew that changes down the road were inevitable, but they needed the confidence to know that where this road was leading them there would be solutions, progress and productivity. Many business opportunities promise a bright future. Real results are often questionable. Bruce’s staff was wisely cautious. ShareTech appreciates that.

And they were right. This insurance company’s network was more than old. It was ancient and ready to crumble. There was no redundancy in the servers. If something failed, Bruce’s office staff and agents would simply not be able to function. Worse, though, were the employee complaints the company endured mostly due to the age and failure of supporting equipment.

ShareTech was mindful of the fact that the traditional solution – broad equipment replacement – would be met with discouragement and difficulty. A significant dollar investment in software, updated licensing and hardware purchases was necessary to get them what they needed and wanted. So, ShareTech engaged in some creative collaboration and strategic thinking.

An important part of the agency’s tools is an insurance industry software application. It was important that any solution integrate the application into the overall network strategy while also taking into consideration the company’s more than a dozen office locations.

ShareTech presented to Bruce ShareTech’s IT Express, a hosted solution which they would be able to implement over a period of time. It would provide them almost immediate ability to dispense with their old server and migrate their data to a virtual server at the ShareTech data center. Then as they were ready, they could replace aging machines with thin clients at nearly half the cost of full-size PCs.

Besides relieving the client of the impending threat of enormous hardware replacement costs, they enjoyed several immediate benefits of IT Express:

  • Dramatically improved redundancy. If some element fails, there’s always another to take over;
  • Reduced licensing expense as thin clients run on free Linux operating system rather than a Windows operating system;
  • Immediately improved network reliability and efficiency with very little new to learn;
  • Centrally stored data. It’s virtually impossible for an employee to inadvertently remove it;
  • A remotely accessible network for agents and employees;
  • Longer life. As they replace their PCs with new thin clients, they’ll realize a longer life of five to six years and longer as compared to three years with traditional PCs.

Bruce and his office staff and agents enjoy an innovative solution which is easy on their budget and yet provides immediate improvement.