Since our inception, Asurtec has helped many small, mid-sized and not-for-profit companies harness the power of IT in innovative and cost-efficient ways. Our solutions always take our clients long term strategic goals into consideration while keeping their budgetary constraints top-of-mind.
Below are the technologies Asurtec uses to help our valued clients – and actual cases describing how we harnessed this technology to gain efficiencies and help drive revenue
Case 1 – Not-For-Profit Unhappy With Their Infrastructure and Systems
This client contacted Asurtec because they were unhappy with their current provider in the following areas:
- Servers going down too frequently which meant email, files and their ERP system was often unavailable
- The ERP system they implemented had high monthly costs; maintenance costs were too high and the system was too complicated for their organization
- Their current IT provider was unresponsive and charged for hours that the organizations should not have been charged for.
- They wanted to access their email, files and ERP system from anywhere
Budget was the main constraint. This client had a fixed budget for this project and wanted reassurance that the quoted price would be close to the actual cost. They also wanted to know what their monthly costs would be.
They also wanted the solution to be implemented over a single weekend and wanted onsite support the Monday when staff returned to work after the weekend.
The new ERP system should be easy to use and run in a Microsoft Windows environment.
The private cloud solution Asurtec implemented fit the organization’s requirements:
- Little upfront costs
- Improved performance accessing files and systems
- Access to files, email and their main computer system from anywhere
- Research and implement a more user friendly and cost effective system that would run their business
- Clear support and escalation path when issues arise
- Ensure that all data and files are backed up and can be recovered
The complexity of this project required considerably planning. Most of the planning was done by Asurtec but the organization was involved throughout the process. We were dealing with multiple vendors and needed to ensure that their deliverables were on time and to specification. This was the main challenge – having all data, files, accounts and email cutover to the new systems over a single weekend. A lot of testing and retesting was performed to ensure that the cutover process was smooth.
We understood that management and staff wanted to know what was going on and that communication is vital. Throughout this engagement we hosted bi-weekly status calls that outlined what was completed, what was outstanding and next steps. We also helped write company-wide emails for the client so their staff were kept informed of the project’s progress.
Change is never easy; indeed, it can be quite stressful. We feel that change management is an important element in all our projects. As mentioned above we feel communication is an important piece of change management. Training is another important piece of change management. For this engagement, we held 4 training sessions for the different groups of staff that would use the systems in different ways. To keep costs low, we had two staff members become “super users” who held all future trainings. At go-live, we had a technician on-site to ensure that staff were able to access the system, had appropriate access levels, performance was good and there were no surprises. In short, we were there to support the go-live and staff were happy.
This engagement came with risks. The main risks were tight timeline and several changes being made and delivered at once. However, the project was a huge success. The project was so successful because of effective planning, communication, testing and support. This implementation occurred over a year ago and the solution continues to support the organization through its changes and growth. They are extremely happy with the solution to this day.
Not only was Asurtec’s IT person a VERY pleasant person to work with, he fixed all the issues I had and then some. They are very quick to respond, and very fast and efficient once onsite. Asurtec will definitely be the company I use for all of my IT issues going forward. I will definitely be referring them to all of my clients.”— Maria P. Novielli, Proprietor,
Novielli Accounting & Business Services
Case 2 – Developing a Strategic Plan on a Tight Budget
Asurtec was contacted to help devise an IT strategic plan for an international development organization that was growing rapidly. They have 2 full time IT staff who are working extremely hard maintaining their current aging infrastructure. The organization was not looking to outsource their IT department nor did they have a large budget for the strategic assessment or plan. The main goals for the project were as follows:
- Help create an IT strategy that aligns to their long term business strategy
- Create a plan for infrastructure changes that would help IT free time so they can concentrate on process improvement, performance improvement and projects.
The main constraint with this project was budget. There was a lot of investigating, analysis and assessment needed to create an effective IT strategy and roadmap. We developed a detailed plan (at no cost) around required activities and developed a strict timeline. We needed to get each step completed within the budgeted time to make this work. We also needed to ensure that the changes we recommended were realistic. In light of the organization’s limited budget, we needed to recommend changes that they could afford and would have real impact.
The other constraint was staff time. This was a small organization with less than 100 employees and many staff held more than one role. They are busy.
The final constraint was security. This organization deals in countries where change is not always appreciated. We needed to ensure that their staff and volunteers’ information was secure.
With our plan in hand, we got to work. Our strategy was chronological: first, investigation; second, analyze; third, develop the plan and make recommendations.
The first part of our investigation was a detailed assessment of the organization’s infrastructure. We needed to see how the network was architected, where the bottlenecks occurred and what vulnerabilities existed.
The next step was to read the organization’s global strategic plan and discuss with senior management what organizational changes were ahead, including:
- New revenue streams
- Introduction of new products / elimination of products
- Expansion into new countries
Next we needed to hear from staff what technical pain points they were experiencing. We used an online survey and worked with the organization to ensure that staff completed the survey.
Lastly, we held numerous few face-to-face interviews with department managers to understand what their frustrations were, what their processes looked like and what improvements they would like to see.
With all this information in-hand we needed to develop a roadmap for improving their IT infrastructure so that it better supported their mission while simultaneously identifying potential cost-savings. We assembled a team of three very seasoned IT managers to analyze the information and develop recommendations, and this team met on several occasions.
The final product was an 18 page strategic IT plan that identified several avenues for improvements in cost reduction, reliability (through redundance), performance, ease of use, ease of IT management, and above all, alignment with the organization’s mission.
One of the sections was a plan on how to move their current infrastructure and system into the cloud. A cloud solution made sense for this organization because of their decentralized staff.
As the IT strategic plan set out a series of projects, we further helped the agency by assigning priorities to these and creating a rough time-line for implementing the projects. Due to the complexity of the projects, it was imperative they not all be undertaken at once; instead a well thought-out sequential approach was needed as we helped to sketch this out.
We continue to collaborate with this organization as they work through their projects and need support and guidance. They continue to appreciate the strategic planning document we helped them create and have since turned to Asurtec for technical support and cloud hosting services.
Case 3 – Managed IT Department: Better Service at a Lower Cost
This client is our newest and possesses a complex IT infrastructure and sizable staff complement. This client was replacing their IT service provider because each year their IT costs increased and there was no improvement to performance or reliability. This client also felt that they did not know if their infrastructure or data was safe or if they could recover their data should a disaster occur. In short, they felt very much in the dark and wanted to more insight into and informed participation in the decisions concerning their IT infrastructure.
The first challenge for Asurtec was to make the transition from their current IT service provider to their new provider as smooth, and uneventful and cost effective as possible.
The second challenge, which began when the first was overcome, was to help the organization improve the reliability, performance, ease of use, organization and security and confidentiality of their infrastructure, again, in as cost-effective a manner as possible.
As with most companies, budget was the driving constraint. Fortunately for Asurtec, this company wanted to improve their infrastructure and improve processes and understood that technology was how to achieve both.
When you sign with Asurtec, you many tangible benefits that other IT service providers do not deliver. We call this this the Asurtec Difference. It comprises the following:
- IT solutions roadmap created at no charge
- On-site automated 24×7 monitoring of servers and network appliances installed and maintained at no charge
- Regular status calls with Asurtec to ensure that progress is being made and you are getting value the dollars spent
- Full access to our cloud-based documentations system – the same technical documents that our technicians use know your technical infrastructure are available to you.
- Access to our 24 x 7 helpdesk
We provided all the above at no cost to our client. The client was especially thrilled with two elements – full access to our technical documentation on their IT infrastructure, and on-site 24×7 monitoring. They loved that they were no longer in the dark about their infrastructure and they equally liked knowing that we were monitoring their infrastructure around the clock. This meant we could identify and resolve many small problems before they interrupted staff and that we knew about any big problems and could begin responding often before were even aware.
Our first step with this client was to assess their infrastructure and provide recommendations for improving end-user performance, stability and robustness.
Next we reviewed their backup and recovery solution. We implemented an offsite backup solution and provided documentation that explains how the backup solution works and recovery timelines should a disaster occur.
Our work with this client was not all high tech; some of the support we have provided has been about organization and information management: During the migration, we helped the client to identify, collect and organize the myriad of passwords needed to manage their IT infrastructure. We showed them how to manage these in a password database, and setup a direct connection between our password database and theirs so that we are continuously in synch. By providing this client with full access to our documentation on their infrastructure, and ensuring they have all the passwords needed to manage their infrastructure, and through our open style of working and communicating, we answered this client’s desire to be a more knowledgeable and informed decision-maker when it comes to their IT infrastructure.
One of the many improvements we made after migrating the client from their former IT service provider was to move them from SSL VPN to a Remote Desktop solution for remote access. They passionately disliked the SSL VPN and wanted a faster, less cumbersome and more user-friendly solution. The challenge was to provide a solution with better performance with no additional investment in hardware. Our solution: repurpose and consolidate hardware. We reduced the number of virtual servers and were able to create a robust remote desktop solution that provides great performance without purchasing a single additional piece of hardware. They are loving this for 2 reasons: 1) it didn’t cost much 2) staff are much happier with this solution.
Once VPN was removed we Implemented Outlook Anywhere. With this solution, staff can access email from anywhere using their Outlook desktop client, without the need of a VPN connection. All they need is an internet connection.
We feel our most important contribution to this organization is providing sound advice. We were able to look at their current internet connection speed and determine that their internet service provider (ISP) installed the wrong modem. We were able to advise that they contact their ISP and have them replace the modem. For no extra cost they have much faster internet speeds. We also provide ongoing advisement on purchases. Their old vendor was charging for software licenses and warranties that were not needed, when these same licenses were available at trivial cost through donated software programs available to not-for-profits and charities. The savings from opting out of unneeded licenses, or obtaining licenses through donated software programs covered the cost of work done by Asurtec to that point.
As we progress through the IT roadmap, we get weekly emails from senior management thanking us for all our help.