Each year, our sister publication Computer Dealer News hosts the Channel Elite Awards to recognize IT Solution Provider for their innovation, leadership, and commitment for creating value for their customers. As Canada’s leading IT channel publication, CDN invited solution providers to submit their best work to nine different categories for 2013′s awards. Here, we present the case studies these award nominees put forward to us. Find out who the big winners are on Sept. 11 when CDN presents them at the CEA Awards Gala.
Learn more about CDN’s Channel Elite Awards 2013
Nominee: Itergy from Montreal, Quebec
Describe the solution, service or initiative
Itergy offered its client a flexible and fine-tuned Managed Services support. The main purpose was to offer an SMB adapted service with level of Managed Services that some large companies benefit to allow the customer to focus on its own business and not on IT issues. The support offered covered daily needs as well as long term projects, change management and infrastructure high level migration and evolution. Offering a custom approach to its client, Itergy’s managed service offering included different services such as : • proactive systems maintenance, • remote and on-site operational maintenance, • controlled automation of maintenance tasks, • monitoring of service and server infrastructure equipment (including all related services) desktop, • laptop preparation and support, • users’ creation, • configuration, • rights and access in a standard and documented manner, • IT inventory of hardware, • software, licenses , warranty and support contracts, • incident, problem and infrastructure health reports, • change and project management follow ups, • high-level recommendations on equipment, • services like security, • network stability and redundancy, • data protection, etc.
What makes it original or innovative?
The service provided results from a combination of Itergy’s high level expertise and geographical situation. Itergy offers a variety of services adapted to SMB, but also a 24/7 availability of internal expertise. Specific actions (remote access cards, redundant network and electrical plug strategy and virtualization) were performed to allow remote actions even in case of hardware issues. IT managed service are obviously a highly competitive industry this is why offering original and innovative services are key to success. This is why Itergy decided to adopt a proactive approach to differentiate itself from its competitors. This proactive approach enables Itergy to monitor the client’s infrastructure and resolve and even prevent any problems before the customer knows its existence. This allows its client and other customers to be worry free about their IT, and always have up and running infrastructure. This proactive approach reduces downtime, and increases security. Another original approach to Itergy’s managed service is that these service approaches usually do NOT include internal application support nor optimization. Steps were done to avoid a main productivity issue with one of its clients servers, concerning two central applications (Quickbooks and Spector360). There were corruption issues, space issues and an overall stability and access problem that was also creating a lot of downtime for these two applications. The physical server was in bad shape, the space allocated to the applications was insufficient and not expandable, and the accounting application was very sensitive to any network or server outage. To deal with these three sources of problems, Itergy virtualized this server, expanded allocated space, optimized SQL databases management and put in place a list of simple and efficient recommendations for internal people as well as to IT staff, to avoid risks with the accounting system and a procedure was set in case of a server problem. Another innovative approach to Itergy’s service going beyond industry norms is its ability to invest in each of our customer’s and installing a server and remote monitoring management platform. It enables Itergy to have instant access to the site, and monitor and manage everything related to the entire network (severs, workstations, laptops, tablets, phones, cellphones, etc.) This platform also offers many service so the customer can have an up-to-date and online situation of his network. Some of these services include an online helpdesk, a cloud service monitoring and management, mobile device management, and network audits. Our approach also becomes innovative because Itergy exploits LPI systems to maximize fetching results from this tool by using all applications while other companies may only be using one or two services from this platform. On a customer perspective to this question, its client believes that Itergy really differentiates itself by offering an exceptional and complete team of technicians that are specialists and generalists at the same time allowing customers to have many different points of reference and support. Usually companies will have a limited amount of specialists and it becomes difficult if they can’t answer certain questions. This is why Itergy made sure to have a team of employees that do specialize in certain subjects but that are also generalist overall.
Describe the improvement this solution made to the customer’s sales or revenues and provide measurable evidence of such.
This Managed Services allows the customer to focus on its internal business by delegating its infrastructure support and mid-long IT projects envisioning to a single point of reference: Itergy. The fixed monthly charge allows a predictable budget to be implemented for IT. The company being in constant expansion, providing evidence in terms of cost reduction or revenue/improvement in sales would not be representative since so many changes have happened in the company. Having grown so fast they’ve passed from and environment with 40 to 80 stations in 1 year and also added other services, subsequently increasing the cost of the service. This, combined with other company factors is why it is very hard for them or Itergy to provide measurable evidence. On the other end, Its client does affirm that doing business with Itergy is more cost and time effective. Being a company in full expansion, Itergy also helped significantly the client in planning, coordinating and supervising for its growth in a more systematic and business oriented way leaving them with no worries about their infrastructure, about missing space, needing more backup solutions, other technical aspects, and therefore allowing the client to focus only on their primary goals. Subsequently, today its client receives a more cost and time effective service, functions better and therefore is more productive. Overall this allows the client to deliver a faster process and service and improve sales and revenues. Finally, by reducing downtime, Itergy definitely was able to reduce the high cost affected to this issue. It not only includes loss of productivity and data (during downtime staff productivity is at an industry average of 56%*), or overtime costs but also loss of sales and customer satisfaction. As more than 70% of businesses have had some type of operations interruption in the past 5 years of which more than 80% which is caused by power station, hardware failure or network failure**, and at a cost of 40, 000$/hr (SMB average) and an average of 14 hours of downtime a year (Gartner), having a reliable but most importantly proactive Solution provider like Itergy becomes crucial, cost effective and improves overall service delivery. When Itergy first encountered its client, the physical server was in bad shape creating downtime of around 1 hour every 3-4 days which is enormous. Today Itergy was able to reduce its clients downtime to 4 hr – 5 hr per year thus increasing downtime efficiency to 99.95%. This is not only a tremendous step for the client, it also places them way behind industry average which is at 14 hr a year, obviously automatically reducing costs of downtime and all aspect that come with it and allowing the client to concentrate on sales and revenues. * “http://www.arcserve.com/us/lpg/~/media/Files/SupportingPieces/ARCserve/avoidable-cost-of-downtime-summary-phase-2.pdf” ** “http://i.zdnet.com/whitepapers/Forrester_Analyst_White_Paper_The_State_of_Enterprise.pdf” *** “http://www.evolven.com/blog/downtime-outages-and-failures-understanding-their-true-costs.html”
Describe the improvement that was made to the customers efficiency, with measurable evidence.
The services Itergy provided increased its clients efficiency in many ways. 1) The downtime and corruption issues have been set under control for the two above mentioned applications (Quickbooks and Spector360) 2) In 9 months, the overall health of the IT environment went from 47% efficiency to more than 75%, and has a goal to continuously improve their overall health. 3) As mentioned above, Itergy was able to discuss with the customers about the effects of the server on downtime and convince him to change it therefore reducing overall downtime from more than 15 hours a year to 4-5h hours a year. (99.95% downtime efficiency) 4) Improve time to response for different projects and service delivery. Furthermore, when Itergy analysed the client, they discovered that the client had many problems and unresolved issues that needed to be addressed that were automatically reducing the efficiency of the company. Each week Itergy needed to go onsite to stabilize the site. After only 4 months, Itergy only needed to visit its client once 1 month, and this visit is not to resolve issues but mainly to make sure that the site is under control. With its services Itergy highly increased the efficiency of the site. By reducing system downtime and data corruption, Itergy helped its client to not only be more efficient in terms of its productivity, enabling employees to spend time on strategic projects and reduce necessity to spend time on rebuilding lost data, but also more efficient in terms of cost, not spending budget or time (even overtime) on retrieving data or even losing revenues due to downtime. Finally, when a company is facing fast growth, efficiency can be taken over by an overwhelming number of tasks, issues, goals, and too little employees and time to perform adequately. Luckily Itergy was there to help significantly in planning, coordinating and supervising for its growth. Itergy greatly improved efficiency in terms of time to response and time frame. For example, a specific time to setting up new computer and servers were given and completely respected by Itergy allowing the client to reduce original time frames and be more organized, consistent and efficient with its time and budget.
How did the solution improve the customer’s ability to serve internal or external clients?
Being able to serve clients efficiently and in the best way possible should be one of the top priorities for a company. In today’s technological environment, many issues can interfere in doing so, most importantly in time to response. Being in an extremely competitive environment, this last element is crucial to stay ahead. In doing business with Itergy, its client was able to assure that their technologies would not interfere with this mission by stabilizing the infrastructure and therefore reducing the impact on production due to recurrent power outages. According to a study done by CA technologies, 50% of organizations revealed that IT outages can damage a company’s reputation, while 18% thought this would be ‘very damaging’. Also, 35% of company’s reported that Outages can harm customer loyalty*. Most importantly, since the client is located in a region where power outages are quite common, a better stability of the infrastructure is crucial and leads to less services unavailability during the outage, and specifically less problems with their internal Quickbook application (%). Before Itergy started offering its services to the client, Internet used to cut after 10 minutes of outage leaving employees impossible to respond to customer emails, orders, or other important task. The problem was that the clients last service provider had not seen that the equipment was plugged in a small UPS. Itergy transferred the equipment on bigger UPS so that Internet even works during outages. Finally, as explained in question 3 more in detail, by reducing downtime, Itergy definitely was able to increase productivity. When Itergy first encountered its client, the physical server was in bad shape creating downtime of around 1 hour every 3-4 days which is enormous. Today Itergy was able to reduce its clients downtime to 4 hr – 5 hr per year thus increasing downtime efficiency to 99.95%. This is a tremendous step for its client, placing them way ahead of average which is at 14 hr a year, and therefore allowing them to offer a better overall service to its customer. * “http://www.arcserve.com/us/lpg/~/media/Files/SupportingPieces/ARCserve/avoidable-cost-of-downtime-summary-phase-2.pdf”
In what ways does the solution go above and beyond industry expectations?
As mentioned in question 2, our proactivity can set us apart because we are always ahead of fixing and even predicting problems before they happen. Most importantly we offer a 24/7 service and are very present and close to customers’ reality to guide and support them for everyday needs but also for long term vision and projects. Being open to support or relay support for specific core applications and customer’s specific needs is unique. Our rapidity and time of response, due to our proactivity and availability, and also our team allows us to give a service that goes beyond industry expectation. The client can testify this and believes that Itergy really differentiates itself by offering an exceptional and complete team of technicians that are specialist and generalist at the same time. This combined with a 24/7 availability allows the team to always have someone available for the customer. It also permits every issue to be dealt with efficiently and to escalate issues to the right person according to its importance. The client considers Itergy to be different and their services to have a big difference in the approach from its previous provider who only had one technician. Therefore if that technician could not address the issue, Client was stuck. With Itergy, the Client feels safe and under the hands a knowledgeable team. Finally investing in a monitoring platform definitely puts the bar up for our service offering. Not only to we install this platform to be able to have instant access to the site, and monitor and manage everything related to the entire network but we also pay for the platform so the customer can receive a better service and have an up-to-date and online situation of his network.
How does the solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
Today, the environment becomes a more and more important subject for companies. Each company needs to align their processes to minimize environmental effects. As Itergy understands this, we have taken many steps to help the client in becoming more “Green”. First, by virtualizing and optimizing existing hardware, Itergy allowed to host 3 servers on one physical server, with better power management automatically saving electricity and equipment. As well, the electrical service has some recurrent small issues. A better use of existing UPS batteries allowed to protect more equipment in a more efficient way. As a result, the impact in case of Hydro-Quebec power outage is now part of controlled procedure, depending on the outage duration. Remote access control cards have been added to servers to be able to remotely start up critical equipment remotely, avoiding the need to get someone to drive on site to start up equipment. Finally, Itergy encourages its client to reuse stations and equipment that they have that is efficient instead of pushing them to buy only new equipment which allows the client not only to save money but also to recycle and waste.