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: Softchoice Corporation from Toronto, Ontario

Managed Services Solution description

There is no downtime for companies in the energy sector. Our client, one of the largest electricity distribution companies in Canada, is responsible for keeping the local power infrastructure running to over 200,000 homes and businesses – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In 2012, they chose Softchoice and its Keystone Essential Services offering to help keep their mission critical IT infrastructure operating at an optimal level – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Keystone Essential Services combines a comprehensive portfolio of integrated technical support, maintenance and mentorship services designed to protect the client’s IT environment and provide internal resources with the knowledge required to manage advanced technology infrastructures. With detailed knowledge of the client’s IT environment, we help monitor, maintain and improve operations, enabling the client’s IT staff to refocus on high value activities and customer-facing projects. Live technical support 24/7/365 provides a single point of contact for their IT people, access to our deep pool of technical expertise, and complete resolution lifecycle management.

What makes your Managed Services innovative or original compared to the competition?

Softchoice’s Keystone Essential Services is a leader in managed services, providing a comprehensive approach to partnering with clients based on their individual unique business requirements. Softchoice’s acquisition of UNIS LUMIN allowed us to bring the Keystone Managed Services offering North American-wide. Generating positive customer response, our Keystone customer base grew exponentially in 2012, and is currently on track to grow by more than 50 percent year over year in 2013. What makes Softchoice and Keystone unique is our deep client relationships. We not only simplify vendor and asset management for the client, we provide mentorship services to our client’s IT staff to help bring clarity to the complexities of IT. We share our practical, technical knowledge gained over years of experience by Softchoice’s deep pool of technical resources, and empower our clients to better manage advanced technology infrastructures and focus on growth and innovation.

What were the benefits of your Managed Services Solution for your client and what evidence can you provide to show this?

According to multiple industry studies, nearly 70-80 percent of time in IT is spent reacting to existing infrastructure issues and navigating vendor support, leaving little time for innovation. By offloading these responsibilities onto Softchoice, we increase office efficiency and free up our client’s IT staff to focus on business growth. Our Keystone triage of all system alerts virtually eliminates false-positives. Only 5% of incidents are escalated to the vendor level, and 85% of issues have been resolved in less than 24 hours. What’s more, we assume full ownership of the resolution from start to finish. Taking into account the vast reduction in false-positives, the decrease in and faster resolution of internal incidents and incidents that required vendor escalation – we conservatively estimate Keystone has saved this particular client a minimum of 1,200 work hours per year that they would otherwise be spending on IT issues. In a results-based survey completed by the client, they rated Softchoice’s 24/7/365 live voice support, our end-to-end incident management, and our knowledge of their environment as “extremely valuable,” noting we increased their ability to address their business needs.

What are the main reasons that your Managed Services are better for the customer than an on-premises solution?

Keystone Managed Services provides access to CCIEs and other advanced technology certified staff focused on infrastructure optimization and incident resolution. That removes the need to spend the time and money to provide advanced training to on-premise IT staff, which can instead focus on strategic initiatives that improve business outcomes and customer relations. Our portfolio of services also includes a mentorship component, in which our technology experts offer counsel on configuration, alerts and infrastructure optimization, as well as guidance on road mapping for future IT investments and updates.

How did the Managed Service improve the customer’s ability to server its internal or external clients?

As a publicly-owned utility, reliable customer service is critical for our client. Open lines of communication, and access to internal data and billing information is a must. When electricity bills are mailed out en masse, or crisis moments like blackouts or downed power lines occur, our client must have the confidence that their communications and data systems can work seamlessly under the weight of peak demand. Keystone Managed Services provides proactive services to ensure our client’s system is running at an optimal level based on their unique needs. When incidents occur, we provide faster problem resolution, solving 85% of issues within 24 hours. The service levels and response time can be customized according to each client’s requirements, and full on-site service is also available. Knowledge and monitoring of their IT environment, combined with proactive mentoring and guidance of IT staff, reduces downtime and speeds up any incident and problem resolution. Only 5% of issues under Keystone Managed Services are escalated to the vendor level. As a single point of contact to manage multiple vendor contracts and provide tech support, we increase productivity and allow our client to focus on more strategic tasks and better customer service.

How does the solution further your client’s green or environmentally friendly plans?

As a local electricity distributor, our client promotes and operates dozens of conservation initiatives for its residential and commercial customers. Keystone Managed Services helps our client lead by example in their energy conservation efforts, as improved efficiencies in their own IT infrastructure reduces energy usage. New and better unified communications also helps lowers travel time for remote workers, thereby reducing the company’s carbon footprint.

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