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About the company
DPR Group, Inc., a full-service public relations, marketing and communications agency, was stuck in a technology rut that stymied productivity and limited their growth. DPG group broke free of the break-fix model of managed services and leaped ahead with cloud computing.
DPR Group with a vision to open small satellite offices in technology hubs throughout the eastern United States. At the time of my technology challenge, DPG had expanded to two offices for nearly 15 employees with their headquarters in Germantown, Maryland, and a second office in Cary, North Carolina.
However, providing expert public relations and marketing services to high-tech companies requires a strong technology infrastructure to effectively communicate with clients. Without an on-site IT resource, one of their obstacles to growth was finding a way to keep all in-house technology running smoothly.
For four years worked with a managed services provider to help maintain their PCs, a Dell PowerEdge Server, and internal networks in both of DPG offices. Although the CEO of managed services provider spoke eloquently about their company’s preventative approach to computer maintenance, they actually spent far more time trying to fix things after they broke.
What were the problems before moving to cloud
Before moving cloud number of issues that challenged their ability to maintain the high-level client service that they offer. Downtime, latency, reliability, and accessibility were just a few reoccurring issues. For example, managed services provider would frequently run software updates on Sunday nights and, due to compatibility issues with the updates and a lack of testing, the server would often crash on Monday mornings. This left staff scrambling to work from back-up files, while the managed services provider attempted to fix the problem.
Also, when working remotely, their staff used Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) with severe latency and connectivity issues that caused delays and required additional time to complete basic tasks such as reconnection, file uploads, or even simply writing an email.
Their managed services provider also experienced a lot of personnel turnover. Every time someone new started working on DPG account, they have to re-explain everything about not only the issue they were having, but also how our entire system was set up because the “new expert staff” was not familiar with their system.
Not unexpectedly, DPG received daily complaints from my staff about how technology issues were making it difficult for everyone to do their job effectively. After discussing specific challenges with each of thier staff members, DPG calculated that every employee was losing from seven to nine days of productivity per year due to time spent waiting for a tech to fix the problems.
What were the benefits of moving to cloud
First they started search for a new vendor by talking with a number of managed services providers that all promised to do a much better job of maintaining computers and networks. More importantly, they started hearing the term “cloud computing,” and learned that it could streamline a lot of processes and significantly improve DPG productivity. Although cloud might be a better model for them, DPG also would need a local IT resource to maintain the basic hardware in our two different offices.
After reviewing proposals from a number of providers within the Washington, D.C., metro area, DPG selected Virgina-based Cetrom Information Technology to take them to the cloud. This cloud computing service provider stood out from the rest for a few primary reasons. First, Cetrom offered a truly hosted cloud model. Other cloud providers would host data on the cloud, but install applications locally. It was either that, or they would have to use limited-functionality, software-as-a-service (SaaS) versions of their standard software. Cetrom, however, hosted the full, traditional versions of our software in the cloud and seamlessly mirrored a local environment.
The Cetrom Hybrid places a small server on site in DPG headquarters that replicates the data to and from the cloud in real time. previously they used to having all IT within the office.
Also, Cetrom’s senior-level engineers really took the time to understand DPG business goals and processes during roll out. From there, they designed cloud solution for DPG-with strong business continuity and disaster recovery plans, and easy access to key applications-around all business, instead of making them adapt to a rigid, out-of-the-box solution.
To avoid lost productivity hours, Cetrom’s engineers migrated DPG applications and data over the weekend .Working in the cloud provides numerous benefits. The primary benefit is the anytime, anywhere access to all the files and applications, with only an Internet connection. The ability to set permissions by users is also extremely beneficial as it ensures only authorized personnel have access to files, such as financials.
Cetrom not only maintains its equipment and ensures the security of all its clients’ data, the company also constantly reviews the applications and services it provides clients to ensure they are the best available. Since moving to the Cetrom cloud, the company has changed spam filters for the email a few times, and each time they seen an improvement. The current version now catches about 99.5 percent of all incoming spam emails-an immense improvement over our previous provider.
Perhaps the most important benefit of all is system reliability. Cetrom has a track record of zero downtime since its founding nearly 15 years ago. This one aspect returned nearly 10 hours of productivity back to DPG staff-equal to $50,000 annually-so they can focus on serving DPG clients. The cost savings from operational expenses in North Carolina-more than $70,000 annually-allowed them to move from Germantown, Maryland, location to a larger, nicer office in Frederick, Maryland, with double the capacity for staff.
Migrating to the cloud with Cetrom was one of the best business decisions DPG ever made. They have not had any downtime since DPG started with Cetrom, DPG data is available anytime, and they don’t receive complaints from the staff about technology issues anymore.
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