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Archive for the ‘Managed Services’ Category

Enhancing Business Outcomes Through IT

Posted on: February 7th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

The Network Team recently hired Jeanne Pritt with People Outcomes to help us formulate a strategic plan for the company over the next three years.   As part of our planning, we came up with a new Mission/Vision statement, which is: “TNT exists to be the technology champion for our customers by enhancing business outcomes through IT.”

That is more than just a fun marketing slogan.  TNT has many examples from current clients of just enhancing business outcomes.

Here are a few:

Commercial Construction company with 10 branch offices in 3 states

Business Challenge: The construction company was losing money and employee productivity due to intermittent lack of access to vital tools, files, and communication necessary to perform their jobs.

Enhanced Business Outcome: The company saves hundreds of thousands of dollars with increased employee productivity due to improved availability of work tools and company resources.

The construction company was experiencing 1-2 days of computer/network downtime in each location every 1-3 years.  These episodes of downtime were expensive in lost productivity and were usually caused by the local server going down due to hardware failure, lack of software updates, or security issues.

TNT implemented two Managed Services solutions that have both reduced the frequency of these computer/network downtime episodes, and reduced the duration of downtime events from days to minutes.  The TNT solutions included 24x7 monitoring and management of the branch office servers to predict hardware failures, keep server services running, and manage patches and updates as well as a BDR/BC (Backup Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity) solution that places a backup appliance in each branch office and includes off-site cloud storage of data and images so that all of the functions of the local server can be run from the cloud if/when that physical server goes down.

Four-campus seminary with just over 2000 students.

Business Challenge: The seminary was unable to fully leverage digital teaching and distance education.

Enhanced Business Outcome: The seminary is gaining more students locally, domestically, and internationally by fully embracing the digital age as part of their instruction methods.

The ways in which education and teaching are digested were changing, and the seminary wanted to stay ahead of those changes. The professors had grand ideas on how to incorporate multimedia and the digital age into their instruction methods. Additionally, the seminary had a desire to introduce more virtual learning for their distance learners to make their experience as close to the classroom as possible.

Unfortunately, none of these ideas were possible with the existing network infrastructure. The network was too slow and not capable of handling the traffic required for professors to take the next steps with their classroom technologies. TNT came in and designed a state of the art new network that was optimized from the ground up. The collapsed core infrastructure model allowed the network to be fast and efficient, while staying simple to manage.  The 10GB backbone could easily handle any and all traffic the professors could possibly want to throw at it. The new network empowered the professors to embrace the digital age as part of their instruction methods and allowed the seminary to stay relevant in the burgeoning field of distance learning.

 

Mutli-state music festival attracting more than 30,000 visitors

Business Challenge: Music festival planners did not have specific metrics on those interested in their festival, making marketing difficult.

Enhanced Business Outcome: Festival planners now have more detailed information on customers, allowing marketing to better target potential attendees.

One of the largest bluegrass festival in the world it happens in North Carolina each Spring.  Organizers found they did not have specific metrics on prospective attendees.  TNT upgraded their phone system to replace it with a Cisco Power voice infrastructure that allowed them to get additional reporting metrics that they didn’t have before.

On the morning that tickets went on sale, we were able to show them that 1 in 8 phone calls were originating in Japan.  Sure, they knew that the festival was international, but they didn’t realize that Japanese interest was so great.

This created an opportunity for them to create marketing material to accommodate their Japanese following.  This lead to additional revenue.

 

You can read more examples here.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you by enhancing business outcomes through IT.

How Your Computer Network is like a Dishwasher

Posted on: January 24th, 2018 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Every house is full of items that you expect to “just work.”  The roof should not leak.  If it doesn’t leak, you don’t celebrate that, you expect it.

Same goes for the hot water heater, the light switch and the ceiling fan.  Perhaps we should express gratitude, but we don’t.

The dishwasher, when it works, is no different.  That said, every few/several years, the dishwasher breaks.  The most common response to its failure is to replace it. When it is down and doesn’t work anymore, you are upset, as the flow of kitchen processes is broken.  No more rinsing and stacking in the dishwasher after the meal.  When the dishwasher is down and there isn’t a replacement dishwasher or dishwasher repair on the horizon, you hand wash the dishes.

You never get used to it.  You look forward to having a new one.

When the dishwasher worked, you ignored it.  You didn’t spend any money and probably no time, either, maintaining it.  The only time you spend money on it is when it doesn’t work.

Your Computer Network is Similar

We conclude that businesses treat their computer network the same way that they treat their dishwasher.  They spend money, albeit reluctantly, when it is first installed, then they spend near nothing at all keeping it secure and up to date.  Only when it breaks and is unusable do business leaders respond to maintenance and security issues seriously.  In the meantime, users who make the money for the business yearn for the days when the technology works the way it used to work.

Normally, when something mission critical fails to perform, people ask, “what can we do to prevent that from happening again?”  The answer is a consistent, “we need to take care of it before it breaks, to reduce the risk.”

No one challenges this thinking.  Today’s response of asking an already overloaded IT department to “stay on top” of computer network issues results in more of the same, with perhaps the addition of some monitoring tools that claim to keep you informed.

No one has the time to review those tools.  Heck, they don’t even have time to finish the projects that are top of mind to everyone in the company, let alone the maintenance tasks that may or may not make a difference.

TNT’s Fully Managed Network means just that.  We “fully” manage it.

We provide equipment at no cost to you.

We put the equipment in, again, with no cost to you.

We do all the updates, moves and changes as part of our monthly fee.

We keep your network secure with patches on the firewall, network switches and access points, sending you only monthly reports of our findings.

We don’t want you to treat your network like a dishwasher.  We want you to have a predictable race car, where we do the oil changes, tire rotations and the like.  Use our stuff to go fast and let us worry about the rest.

Learn more about TNT's Fully Managed Networks here.

Managed IT Services Relieve Frustrations at Monroe, NC Non-Profit

Posted on: April 6th, 2017 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

“The best way to explain TNT and their work is that they exceed expectations…in ability, intelligence, dedication, customer care, responsiveness, etc.” Ashely Lantz, Turning Point Executive Director of TNT's managed IT services

Turning Point is a non-profit based in Monroe, NC that aims to end domestic and sexual assault.  Executive director Ashley Lantz approached The Network Team after receiving less than ideal experience with the current IT provider.  This included frequent disruptions in service that adversely affected the ability of employees to do their jobs effectively. The current managed IT services provider was not meeting expectations with regards to responsiveness and on-site support.

The Network Team performed a migration project that enabled Turning Point’s technology environment to be better equipped in serving its business needs. This included moving Turning Point’s server from their old MSP’s cloud to on-premises, ensuring better up-time availability and simplifying the setup, as well as migrating Turning Point’s e-mail services to the Microsoft Office 365 cloud. TNT also installed Cisco Meraki access points, switching, and a firewall for better WiFi coverage, faster connection speeds, and more reliable security. Referencing the project, Lantz noted that

“TNT has provided the BEST customer service and dedication to our needs that I have ever had. They have consistently exceeded my expectations in response time and grit to get the transition completed successfully. Any issues that have occurred have been corrected. The engineers worked through the night to have us ready to work the next day.”

TNT will continue to proactively manage the IT environment of Turning Point, providing help desk support via e-mail, phone, ticketing system, chat and on-site support.  TNT will also proactively monitor the server, switches, firewall and wireless access points, and maintain continuous IT security.

“I have nothing but great things to say about our transition from our old IT provider to The Network Team (TNT). They worked diligently to make sure that everything was taken care of. We met from the start to decide what was needed and they worked with ourold provider to make sure that everything was moved over correctly. IT transitions are always scary, but TNT made sure to answer all of our questions and worked around the clock to make sure that we weren’t down during this time,” said Lantz.

Wondering if Managed IT Services can help your business?  Learn more by downloading our free E-Book, "Should Your Company Outsource IT?"

Managed IT Services

Windows Server 2016 – Free Labor and Training from TNT

Posted on: July 28th, 2016 by Jessica Diehl No Comments

Microsoft is set to release Windows Server 2016 to the public during its Ignite Conference September 26-30th.  Windows Server 2016 is billed as 'cloud-ready' and has perhaps more new features for overall performance increases than any other version ever released.  It promises new levels of security and increased flexibility as your company grows.  The Network Team wants all of our customers to experience the product as soon as is possible.

We have created a limited time special offer to help you kick the tires of Windows 2016 before you dive all the way in.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase one instance of Server 2016 on your network
  2. Commit to a date to install the instance on your network before October 29, 2016. (You do not need to have it installed before October 29th. You just need to commit to a date before then.)
  3. TNT will provide you the labor and training for that instance at no cost.

There are some caveats1.

Windows Server 2016 has several flavors and colors to choose from.  TNT will continue to do what we do best:  help you pick the version that is right for you and create a plan to migrate to this version.  Our certified engineers and even our president are taking ownership of migrating our internal network to Windows Server 2016, so we can share with you not only other customers’ experiences but our internal use stories as well.

The release of a new version of Windows Server is a good reminder that many older versions are either no longer supported by Microsoft, or soon won’t be.  TNT recommends that by the end of the year, all users be on supported versions of the Windows Server, and make sure that all hardware and software utilized by users day in and day out be covered by our managed services and manufacturer’s warranty.

1TNT will install exactly one instance of Windows Server 2016 as a virtual machine.  TNT will install it on a new machine if and only if there are no other operating systems on that machine.  The follow technologies will be demoed:

  • a Nano server (which is a new feature in Windows Server 2016 that, among other things, improves efficiency), running either locally or remotely
  • a single containerized application
  • management interfaces

TNT will join this server to the domain and create shares and remote access to it for administrators to “play” with.  It is not intended to be used as a production device but as a learning tool.

Don’t miss out on this offer of free labor and training.  Contact TNT today to register for the deal before it’s too late.

The Network Team