A recent client came to CCSiT, having been dissatisfied with their previous IT supplier’s level of service. The client designs and deploys water pump and hydroponics solutions. They were using a server running a dedicated database software and retail front. Their systems were approximately six years old and well overdue for an upgrade. Staff were experiencing regular dropouts on the server and internet connection, which resulted in delays from their retail front-end software, and also impacting their email flow. We went onsite with the client and discussed the owner’s business requirements, whilst our engineer inspected the setup on a more technical level.
Replacing Ad-Hoc with an IT Strategy
Using the CCSiT approach, our focus was to implement of an overarching IT strategy, rather than short-sightedly looking at a particular solution that attended to a given problem. Working with our client we were able to establish an appropriate IT strategy and agree on long term goals.
Assessing the Client’s Needs
The owner discussed the need for a system that would allow for the possibility of scaling in the future, if they were to open up additional retail shops. The owner expressed concerns of a change in IT system causing any instability. The business depends on their database system to function, needing an operational system was vital for their retail front-end. The other concern was that while business was doing well, cash flow was not great at the time, so cost was also a significant factor in any changes.
Addressing Those Needs
The first step of the strategy we prepared for the client was to stabilise the current infrastructure, ensuring that any implemented solution would be scalable. The IT solution we proposed was an onsite server along with a hybrid Cloud solution for emails.
Essentially, our plan was to put a ‘branch style’ server in place at the main office, providing an in-house platform for the database software. We also suggested implementing a hosted (ie. Cloud) email solution, thus significantly lowering the requirements (and cost) of the inhouse server. Finally, we recommended an appropriate backup solution be put in place.
Tailoring the Solution
After discussing this proposal, however the owner expressed concern over the upfront costs. We then readjusted the process of the overall solution, still fitting in with the agreed upon IT strategy and the following improvements were put in place;
- The hosted email solution was implemented immediately, removing a significant load from the existing server, as well as ensuring the disaster recovery is now quick and easy.
- Approximately six weeks later, a new server was purchased and the database system was migrated across, with a temporary backup solution put in place in the meantime.
- And finally, another six weeks later, a more robust backup solution was put in place.
By moving forward with this kind of staged approach, the client was able to still receive the full solution with minimal financial outlay and without compromising on quality.
This approach also ensured their IT strategy remained intact, so they are positioned to achieve their long-term IT goals, further proving that by putting a good, solid IT solution in place, will save your business money over time, by providing increased staff efficiency and less overall downtime.