If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you might recall that we’ve written about Anderson Technologies’ avoidance of canned, one-size-fits-all solutions for IT. As a small business that specializes in serving other small businesses, we know that different clients have different needs. What works best for a small local nonprofit organization might cause more problems than it fixes for a bustling assisted-living facility.
The Kohn Partnership experienced this firsthand when they were looking for a new IT services provider.
A Personalized Approach
Founded by Michael and Catherine Kohn in 1986, The Kohn Partnership began as a family-owned and -operated law firm. Their daughter, attorney Liza Chollet, stuck to the firm’s guiding values and became the third partner in 2010. “Out of three daughters, I was the only one who went to work with them,” says Chollet, who jokingly describes herself as their “succession plan.”
The firm specializes in tax law, as well business and commercial law and estate planning. “We do the type of planning that you find at a bigger firm,” Chollet says, “but we do it in a way that’s more approachable to the business owner.”
We can put ourselves in their shoes and say, ‘This is what I would do for my business if I were you.’ I think that’s a value that you don’t get everywhere.
Much like Anderson Technologies, The Kohn Partnership focuses on serving local small businesses. “The types of planning we do for our clients you would traditionally find at larger firms, where most of the people you’re meeting with are partners but they don’t know what it takes to run the business,” Chollet says. “They can’t tell you those things that small business owners really do feel.”
Chollet continues: “Most of [our clients] are business owners, so we treat them the way we’d want to be treated—or better. We can put ourselves in their shoes and say, ‘This is what I would do for my business if I were you.’ I think that’s a value that you don’t get everywhere.”
Appealing For Change
Chollet recalls that when she first started at Kohn Partnership, the firm only had a server without backups to the cloud. If something went awry, their one-man, paid-by-the-hour IT provider would come and perform a quick patch job. Though this was a solution for any immediate emergencies, Chollet knew that they could benefit from investment in a new server backup system or better IT services altogether.
“Like any business owners, we don’t have time to deal with anything unnecessary in our day and we certainly don’t want to deal with technology that we don’t understand causing us issues,” Chollet says. “It’s crucial to have somebody who will always be available to answer those questions for you, because they do come up, even if you try to be proactive about it.” For Chollet, moving to managed services seemed like the right option.
After transitioning to a different IT company who advertised remote service capabilities and made empty promises of new hardware, The Kohn Partnership decided to reevaluate their needs and priorities concerning tech. “Maybe we should look at that relationship,” Chollet remembers thinking of Kohn Partnership’s previous IT partner.
The final straw happened when they moved The Kohn Partnership to Office 365 and OneDrive. This enterprise-grade business software has numerous benefits, but to The Kohn Partnership, without guidance from a managed services provider, it was more of a hindrance than an upgrade. “No one was telling us proactively ‘don’t put your computer to sleep’ or ‘don’t turn them off when you leave the office,’” Chollet says. This led to broken processes and incomplete data syncing that, even though The Kohn Partnership had all new computers, were working less effectively than before.
I’m just going to get out a typewriter and write letters that way because it would be faster than having to deal with my computer.
Instead of getting to the root of the OneDrive syncing problem, The Kohn Partnership’s previous IT company created a workaround that was inconsistent for the firm’s daily functions. Even less helpful was the company’s unapologetic attitude about the entire situation. “I didn’t get that they really gathered how annoying that glitch had been for us,” Chollet says. She remembers telling them “I’m just going to get out a typewriter and write letters that way because it would be faster than having to deal with my computer.”
Finally, Chollet met Anderson Technologies’ Principal Amy Anderson at a local networking event, and she decided to get a second opinion about their conundrum. “I’d heard her talk about their complimentary technology assessment,” Chollet says. After hearing about what The Kohn Partnership had experienced, “[Amy] said, ‘That doesn’t make any sense. Office 365 and OneDrive are widely used. It must not be configured properly because there’s nothing unique about your situation that would cause it to work so poorly.’”
The red flags that came up in The Kohn Partnership’s 2018 assessment were things that small businesses usually don’t realize they should be looking for, such as the lack of an enterprise-grade firewall and wireless internet routers—which their previous managed services provider should have immediately remedied. Since The Kohn Partnership deals with sensitive client data, ensuring they had a secure infrastructure was a top priority. And the issue with 365 had to be resolved in order to ensure their data was being replicated and shared internally properly.
After working with Anderson Technologies, Chollet says: “I trust that they’re not going to do something wrong and that they wouldn’t be telling me to buy something I didn’t need or that they wouldn’t do for themselves.”
Although Chollet is very enthusiastic about Anderson Technologies’ technical work, her real trust lies in Anderson Technologies’ accountability and responsibility to clients. Like The Kohn Partnership, Anderson Technologies is a small business for small businesses, and this value assures that the client’s best interests always come first. “That’s kind of their approach,” Chollet says, “that if they were me, they’d do XYZ. . . . They’re going to actually do what they say they’re going to do.”
They’re going to actually do what they say they’re going to do.
Anderson Technologies continues to assist The Kohn Partnership with onboarding new employees and installing hardware, including a high-speed scanner. Tax season is a very busy time for the firm, so it’s especially important that their computer infrastructure is now stable, ideally configured, reliable, and secure.
If your business IT needs some TLC (or even just a second opinion) contact Anderson Technologies today for a free consultation or call 314.394.3001.