Computers can be a real source of frustration. Even professionals outside the tech field know that IT issues can be some of the most maddening for employers and employees alike. Seemingly out of nowhere, technical systems can malfunction or seem to run differently in a way that hinders productivity and ideal workflows. Workers who use technology every day tend to adapt over time to work around these daily frustrations for fear of making the problem worse.
IT problems require brainstorming, troubleshooting, and teamwork. When confronting a work-interfering IT issue with your in-house tech support team or MSP, you may feel discouraged if a resolution is proving difficult or slow to appear. At Anderson Technologies we recognize that if a technical challenge beyond the everyday arises, multiple eyes and minds working together are needed to get to the root cause.
Strive Fails to Thrive
Strive Dental’s* story of complex IT issues began in 2020, when owner Dr. R contacted Anderson Technologies for help with an operating system that was no longer going to be supported once Windows 7 reached end of life. Dr. R had reached out to the firm years before, but ultimately chose a competing IT vendor to partner with. Now they were seeking another IT perspective, and Anderson Technologies was happy to help.
The small dental office’s hardware was severely under-performing due to Windows 7 running on all the employee’s machines. Their hardware was old and had passed through the hands of multiple IT vendors, and the in-house application they used to manage patient data was installed on a Windows 7 computer rather than a server. Each night, employees had to manually copy their patient data to a CD in case the computer or application crashed. Even worse, their machines ran an outdated version of the application, which gave the software vendor the option to refuse to support the product.
Strive Dental’s challenges proved that the techie adage “breaking one thing by fixing another” carries a sizable nugget of truth.
The older the systems became and the farther behind their software fell, Strive’s team became increasingly locked into a routine that required unnecessary steps and risks.
Anderson Technologies and Dr. R developed a game plan to replace some of Strive Dental’s old hardware and create a new server environment with more reliable security and backups. System Administrator J.R. Reynolds says, “We formulated a multi-tier approach that spanned over three weeks, starting with replacing all three of their employee workstations with brand new machines.” Anderson Technologies’ experts went on site to install the computers and migrate their data from the old machines.
“We installed the server on the same day, and worked with their vendor to install a clean version of their application on to the server,” Reynolds explains. “After upgrading the database that housed their patient data, we migrated the data to the new server and verified access from all of their workstations.” Knowing the amount of protected patient data imported to the new server, the team installed a brand-new switch, firewall, and wireless access point to round out Strive Dental’s infrastructure upgrade.
Strive Dental’s next technology hurdle was not due to the new computers themselves but rather stress on the surrounding infrastructure. Reynolds recalls, “When we attempted to verify the connectivity from the user workstations to the new network equipment, we were getting connectivity far slower than expected.”
Upon inspection, the team found three individual routers installed between the main switch and the workstations. These old, daisy-chained routers didn’t allow for the faster speeds granted by the new switch. “We had to remove all of the old routers’ wiring,” Reynolds says, “and replace them with custom-length cables that ran directly from each device to the new switch.”
Once resolved, the greatly improved network speed amplified another slow performance issue lurking inside their in-house patient management application. Anderson Technologies attempted to troubleshoot the issues with the application’s vendor. After forty hours of working with the vendor to resolve the problems, the vendor finally revealed that they had known about the issue for several months and were still working on a solution.
When Reynolds and the Anderson Technologies team brought their findings to Dr. R, both parties came to the conclusion that other software suites might be a better fit for Strive Dental. “We’re currently piloting software from another vendor that has a far superior application to track their patient data,” Reynolds says. With their shiny new machines, Strive Dental’s employees no longer have problematic software as a foregone conclusion.
Strive Dental’s challenges proved that the techie adage “breaking one thing by fixing another” carries a sizable nugget of truth. Often solving technical issues reveals other infrastructure problems that may have gone unnoticed if not for fixing the issue masking it—especially during a time when we’re all forced to adapt to new tech situations very quickly.
A problem’s root cause can almost always be detected with perseverance—and by having a team of dedicated professionals on your side. Been thinking about how you can improve your office infrastructure or circumvent everyday complications to make work smoother? Give us a call today at 314.394.3001!
*Business name has been changed and personnel redacted as part of Anderson Technologies’ dedication to client cyber security.