By Client Success Manager Ryenn Gaebler
Finding a firm that values the same things you do is the only way a business partnership can be successful in today’s corporate landscape. If your company’s core value is providing the highest quality product in the most sustainable way possible, a partner with the same goals can be difficult to locate.
DP is CFO of his region’s oldest sustainable printing company, founded in 1923. He’s been with the company since 2010 and has lots of hands-on experience with technology. Some of the company’s goals were too big to accomplish on their own, or with their current IT provider. I sat down with DP to discuss what makes a great business partnership, what influences choosing who to work with, and tackling onboarding struggles together.
RG: Tell me about what’s made your company so successful after nearly 100 years of business.
DP: What makes us different from other printers is that we have always stood for quality in the industry. We have never been one of the companies in this industry that says we will sacrifice quality for price. We always go above and beyond to make sure that when the finished product comes out, it’s at the highest quality possible.
It’s all about trying to differentiate yourself in the market. Printing is a shrinking market, and it’s a very competitive market right now. You’re trying to stay ahead of the game. We are constantly looking at new equipment to put us above the marketplace.
What aspects of IT were the biggest concern to your company?
When it comes to IT, we’re trying to reduce our footprint and start consolidating. We had an aging server, a virtual server, but it was clearly out of support. We were constantly having problems with it locking up, shutting down, and locking files. We needed to get everything off of that and moved on to another server. Before we went with Anderson [Technologies], we had seven or eight servers in a rack system. We’re in the process now [of] trying to reduce that to reduce electricity costs, reduce carbon footprints, and a few other things.
One of the things that we started doing: automating things as much as possible. We have automation software that we had to buy a separate computer that runs our automation. That is something that we’ve been working on for a number of years. When we started, we probably had 1 or 2% of our projects going through that automation. Now about 40% of our work uses that automation. An important part of our growth in this industry is automating. And that’s where bigger, faster, better computers come into place.
Last thing you want is to have a computer that does 40% of your work go down.
We just got to the point to where we knew it was time to make a change sooner than later.
Given your heavy reliance on IT that needs to stay up and running, what problems inspired your search for a new managed services provider?
We were completely at the mercy of the previous IT person. We’ve had roughly the same people handling our system since 2011, but it’s been off and on with different people within that organization.
We were completely at the mercy of the previous IT person.
It is a strange thing. I was out there. I started looking for new IT provider probably almost a year ago, when I knew there was time to make a change. The owner of our company had received an email from [Anderson Technologies’ Business Development Executive] Libby [Powers]. . . I was actually in the process of interviewing through a variety of companies when he gave me your company’s name. And that’s when I got you guys involved. It was quite interesting. I’ve never gotten any emails from your company, and he just got one out of the blue. And that’s what started this thing.
We were in the right place at right time! At what point in the sales process did you know Anderson Technologies would be your next IT provider?
I got it narrowed down to two [IT] companies I was looking at. Some things with [the other company] I wasn’t a fan of. I think they were really good, but I think they would somewhat nickel and dime a few things. With [the other company], there were a couple things that I had asked for information on, and the response time wasn’t quick enough. When I did get the response, it basically came back with more questions. I felt that I was very, very specific on what I was looking for and just never really got any good responses.
I will tell you they were cheaper than you guys—about 5% when all was said and done. But overall, it was worth paying the extra money. We tell our customers, “If you want the best, you’re going to have to pay a little bit extra for it.” We felt, out of the companies we interviewed, you guys are the best of those.
[My company’s owner] came to me after telling him about all the opportunities with these two companies and basically said, ‘We’re done with this. Hire Anderson [Technologies] and be done with it.’ He was pretty much the final say on it. I’d had it narrowed down at that point, and everything I had was leaning towards you guys.
I really appreciate the fact that the owner of [your] company came out and actually sat down and talked to us. When it wasn’t just one person coming on, it was showing that, to me, the owner of the company was really into our company. That’s what actually sold us on it.
Would you share with our readers some of the initial projects that we knew we’d need to tackle together?
Our backup system wasn’t as good as we thought it was, and the [previous] IT person who was handling them had fallen off on doing a number of things that he should have been doing. We had … issues where we temporarily lost data, but it cost us money to get it back. But we also failed [to correctly back up the data] and basically encrypted all the files, and we had to pay to get them fixed and back onto the server. We didn’t have a good backup to just restore this data. So having a good backup plan, something put in place [by Anderson Technologies], was… most important.
At that time, it was just various projects that we were looking at—getting some hardware changed out, things like that. Trying to figure out how we can consolidate. That’s pretty much an ongoing project right now.
What was the onboarding process like? How has your experience with Anderson Technologies been so far?
Speaking with [Systems Administrators] Luke and JR—they’ve been fantastic helping us game plan on what needs to be done and getting these things done. For me, I have a lot of experience at this point in time in IT, so I’m able to do a number of things, day to day, things that are simple where your group doesn’t have to get involved, which I think makes it a lot easier for you guys. We’ve also set it up to where myself and [another point of contact at the company] are the only ones that actually put in service calls so you’re not getting calls from individuals all the time. Because of that, I think this relationship is working out very well. We have no complaints; I can tell you that.
I have personally put in at least five or six service calls through the system, and they seem to get responded [to] really quick. One of the projects that we had was getting off of [our] VPN system and getting onto a Splashtop streamer. That that took a little longer, but it was more or less because our people won’t get back to your people quickly enough. Other than that, we haven’t had any issues or complaints or anything that I would change at this point in time.
We were very happy that we ended up choosing Anderson Technologies, have been very happy with everyone that we’ve dealt with. It’s been a good experience for us, and hopefully we have a long, long time of doing this together.
The relationship we have with you guys is fantastic. The ownership and the leadership team in this company has been very happy with the progress that they’ve done. And more forward thinking on these projects.
Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with me, and with our readers. And if you’re reading this and want to hear more about working with Anderson Technologies, drop us a line!