Case Study B
Association B is a trade association of 50 staff with a headquarters office in Bethesda, MD with a small number of users operating completely from the road throughout the country. Before they began working with designDATA, they had an outsourced managed service provider handle their IT assets using an in-house hosting model. All server equipment was the property of the managed services provider on a shared domain with other customers, including hosted Exchange 2003 email, file sharing, and financial databases. Even their laptops and desktops, which belonged to Association B, were joined to this shared domain and could not be customized by Association B. This association did not have any in-house IT staff, and relied completely on this managed service provider for both their day-to-day IT needs as well as their strategic IT direction.
When Association B began looking to expand their IT capabilities, they found themselves trapped by the hosting model of their managed services provider. Because their production servers were part of a shared multi-tenant environment, they were unable to customize or scale their services.
Unable to upgrade to a new email system, install new applications, or allow their in-house financial database to communicate with their Web site, and combined with poor customer service and lack of responsiveness, Association B began looking for a consultant to give them options on transitioning away from their managed service provider.
Solutions Implemented by designDATA
designDATA came in and provided a comprehensive IT Systems Assessment of the organization. This document helped Association B outline a plan to extract themselves from their current managed service provider while maintaining their data and email, all while minimizing expense and downtime to their user base.
Utilizing experienced project management and project engineers, with all work performed after-hours and not impacting the production day, designDATA was able to stand up a completely parallel network utilizing the latest Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system, all owned entirely by Association B. With minimal cooperation from the existing managed service provider, all Association B data (including files, emails, and financial databases) were copied to these new servers and brought online for staff to utilize. All existing workstations were also disjoined from the shared domain and re-joined to the new domain, which designDATA performed over a weekend without impacting staff productivity. Association B was able to completely sever ties with their old managed service provider without losing access to any of their business data.
Following the migration, these new servers were brought into designDATA’s vHost environment to take advantage of a Tier-4 datacenter. Association B has also been able to work with designDATA to expand their IT capabilities, including allowing integration between their hosted Web site and their in-house financial database, implementing a workstation imaging solution to facilitate workstation replacement, deploy new phone logging and security monitoring systems, and deploy and provide training on Microsoft Office 2010 to all of their users.
Benefits to the Organization
Today, Association B enjoys a fully stable and supportable environment. They have migrated from a shared environment that they had no control over to a private infrastructure in a Tier-4 datacenter facility. Backups, critical system patching, and antivirus services are managed by a specialized Systems Administration team that includes 24/7 monitoring and remediation, and helpdesk services are provided by specially trained Service Desk engineers available 24/7 for their national workforce. They have been able to replace workstations quicker and in a more cost-effective manner to ensure their staff’s productivity is not held back by old technology. Remote staff are able to access centralized resources in their datacenter through a secure VPN connection, eliminating the backup concerns, security risks, and sharing problems of keeping documents on their laptops while traveling.
By utilizing designDATA’s unique mix of engineering, consulting, and datacenter services, Association B has been able to take control of their IT environment, has confidence in its management, and is able to grow it in the direction they need for their business.