A multi-tasking world
Emma White has a difficult job on her hands. As PA to the busy founders of quantity surveyor Cullum Morris Powles (CMP), her daily workload was busy enough. To compound matters, all the company’s IT problems land at her door.
There used to be many such problems at the company, which serves a diverse range of customers from its offices in Warwick and Nuneaton. With jobs ranging from Madame Tussauds in London to military facilities in Afghanistan, it maintains a high volume of prestigious work. There isn’t much room for error.
Restricted by outdated IT support
Formed in 1994, CMP had used an IT support company for years to manage its diverse infrastructure, which mixes Macs with laptop and desktop PCs, some of which are currently six years old. As its needs grew, its support service was fraying at the edges.
There was no real way of logging or tracking support calls or monitoring service level agreements, recalls White, and the IT support service was reactive. The more CMP grew, the more the gaps showed, and the more stressed she became.
When IT issues arose, CMP’s former IT service provider would apply makeshift solutions but they would soon resurface, exasperating already irritated employees who would bring the problems back to her desk . “It was a sticking plaster,” she recalls. “They never really fixed the problem.”
The unreliable IT support service made her job difficult, but she coped until things came to a head. CMP’s IT problems began to affect its business.
“Some surveyors would have to work from home,” she says, explaining that this further ate into morale. It also contributed to CMP’s costs because it lost valuable staff time.
Connectivity and computing problems would also stop the collaborative software that CMP used from synchronising data that its customers relied upon. “If it wasn’t syncing, you'd be on a different version of a file and the numbers would be missing,” she says. “That got embarrassing in front of clients.”
Proactive managed services
“We’re a professional company and now we feel backed by a professional IT company.”
Probrand called White on just the right day, following another badly managed system problem at CMP. She invited the company in to discuss its services. Impressed by its presentation, she gave it a contract for hardware and software support, a managed firewall and managed anti-virus software, and a cloud-based phone system.
Moving to another provider was a scary proposition for White, who couldn’t afford any more IT mishaps. “I was nervous about moving over. If it didn’t work out, it would be on my head,” she said. “But it was the best decision I ever made.”
Now, when an employee has a problem, they log a call and provide a code from an asset tag attached to their computer. White gets an email logging the job. “If I needed to chase, I could call them and give them the job number, but I don’t need to, because they’ll always call me back,” she says.
The strongest stress reliever for her, though, is that when Probrand fixes something, it stays fixed. “I know Probrand will do it correctly,” she says.
Rigorous service doesn’t have to be impersonal. While Probrand’s strict focus on process means that things get done the right way, on time, every time, there is still room for flexibility. White feels able to approach Probrand’s helpdesk for general background computing advice.
“If I want a little advice, I can call them and it might be out of their remit, but they’re still really good,” she adds.
Services that deliver business results
“Probrand has cut our downtime by 20%, increasing productivity and morale.”
Working with Probrand brought several key benefits to CMP.
- Reduced downtime. Probrand’s more process-driven system has cut computer and network downtime by 20%.
- Increased productivity and morale. While hard to quantify, there is a better sense of morale around the office, and surveyors know that it will just work, says White. She is also now free to concentrate on her main task of supporting the company directors in their work.
- Better service at lower cost. Probrand offered a better class of anti-malware protection, along with a much improved firewall. Yet the overall contract cost is lower than its previous one.
- More contract visibility. The previous contract obscured service pricing and hid critical details such as the connectivity provider’s identity. Now, CMP has full visibility of what it’s paying for.
- Better cybersecurity. CMP is more confident in its cybersecurity thanks to enterprise-class anti-malware protection and a firewall.
With Probrand’s help, CMP feels more confident it can cope with a busy workload while relying on a robust, functional IT infrastructure. As White puts it: “We’re a professional company and now we feel backed by a professional IT company.”