Founded in 2015, BrightBridge Solutions is a software solutions provider specialising in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The company focuses on Oracle NetSuite, along with Sage and Microsoft, providing a mixture of cloud and on-premises solutions to customers in sectors including manufacturing, professional services, warehousing, and distribution.
A number of BrightBridge's customers maintain on-premises solutions that make more technical and economic sense for them than cloud solutions. In many cases, companies would rather continue to support these solutions and then upgrade them in an on-premises environment than move to the cloud. This is especially true of Sage users, explains Alan Rich, Sage Customer Manager at BrightBridge. Many of them are still using legacy versions of the software.
To support its Sage users, BrightBridge depends on robust, IT hardware infrastructure that is properly specified and configured. However, as a company with a focus on software solutions and professional services delivery it doesn't have an in-house capability for deploying or maintaining hardware. Infrastructure support requires an entirely different set of technical skills, and hardware support has different underlying economics to a software services business.
In opting to outsource its infrastructure support, BrightBridge needed a hardware infrastructure partner that also understood the software side of its business. It was looking for a reliable company that offered a seamless experience for BrightBridge customers.
BrightBridge Solutions encountered Probrand when the Midlands-based IT support and consulting company was working with an existing BrightBridge customer. It was so impressed with Probrand's operation that it began referring hardware support contracts to the company.
Probrand and BrightBridge quickly became confident when working together. In some cases, Brightbridge`s Alan Rich visits a customer site along with his account executive at Probrand, to discuss the customers' needs together. In many cases, though, he will simply refer his customer to Probrand to manage their infrastructure needs.
Probrand's customer engagements with BrightBridge often begin with basic break/fix support contracts. However, as customers grow confident with Probrand's technology expertise, they will turn to it for their other infrastructure needs.
BrightBridge customers must eventually upgrade their IT infrastructure so that it can support newer versions of their Sage software. BrightBridge uses Probrand's services for these jobs, which often then expand into other areas including cybersecurity.
Working with Probrand has delivered several important benefits for BrightBridge Solutions. The most significant is peace of mind, explains Alan. "They know what they're doing," he says. "Whatever it is, they'll just go in and take care of it. They've got good people who produce good results."
The two companies work together seamlessly, Alan explains. Each project brings a deeper understanding of each others' roles and processes, to the point where they become like two seasoned master carpenters, each implicitly aware of what the other is doing almost without needing to speak.
One of the biggest advantages of working with Probrand is the quality of its staff, Alan adds. This goes beyond just technical expertise, he says - it's about attitude. The boundaries between a hardware infrastructure project and a software application job are not clearly defined. Software requirements such as application routing and security have a direct impact on hardware configurations like IP addressing. This means the networking configuration team must understand the network addressing setup for the Sage software.
"Other IT companies are not always software-sympathetic," he explains. "They will replace a hard drive and assume they've done their bit without reloading any software.".
Conversely, Probrand staff go the extra mile, ensuring that the hardware is ready for the software. This means that the BrightBridge team can access properly configured hardware, speeding up their own projects. "I don't know what I'd do without them", Alan adds. "They don't think of their solutions in isolation. They have built up an understanding of the Sage system over time."
When issues do arise, Probrand provides a single point of contact with the company.Alan explains: "It's a great benefit to me to know that if I've got any infrastructure or any issues to do with infrastructure, I can just give it to our ProBrand account manager and get it sorted out," he says. "It's like having an employee working for BrightBridge."
This confidence in the Probrand team has enabled BrightBridge Solutions to step back and hand over infrastructure contracts to the company, secure in the knowledge that the Probrand team will look after its customers. In some cases, Probrand has stepped in to fix major emergencies for clients.
In one instance a customer needed hosted infrastructure, quickly. BrightBridge called in Probrand.
"The Probrand team went from not knowing this customer at all to having a technical team working nights and weekends creating a hosted environment for them and getting it all working," he says.
This kind of working relationship doesn't happen overnight. Trust takes years to earn. Now that Probrand has proven itself to BrightBridge, it has become a foundational partner in a relationship that will serve customers for years to come.