A change in business strategy often necessitates a change in IT strategy. For a 50-employee Midwestern company shifting from an advocacy platform to an e-commerce model, a forthcoming office move created an opportunity to start fresh and build an IT as a service (ITaaS) strategy that made sense for the new business model.
Reaching out to MicroAge’s Dave Haller was a critical early step. The company, which was building an e-commerce site to serve as an intermediary between buyers and sellers in a niche industry, was moving offices in the Midwest and opening a second office on the East Coast. And they had little interest in having hardware take up any of their space.
Part 1: ITaaS Strategy Starts with Hosted VDI, Hosted Data Center, Networking
“They wanted to get the business up and running as soon as possible,” Dave explains. “We went on site to understand the environment they were looking to create for the business.”
Together, MicroAge and the company’s chief technology officer determined that an ITaaS environment would be ideal, starting with a hosted data center and hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as well as a powerful network in each office. “They didn’t want to be in the hardware business,” Dave explains. “They didn’t want to buy storage or servers, so the hosted VDI and hosted data center made sense.”
MicroAge’s services partners cabled the locations and installed, configured and are maintaining the IT infrastructure.
“This solution allows them to have minimal hardware to maintain while ensuring peak performance,” Dave notes.
For internet, MicroAge selected 150MB MPLS primary data line, as well as a 250 MB cable data line for backup at both locations from each area’s best providers. Cisco Meraki was the networking choice, including MX65W firewalls, MR42 wireless access points and MS250-48LP switches.
And the VDI system utilizes HP t520 Flexible Thin Clients, which boast a reliable desktop experience for a virtual network.
Part 2: Communication Strategy
The company also needed an effective communication strategy that can grow with the business. MicroAge evaluated the best performing hosted and onsite UCaaS providers to give them reliable communications for the entire company and detailed analytics for their call center.
“Finding the right communications partner and being able to utilize data from the call center to gauge how well the client is taking care of their customers is crucial to their business’s success,” says Dave.
After an RFP was put out to the top national providers, Mitel MiCloud with Contact Center functionality was chosen with the help of MicroAge.
Part 3: Hosted Help Desk and Azure App Development
As the project came together, the client told Dave he didn’t have the personnel to handle help desk issues. MicroAge had the solution, functioning as a hosted help desk, MicroAge is managing and troubleshooting employees’ challenges.
“This help desk service means the client has to spend less time dealing with employee break/fix issues,” Dave adds.
As they built their new site, it became clear the company needed a small independent development site. Microsoft’s Azure provides a cloud platform that allows app developers to build their product without needing the infrastructure to do it.
“The Azure platform gives them a secure testing environment for improvements to be made to the website and other areas of the business,” Dave says.
With MicroAge’s help, the client is prepared for a late-summer deployment of their new website. “We helped transform their business,” Dave adds. “With our IT strategy, we’re helping to lead a fundamental change in the way their business operates.”
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