You may not be familiar with Crystal Marble, but if you’ve ever visited Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Health Sciences Research Building on Emory University’s main campus, then you’ve seen their work. For more than 45 years, the Cumming, Ga.-based company has built its business and reputation as the premier stone setting company in the Southeast. As a subcontractor in dimension cut stone for commercial projects, Crystal Marble works with many of the state’s top contractors including Holder Construction, Brasfield & Gorrie, Balfour Beatty and Batson & Cook to name just a few.
The late Ralph Brannon founded Crystal Marble in 1971 and his three sons Brent, Brad and Cliff, eventually joined their father in the family business. Imported marble, granite and natural stone from all over the globe including Spain, Italy, Portugal, China and many other countries are used in their breathtaking projects. Commercial projects make up about 90 percent of their business, but they do cater to residential clients, offering appointment-only showroom visits.
Crystal Marble is a full-service company offering a full-time estimating, drafting and project management staff. Brian Wheeler is the chief draftsman and has been in charge of doing all the shop drawings for both commercial and residential projects, which he likens to putting a huge 3D puzzle together. "Every piece has to fit with every other piece, and it's really satisfying when you start from scratch and see a product through to the finish without many hiccups, problems or issues," he said.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said about handling the company's IT network, a duty which also fell upon Brian's shoulders. The technology pain points for Crystal Marble before hiring MIS Solutions was two-fold. First getting their previous IT providers to respond to their issues in a timely manner was a challenge, to say the least. The second issue was there were no preventive measures in place to maintain the health and stability of the company's network.
Brian was able to help with about half of the staff’s IT issues. But it was that other half – and the fact that he couldn’t get the IT vendor to return his calls – that had him spending a considerable amount of time on Google trying to find a fix for every technology problem that popped up. Brian guesses that he probably spent a couple of hours each day, and sometimes more, trying to find answers to the company’s IT problems. This, of course, took valuable time away from Brian and kept him from doing his actual job of drafting.
The next IT company, which was actually a software company, met their needs for a while. But the proverbial straw that forced Brian to find a more responsive vendor was when he called in with a critical IT issue and got no response at all. A quick call to the company several days later revealed that the only technician on staff was no longer with the company which left the folks at Crystal Marble in quite a bind.
When Team MIS first assessed Crystal Marble’s network, they found several gaps in security. Not having a dedicated service provider to proactively monitor their system left them vulnerable to malicious software which could result in costly downtime. “We were pleased with MIS Solutions’ analysis and recommendations,” said Brenda Cash, controller for Crystal Marble. “They listened to our problems and discussed recommendations. And they continue to schedule quarterly meetings to review and discuss the health of our network.”
It’s MIS’s proactive monitoring and support of the company’s network that has improved productivity and prevented any major IT interruptions. “We’re heavily dependent on email,” said Wheeler. “If I am down a day, I am missing bids and we don’t know if we have any problems in the field. So our emails are really important.” A failover system to automatically switch to another line should something happen to the main email line was implemented by MIS. That recommendation and knowing that someone is actively keeping watch over their system has saved Wheeler a lot of stress and worry. “Recently, we had a power outage for part of our building. James (an MIS technician) picked up the phone and called us to find out what was happening. He called us! And he rebooted the system and got us back up without me being involved. Having MIS as our IT provider really takes the tension off of me, because I feel like when MIS tells me something, I can take it to the bank.”
“MIS takes away all of our doubts and the stress of computer issues,” added Cash. “Their team is great to work with – positive, prompt and friendly. I feel like they are part of our business.”
MIS Solutions is a No Band-Aids, Highly Accountable IT Services Provider in Metro Atlanta. Let us show you what reliable, friendly, local IT support looks like!