Sounds cliché, but for William Shepherd, of Grant Shepherd and Associates, it’s true. The engineering and surveying company learned this the hard way when an unfortunate sewer backup in their office destroyed, among other things, their phone system. Unaware that MIS Solutions, its managed IT services provider, installs and manages VoIP phone systems, Shepherd contacted the vendor that had initially installed the now-kaput PBX. And that’s when things went south.
Grant Shepherd and Associates was founded by William’s father, Seaton Grant Shepherd Jr., after leaving a large engineering and surveying company in downtown Atlanta. He and his wife, Lynne, operated their business out of their basement during the early years. William joined the family business in 2000 as the director of surveying and planning. Today, the company has 18 employees and provides indispensable services to builders and developers, as well as homeowners throughout the Southeast and abroad. 2016 marked the 25th anniversary for the Lawrenceville, Ga., company.
Through the years, GS&A applied a variety of stopgap technology solutions including working with vendors whose primary services are not IT to the individual computer guy who knew a little about technology. As the company’s technology needs grew, so did the demand for an IT provider who could, not only keep up, but also bring to the table innovative ideas to help move the business forward.
And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship between GS&A and MIS Solutions. The highly knowledgeable engineers and consultants were successful in turning the company’s IT nightmare into a secure, stable network. “Once we signed on with MIS, everything started running smoothly and was unbelievably great,” said William, until the sewer backup landed the company in a foul situation – both figuratively and literally.
GS&A’s original phone service provider convinced him that they would need to use their IT managed services in order for them to install a new VoIP phone system. So after nearly three seamless years with MIS Solutions, William reluctantly switched IT providers – and regretted it immediately.
Within a matter of two weeks, William realized his new IT vendor was subpar and unable to offer the level of service he was accustomed to with MIS. “I picked up the phone called Derek and Jennifer,” he said. “I said, ‘please, I want you to come over to the office so I can explain what happened, where we are, why we took the route we did – and beg you for your forgiveness! Now we’re back with MIS with smiles across everybody’s faces!”
Two of the things William and his team missed most during the “break” was MIS’s personnel and how quickly they responded in getting the network back on track. “The people on MIS’s team have been unbelievable in terms of courtesy, professionalism, knowledge and responsiveness,” said Iesha White, office manager at GS&A.
“It’s just jaw-dropping. It really is,” added William. “Other vendors should take a page out of MIS’s playbook on how to treat customers, how to be responsive and then back that up with the knowledge and execution of what they offer. It’s a complete package.
“Being back with MIS just gives me peace of mind knowing that my technology is functioning seamlessly behind the scenes without it interfering with and disrupting our day-to-day operations. It allows us to concentrate and focus our attention on what we’re in business for. We’re not in business to worry about computers, viruses, networks and servers. We’re in business to provide land surveying and engineering consulting and construction layout services – that’s what we’re good at; that’s what we specialize in. And if we’re having to worry about a virus on our computer or where our data is being stored or backed up, we can’t do our job.”