Wanted: IT Partner Who Can See the Big Picture

LOFA Industries Found MIS Solutions in Its Search for a Better Solution

Choosing an IT provider is a task not to be taken lightly. After all, you have to be sure you’re teaming up with a company that can see your vision – the big picture – and can bring advice and recommendations to help you reach your company’s objectives. You want a company that can not only keep your network up and running but can also offer guidance and solutions to help you build a better business.

Barbara Thomas Hellstrand

Let’s face it – switching IT companies can be a big pain in the neck, so you want some assurance that the transition and onboarding are going to go as smoothly as humanly possible. Barbara Hellstrand of LOFA Industries understood the importance of picking the right IT partner. Especially since she knew the new IT provider had its work cut out.

LOFA Industries is a company that has long embraced technology. Since its inception in 1989, the company has been determined to design and manufacture a superior line of diesel engine controls for the off-highway engine market. Their control panels and accessories are used in equipment in a variety of industries including oil and gas, mining, water management and agriculture.

As the use of telemetry in the engine control business emerged in 2013, LOFA seized the opportunity to incorporate this rising technology into its product design. LOFA’s forward-thinking leadership and highly skilled engineers have propelled the Roswell company to the forefront of its field.

This Old House

Although LOFA is recognized as an industry leader because of its technological advances in its products, its IT network was, according to Barbara Hellstrand, a dinosaur and a mess. “Here we are at the forefront of our industry in terms of technology, but our internal systems were archaic. There was certainly a disconnect here,” she said.

Barbara compared their IT network to an old house – each generation of inhabitants have added on to it without a master plan. The end result was a network that was being held together with Band-Aids and duct tape. When the company decided it was time to get to the bottom of their IT issues and make a move to a more advanced environment, Barbara knew she would need a provider who could not only get their systems untangled but would also offer recommendations and advice on what would work well for their particular needs – someone with the vision to help their business grow.

The company relies on SAP software for data management. It’s an integral part of their business and they can’t afford the downtime they were experiencing with the application. But for several years the system would lock up every afternoon. Neither their IT company nor the applications vendor wanted to take responsibility for the issues LOFA was experiencing. “We were told by our IT company that we just didn’t have enough space and we needed to delete our log files in order to make the software work properly at the end of the day.” So every morning at 5:30, the system was rebooted.

The Ham Story

The routine reboots went on for a few years and eventually just became part of LOFA’s operating process. So naturally, when MIS Solutions was brought onboard to stabilize their network, Barbara requested the daily reboot.

The ritual bears resemblance to the Ham Story told many years ago by Zig Ziglar. It’s a tale of doing something over and over and not questioning the “why” behind the action:

In this respect, they are as bad as “this old boy down home.” His wife sent him to the store for a ham. After he bought it, she asked him why he didn’t have the butcher cut off the end of the ham. “This old boy” asked his wife why she wanted the end cut off. She replied that her mother had always done it that way and that was reason enough for her. Since the wife’s mother was visiting, they asked her why she always cut off the end of the ham. Mother replied that this was the way her mother did it; Mother, daughter and “this old boy” then decided to call grandmother and solve this three-generation mystery. Grandmother promptly replied that she cut the end of the ham because her roaster was too small to cook it in one piece.

MIS Solutions engineers questioned the practice of daily reboots and weren’t satisfied with the reasoning behind it. With a bit of digging and some diligent detective work, MIS uncovered the root of the problem. Numerous network misconfigurations were causing their system to lock up every afternoon thus causing a considerable amount of lost productivity. “Once the MIS guys fixed those errors, the problems just stopped,” said Barbara.

Whatever It Takes

Working with the projects and service teams at MIS has been a delightful change for Barbara. “I can recall with our old IT company, putting in tickets and having to wait two days for somebody to get back to me. But with MIS, I can call or submit a ticket and I’ll get a response in 30 minutes or less.”

But it’s not just the quick response time that amazes Barbara. MIS’s “whatever it takes” attitude about problem solving and vendor management have her raving about her new IT provider’s engineers. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 4:50 on a Friday afternoon, I know there will be someone there who can help with any problem we might have. The 24×7 phone support is great. Our guy in Australia no longer has to talk to support in the middle of the night.

“And your guys are really good about explaining things to me in plain English – I’m in accounting, not IT – so I appreciate that. In fact, everyone at MIS communicates really well and is good about keeping us in the loop.”

Updating LOFA’s systems include replacing their outdated phone system and moving their network to MIS’s private Greenlight Cloud. Once the fiber installation has been completed the staff members in Australia, California and Texas will be able to connect more quickly and easily without the headaches that they’ve been dealing with for some time. “We’re really excited to have this huge project completed,” said Barbara. “Having MIS handle the fiber installation and dealing with the subcontractor and internet service provider has been wonderful. We’ve finally got an IT partner who has their eye on the big picture.”

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