Client Spotlight: Turnipseed Engineers
For leaders of growing businesses, it’s necessary to keep an eye on the bottom line and contain costs wherever possible. In doing so, it’s easy to be persuaded to price shop vendors and solutions thinking the low price tag will save money in the long run. All the dollars you’re going to save looks good on paper. That is until the “extra” and “add-on” items start accumulating and your money-saving strategy is anything but.
Chris Poje, president of Turnipseed Engineers admits that the lure of low-cost IT support was what drew his firm to their previous IT company. But as they learned, their inexpensive IT provider turned out to be way more expensive than they planned.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
It’s easy to fall for the low sticker price trap. So if you’re not shopping on price, what should you be looking for? That was the million dollar question for Chris whose company provides water and wastewater engineering services to municipalities throughout Georgia, South Carolina and soon Alabama. “I wasn’t really sure,” he said, but added that some of his engineers were spending way too much time tending to IT issues which he was paying an IT company to handle. “We weren’t able to focus on our core business so I knew we needed to re-evaluate our options. Everybody here had a suggestion; everybody here had a friend who knew computers. We talked to a lot of people.” In the end, Chris knew he needed someone who would be able to do more than just keep his network humming. He needed an IT consultant who could educate him in areas of technology that he didn’t know and offer guidance and suggestions without breaking the bank.
“Our previous IT company was a good bit cheaper than MIS, but their setup was completely reactive,” said Chris. “If something broke, they could fix it. And we were paying a monthly management fee, but the problem was they weren’t properly managing our network.”
Much like a car – if you neglect the regular maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotations, etc., you’re going to have trouble down the road (shameless pun). Without proper network management, such as patches, updates, monitoring and backups, things tend to break more frequently resulting in increased frustration levels and extensive downtime. Playing Whack-a-Mole had become the norm and every time the IT company set foot in Turnipseed Engineers’ office to fix an issue, the costs skyrocketed. “So even though they were lower on the sticker price, the actual out-of-pocket cost ended up being much higher than working with MIS. And that’s not even taking into account the amount of downtime we were experiencing and the cost of having CAD operators and engineers unproductive while we waited for an issue to be resolved.”
MIS’s fixed-fee structure, while appearing on the surface to be more expensive than other providers’ pricing, actually saves Turnipseed Engineers money each month. Chris, who joined Turnipseed Engineers in 1993 when it was just a small company, no longer cringes when his IT invoice arrives each month. “I like the consistency of having a fixed fee with MIS,” he said. Now that his network is proactively being monitored and managed, aggravating downtime for his engineers is reduced. And when issues do occur, he knows they will be handled correctly without the uncertainty of added costs.
Birds of a Feather
Company culture was another area that Chris knew would be a deciding factor in choosing a new IT provider. Having been a recipient of MIS’s email and direct mail marketing campaigns, he could tell owners Lliam and Jennifer Holmes took a different approach to running their business. “They weren’t using the scare tactics that some of the other IT companies in the area were using,” he said. MIS’s approach seemed to be more positive with a focus on solutions and outcomes.
“We’re a faith-based business. We want to do the right things for the right reasons, so we wanted to work with a company that shares those same beliefs,” he said. Protecting his company’s culture by working with like-minded people – whether staff or vendors – is important to Chris. “We don’t want someone coming in and detracting from the culture we have built; we want people who can help improve our business. And all of the technicians who have come onsite have been well qualified and are great ambassadors for MIS.”
One way MIS has contributed to the health of Turnipseed Engineers is by taking the stress of worrying about technology off the shoulders of Chris and his staff so they can focus more on their business. “It’s nice not having to keep one eye on IT issues all the time.
You Live, You Learn and Wind Up In a Better Position
Sometimes missteps in business are painful, but like in life, there’s usually always a lesson to be learned and wisdom to be gained. So what advice would Chris give other business owners and managers looking for a partner in IT? “First, don’t get bogged down on the cost. You have to look at the cost of service as an offset to what it would cost if someone within your organization had to deal with it. Second, be sure to look for a company that is proactive in their solutions.”
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