Not for Profit
A not-for-profit organisation had over the past couple of years upgraded their systems to include a Windows Small Business Server and several workstations. This work had been performed by another I.T. firm.
This organisation uses QuickBooks for their accounting software and some proprietary software to track member’s status, enquiries and payments. They have a small team of administration staff who follow up the organisation’s members across the state, deal with member enquiries, issue renewal invoices and receipt payments etc.
Prior to our engagement with this client, there wasn’t any regular maintenance, checks or updates performed on any of the systems. It was purely a break-fix scenario with their previous I.T. technician, who at times was extremely difficult to get a hold of (I am told sometimes they could be waiting days to weeks for a response)
Backup was configured via an off-site service; however it was never monitored nor was the consistency checked.
1) There was a significant data loss several months earlier where a database used to track members services had crashed. As the backups were never checked or monitored, there was a period of up to one month’s data that was lost in the restore process. This required manual reference to paper forms and some significant “overtime” to re-enter the lost data.
2) There had been an ongoing issue for at least the previous six months where the staff were unable to use the multi user feature of their QuickBooks accounting software. After many phone calls to their previous I.T. technician, the issue remained unresolved. The organisation was left with no alternative but to stagger the roster for up to three staff in order for them to enter the appropriate invoices, receipts and payments into the accounting software.
3) Tweaks, workarounds and lack of formal direction and maintenance also lead to a number of security flaws. The security software was inconsistent across the various workstations and server. Some had features disabled, some it was not installed and the server had an expired trial version (that was out of date by some 18 months).
4) There had been no updates or patches applied to the server in the previous 18 months. The server was slowing down and on some days becoming unworkable for staff.
Upon this client engaging Wrighton Computer Services, a complete health check and audit was performed on all systems. Issues were documented and identified. Features that were available within the server (and either not configured or not being used) were also documented.
Several hours were spent sorting out the QuickBooks fiasco. The end result was a complete re-install and re-installation of the software. QuickBooks also confirmed the issues were caused by the incorrect installation method by the original I.T. technician.
Responsive ad-hoc help was provided to all staff over the coming months whilst negotiations and communications were made with the organisations board. The staff were excited as many issues they had simply been putting up with were resolved or explained.
After several months of negotiations, advice and staff feedback, the organisations board agreed to implement a fixed price, full maintenance service package.
The package includes:
- Regular maintenance
- User support – both on-site and remote
- Monitored online backups
- New business grade security solutions
- Enablement and knowledge of server features
- Installation of missing server and workstation patches, updates and hotfixes (in excess of 170 patches were applied to the server alone)
The staff have been overjoyed by the fact that so many issues were resolved. In particular that all of the staff can now work the same shift (and access the required applications) instead of staggering the start and finish times. Communication has also greatly increased because of this.
Now, if there is an issue they know help is only a phone call away and finally that their data is safe and secure.
Wrighton Computer Services can provide ad-hoc services to business owners where we work on an “as required” basis. However many of our clients are also reaping the benefits of having a fully managed packaged where they know their monthly spend on I.T services upfront and have the faith and knowledge that their systems are being cared for correctly – leaving our clients to what they do best!
If you’d like to know more about how Wrighton Computer Services can help your business, contact us today, or alternatively follow the link to our Fixed Price Maintenance and Support information and packages on our website.
Lessons for Others
1) Backup your data regularly
2) Check that your backup has completed successfully and occasionally attempt a random restore of the data to ensure its consistency.
3) Don’t rely on work-arounds. If something is not right, a long term solution should be sought.
4) Have your I.T. technician routinely perform a health check of your systems with a report that identifies any issues, security concerns or performance issues.
5) Ensure that routine maintenance is carried out on a regular basis on your organisations infrastructure. Prevention will help you run your business; Hind-sight helps you destroy it!
6) If your dissatisfied or concerned about your current I.T provider, get a second opinion.
Note: Due to confidentiality and privacy reasons we are unable to identify this organisation. However, should you want to know more about the issues and solutions mentioned in this particular case study please contact us at Wrighton Computer Services.