Success almost killed us. We had grown to 23 locations in multiple states in just under 5 years. It all happened so fast our technology infrastructure was, at best, a passing thought… it was all originally done with a “make IT work ASAP” for each new store we opened. About the 15th store we started having real operational issues: point of sale equipment, inventory, communications, security, and most importantly access to external databases our technicians need for almost every job. In some cases (phones for example) we had almost as many phone vendors as we had stores! What a mess.
The number of variables that were in play at the initiation of this project were overwhelming. The client’s 3 person IT staff could not keep up and was contemplating more IT staff as a solution. Multiple providers doing the same thing at different stores provided nothing but a dead end, especially since they were still expanding. The client was able to conceive of an integrated approach, but had no capability to design the system, much less navigate the myriad of situational variables they had created along the way.
The convergence of technology is good news and bad news. Even 10 years ago when everything was separate (phones, internet, fax, etc.) and there was a specialist for each, it was much simpler. Sort of like the old flip phones. No text, no apps, simple but not much capability compared to a smartphone. IoT is a industry phrase that stand for the Internet of Things…all things. In one sense it means all things technical are connected and therefore must be deliberately integrated to work well. This goes double for multi-site applications.
Initially, a multisite, multi state system and topography had to be developed to define the “goal”. At this point it was DakotaPro’s Project Management services group that led the charge in not only the implementation sequencing, but also in the complex change management challenge dealing with the multiple providers already in place…all the while keeping each site operational during the project!
The client’s expansion plans had already stalled when DakotaPro was engaged. A decision was made to initiate a project to integrate all technical services at existing sites including connectivity, network management, voice, video, and outsource the maintenance and monitoring of those systems. Growth plans were resumed after approximately 8 months of work. Today, the VP of IT (and one assistant) spend the majority of their time on growth challenges and new technology innovation for their industry. Additionally:
Access – everyone at every site can now reliably access our company applications
Security – sites are now individually secure as well as achieving PCI (credit card industry security compliance).
Monitoring – things get fixed before the customer even knows there is an issue.
The customer has 1 phone system across all sites, so there is easy transferring of calls between locations, shared voice mail, etc
When changes are required, they are effortlessly implemented across the enterprise. No more piece-meal roll-outs.
The customer wanted content filtering, so every site has the same filtering applied – which has reduced employee time spent on facebook and youtube.
DakotaPro Technical Services is truly a partner with you in tackling your most extreme technical business project challenges. Comprehensive Project Management is just one of the core technical services that DakotaPro brings to your table to make your vision a reality.