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Medical Developer and Manufacturer in NH (Case Study)

Dave Hodgdon, CEO of PCG, talks with John Maher about how PCG’s managed IT services and cybersecurity support help a medical developer and manufacturer in NH. They discuss the challenges this company was having with its previous managed service provider and how PCG met these challenges and improved the company’s IT infrastructure and cybersecurity.

John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Dave Hodgdon, CEO of PCG managed service and IT provider with headquarters in Portsmouth, new Hampshire. Welcome Dave.

Dave Hodgdon: Good afternoon John. How’re you doing today?

Case Study of a Medical Developer and Manufacturer

John: Good, thanks. So, Dave, today we’re doing a case study of one of the companies that you’re working with, a medical developer and manufacturer in New Hampshire. And we’ll just start off by saying that because we’re talking about their network and some security issues and things like that, we’re not going to give you their name, but they are a medical developer in New Hampshire. So tell me a little bit more about the company, how many employees they have, things like that.

Dave: Yeah, John, they’re based out of New Hampshire, they have 45 employees with 31 desktop users that we support on. They are extremely busy now, as in the medical developer, they’re able to add and assist to a lot of the things that we need today with COVID.

Why This Manufacturer Reached Out to PCG for Help

John: Okay. So what are some of the issues that they were having that made them reach out to PCG?

Dave: Yeah, we started speaking about four years ago, John. They had been with their current MSP, which, again, stands for managed service provider, for about 10 plus years. They were telling us during their original call that if there’s anything could be better they’re saying their response times were lacking, they were not getting the turnover they wanted. The person that would show up would always be someone different, didn’t know what the previous guy did. So they started to let us know there were some current IT issues in there.

We offered them a free network assessment and they took us up on that. And after we did that, we came back and met with the leadership team and came back with our recommendations. During that audit, we discovered four main issues that need to be addressed. They wanted better planning, better budgeting, and a roadmap.

1. Importance of IT Planning

Dave: It never really seemed to be consistent… Each year was ad hoc. So we went over that as one of our key differentiators. I always feel one of the most important parts to the client is to not just sell this stuff, but actually have a roadmap so it can be planned, it can be budgeted. We had a lot of our clients last year, John, that had projects on the table, but when a COVID hit, we changed that. We had, instead of changing wireless at their main building, we had to change to the remote workforce. So having a budget and a roadmap in place is great, but also you can deviate from that based upon what’s happening in the industry and around us.

2. Documentation Critical for IT Support

Dave: Another problem they had was consistency, that they felt that they were always asking the same stuff and there were certain things just not being done. So we went over our documentation process and how things could be done in a consistent manner for a deliverable. They would call in, and like, I just told the previous tech that. So they didn’t really have great information there in their ticketing system. So we went over our documentation and our blueprint for this process and our onboarding and told them how documentation was vital, how it’s all tracked in a secure portal, but everyone here at PCG, everything lives and breathes in our documentation portal because you can’t give exceptional help desk support if it’s not there.

3. A Dedicated Technician for IT Support

Dave: They also wanted to have a dedicated technician. We are a big believer of that… basically of having someone that owns the network. So they, again had people that would show up, but not always the same person, and they didn’t know what the previous person did. So we went over how that works for our engineer and how that person would be in command of that network. It doesn’t mean that network’s doing all the work, John, but he had control of the network, but if he needed help with a firewall, he reached our firewall guy. If he needed help with a wireless issue, he relied on the team, but he was the pitcher on the mound, that was control of the game, and that was a big part for them.

4. Improving Response Time for IT Services

Dave: And ultimately, they just wanted a better response time. So we went over our ticketing process and how you escalate. All of our clients get a dedicated number when they call in, I call it the bat line and they’d also get a dedicated client success manager. That was like, that’s our liaison with their point of contact. So the ticket comes in, it’s [inaudible] on a ticket, might be important. I can’t print. We put in our system, and our response, two hours. To them that might not be acceptable, but if they’re trying to print payroll, they just need to voice that, that I really need this done now, and they’d use our client success manager to help with that.

So they hired PCG to be their managed service provider in 2017, and we’ve been rocking and rolling together since then.

IT Changes With a Managed Service Provider

John: That’s great. So what are some of the action items that came out of those initial meetings and what are some of the systems that you implemented?

1. Improving Infrastructure

Dave: We, the first thing I saw in that first visit is the infrastructure. I think of the foundation that your house is built on, the wiring and network closet was an absolute mess. There was no way anyone could troubleshoot. It was just misfire after misfire, how it was kept together. The documentation was poor. And again, if someone’s having an issue with a PC, how the heck can I figure out from a wiring, if I can’t even know where it goes to troubleshoot? So the wiring was a mess and the documentation was a mess.

2. Standardizing PC Setups

Dave: There were no standards for their PC setups. We went over our blueprint to that, John, how there has to be a standard PC user blueprint. So we start with our template, but every business is a little bit different, and we talked about that as being our differentiator. So we took what we knew about them, we created this form and then we sat down with them to go through. So we understand about what a user needs, what a department needs. If you’re a particular person, what file permissions do you require? What applications or licensing do you need? So think about if you’re growing, you probably only have X amount of licensing. You hire someone, there’s not a new license, so you need to know what’s in place so that person goes to fire up that machine, he has access to that application.

Every new person’s going to need new 365 subscription to what plan they’re going to be on. Does MFA needed to be turned on? Do we need backup of that? What printers and scanners do they need to access? Do they need remote access? On their PC set up, do they need two, three monitors? Do they want a wireless keyboard and mouse? So once we do that standard setup, now that document lives and breathes in our system and when they have a new employee, we send that form over, they fill it in, now we’re working together so when that person gets that new machine, that person now has a great user experience. So it’s key to have a standard PC set up in place, otherwise this new person’s getting their machine, well, this isn’t working, this isn’t working. Now, you’re getting bad feedback. So that first impression, John, goes a long way and it shows that the business cares about them being successful.

3. Cybersecurity Review

Another big thing that came out of that was the cybersecurity review. Security, that really wasn’t the big discussion before 2015, but since 2016, 17, John, it’s on everyone’s mind right now. This whole landscape has changed and I always tell people similar to when 9-11 happened, we weren’t ready, but when the Boston marathon event happened, we were better prepared and were able to get the bad guys in a sooner period. That if you’re not talking about it and dealing with it, your business could be at risk.

So, the goal is to give them some idea of where they stand, where are the big gaps and vulnerabilities, and then let them truly understand that in English so now they can understand, I get it, it’s just like adding additional assurances to my policy or my building, or I need better fire protection, or I need better protection for my data. Because if you don’t ensure your data or protect your data, your business can go out of business. So it was our job to give them the necessary cybersecurity tools to do that.

How PCG Helped This Company Improve IT

John: And then what was the outcome of all of this work that you did, and where is this company now compared to where they were when they first hired you?

Dave: Well, as we said earlier, John, they are in the medical supplies field. They are actually booming right now. They’re up about 30, 40%. They hired PCG to be their managed services IT provider. We’re actually, besides being a managed IT provider, we’re also known as a managed security provider. So every business now, it’s two distinct things. A lot of clients think that IT is security. It’s two separate buckets that we can handle both, but there’s the IT side and there’s the security side. So in today’s world, it’s imperative to be a managed security provider as well as a managed services provider. But, we’ve been in business with them since 2017.

They knew after they’d met with us during those initial meetings, they liked our ability to speak to them in English, they liked that our documentation, our blueprints, that we’re able to show them for onboarding the blueprint of how it works, to have that standard PC user set up, John, that we spoke about earlier. And the one they really enjoyed was having that BCIO IT strategy, of having that planning, the budgeting and having that advisory council as they need it.

After we onboarded them, we’re able to have those high level discussions and next steps. We were able to spend the time to clean up their network. We did that after hours because their network couldn’t be down. So we’ve been down there a couple of weekends to rip out the existing wiring and put new racks, hatch panels, wiring, test, and tone. We have a nice clean network there that is much easier for us to manage. We were able to put the necessary security tools in place to improve their security environment. The business is up, and it’s nice to know that they’re able to contact us and we’re able to work with them to get those necessary services in place.

They need us onsite more. They, in their particular building, John, they had three tenants. They’ve had to during their growth, they’ve had to get those tenants new space and now we’re able to take those individual network environments and tie those back to the main network for them to grow. So again, we did wiring, a wireless assessment of those three suites, and were able to have one master network now. So business is great for them. They’re awesome to deal with. And their network is in great shape. They just added a video conference system, and of course with COVID, that’s another big thing we’re doing for a lot of our clients now, to have those team collaboration meetings. And the relationship is great, business is good, and we’re great to have them as a client.

How MSPs Help Businesses Plan IT Strategies and Growth

John: Great. Yeah. And I imagine that one of the things that they really appreciate, like you said, is the planning and the budgeting so that they know, okay, over the next few years, these are the projects that have to get done, this is what it’s going to cost, and they can plan for that rather than have this whole thing be up in the air and have them be wondering, okay, if something goes wrong, are we going to be out of business? Is it going to cost us X number of dollars to fix these problems? They know exactly what to expect over the next several years.

Dave: Yeah, John, with our IT strategy review, we actually use a specific software. So even though you get each of these things that you want to plan out, let’s say they want to add something, we’ll say, that’s not now let’s put that into Q2 of 2022. We put it there, so when we have these conversations… There’s always changes with small businesses and things can change, but if you delay something it could affect somewhere else. So it’s important to have the things that we want to do on the radar and to make sure that if they delay something, it could affect another part of IT. But it’s nice to see something in place and the ability to change things as needed based upon business, either upturn or downturn, John.

Contact PCG for Help With IT Services and Security

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Dave. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Dave: My pleasure. Have a great day.

John: And for more information, visit the PCG website at pcgit.com or call 6034314121.