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IT Insight: Portsmouth Computer Group turns 25

The last 25 years have brought forth some of the most rapid technological developments in human history. The Internet redefined how we search for and share information with each other, breaking down the communication barriers between countries in the process. Remember the Palm Pilot? The advent of the World Wide Web? Bluetooth? Wi-Fi? VPN? The iPhone has changed how people relate to technology and consume information at a personal level. The smartphone has transformed from a luxury item into an essential ordinary tool used by all ages. Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook not only allow us to communicate more easily, but have changed how we do.

But how has the ever-changing world of technology impacted one of the area’s leading IT Service Providers? How has one company had to transform through the years to remain viable and competitive in such an industry? With technology always moving at a much faster pace than most of us could deal with, Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) has revolutionized IT service and support to meet the needs of their long-standing customers, both here and in other countries.

In May 1996, Dave Hodgdon opened the doors at 75 Congress St. The original focus of PCG was Microsoft training, necessary to support the newer versions of Microsoft Office. PCG’s training rooms were all things Microsoft, supporting many of the businesses that still call Portsmouth home today. The business model supported business network consulting as well.

When the Internet exploded, the larger electronic universe gave way to networking companies for email and data exchange. This opened many opportunities for other revenue streams: networking services, PC and notebook sales, replacing Novell servers with Microsoft servers, licensing, projects, firewalls and VPN’s, training, and break/fix services. The company grew quickly from four to 22 employees by 2002.

In 2004, PCG made the investment in its own building, at 30 Mirona Road, customizing it to meet our existing and future needs as a growing business headquarters. Dover, Manchester, and Portland locations followed.

Of course, we did not call it Managed IT Services in the early 2000s, but PCG was already providing dedicated techs on regular visits to maintain our clients’ networks. Back then, we did not have the luxury of all the tools we have today to remotely monitor and manage our networks in a more efficient way. Backups were old school tape cartridges. Internet speeds were on DSL and dial up. Each year brought better, faster CPUs, smaller notebooks, faster internet, better servers, Gigabit switches, and email through Microsoft Outlook.

The advent of technology truly changed our ability to manage clients and offer better solutions. Business collaboration and communication from remote sites was effective from virtually anywhere by adopting IT best practices and tools that improve the customer experience.

PCG invested in our first managed platform in 2005. Each year we assess what is forthcoming within the marketplace and the various options that are available to allow PCG to provide superior customer support and service.

Our clients originally liked the break-fix model of service, but soon they realized having a proactive plan with known outcomes and monthly fees was a great benefit to their organization and operations. With PCG’s Managed Service model, businesses obtain remarkable access to technology that improves productivity, reduces risk, decreases operating expenditures, and increases revenue.

As a business grows, different problems and opportunities demand different solutions. We realized that IT is just one of the many vital business functions that pull attention away from a company’s core focus. It takes qualified employees, expensive technology, and hours of research and development to get IT right. PCG provides these resources so that businesses do not have to divert their attention from their revenue, their business. Our network engineers can design, maintain, monitor, and support your entire IT system.

Further, comprehensive onboarding of a new client involves the entire PCG Team. From discovery and strategy to implementation and success, your IT Blueprint process and vCIO recommendations and 24X7 Helpdesk will support you and your business challenges and goals.

Of most significance in PCG’s success as a business has been its core values which are always focused on our clients. Customer satisfaction has been the number one priority from the inception of PCG. The company’s core values focus on teamwork, communications, integrity, and accountability. The longevity of our business and vendor relationships combined with the permanence of employees is testament to our success. It is this tenure that has been one of the key elements for PCG to maintain its growth and keep its clients.

Security has been foremost for the last 4 to 5 years and this is PCG’s fastest growing sector. PCG partners with some of the industry’s prominent security companies to deliver these needed services to reduce our clients risks and protect their data. PCG offers risk assessments that meet the compliancy requirements of our clients industries and applications.

Although last year changed everything, PCG added six additional employees. As an “essential business,” we never closed our doors. Technology has exploded as well as the need for our services. PCG’s growth has been consistent with 2020 proving to be our best year yet.

It is great to be a small business that has successfully adapted to such vast change. With 2021 projections already ahead at the first quarter, PCG is making plans now for the next 25 years.

JoAnn Hodgdon is vice president and co-founder of Portsmouth Computer Group (PCGiT) with her husband David. PCG provides comprehensive managed IT services, business continuity, security, cloud computing and Virtual CIO services to their clients. You may reach her at joann@pcgit.com or at www.pcgit.com.