Anatomy of a Conversion to the Cloud
Barry Bartee, President of B & Z Services, Inc., of the HVAC industry, discussed his recent move into Cloud computing.
Bartee said, ”My biggest preconceived notions were that the Cloud was out there, more imaginary. I didn’t know it was just right up there on Almeda Avenue right here in Norfolk and that I could touch it there. B & Z was in founded 1948 and has been around for 63 years, with 24 employees. We were at a technology crossroads. Our company’s existing systems were slow, tired and basically on their last leg. We had to do something. We could fix things using the traditional route with servers, desktops and so forth, or look at something new- the Cloud. My four specific concerns with the Cloud were about: loss of control, someone else taking our data, the security issues of credit cards and possibly being hacked.”
He said that the conversion process to the Cloud was two weeks from the first visit to completion, with no downtime. “It went real smooth and was much better than I anticipated,” According to Bartee, “there were a couple of hiccups along the way, but most of it was internal. One of the things he had to get used to was the loss of thumb drives and adding things straight to the network. Now he just e-mails the outside materials to himself.” I didn’t know how detailed the printer configurations really are,” said Bartee, “they have now all been logically laid out for us.”
Mr. Bartee said, “Now that his company is in the Cloud, is it definitely affecting his business for the good. Right out of the gate, it freed up 2-3 hours a week I had been spending on IT issues.” “I had to get everyone used to calling the Help Desk without talking to me first. I also had a morning appointment at the house and I just logged on from there, without having to come into the office. I feel like I always know what’s going on now, even if I may not be physically be in the office,” Bartee commented.
Would he do anything differently? “No, not really, other than doing it sooner. We were really struggling for over a year with viruses, crashes, software updates and spam. Collectively, the whole system was on the brink of having a major meltdown. I would definitely have made the move to the Cloud sooner.”
“As a whole, our IT partner company made it very easy to work with them. We looked at two and they had the best answers, outside the envelope, not trying to stay with more expensive hardware. They did everything they said they’d do.” said Bartee.” I love working with them because they love their technology, from the owner to the install technicians. I like surrounding myself with people and companies who want to do more and be more.”
B & Z Services experienced some unexpected benefits through the process. “The biggest, without a doubt, has been the hosted e-mail exchange with the calendars. I had e-mail on an I-phone, a tablet, a laptop and a desktop, all without exchange, said Bartee. “I had 167 e-mails all over the place with multiple copies. Exchange solved all that so it’s made things simple now. The overall speed has also been impressive: where a Peachtree accounting report used to take over a half an hour to print, now it rocks in a couple of minutes.”
“The best feature of the Cloud has to be compatibility. We had milked our IT so long we were using Excel 2001. We just wanted performance; we weren’t expecting all the up-to-date Microsoft software to resolve our version conflict issues internally and with the outside world. Those problems going away was very cool and an unexpected bonus.”
“I would recommend the transition to the Desktops2Go Cloud to others. It’s time the small companies who do daily data processing also get the toys of the big boys. The lesson we learned from the whole process was more about gaining a better understanding of how the Cloud works. We have learned the competitive edge the Cloud gives us, and we understand how to apply it to our business. It was an easier process than I thought it would be overall, and I feel we are now prepared for the long haul,” Bartee closed.