Recognizing your organization’s need for IT assistance is the first step toward its evolution, however, selecting the right partner to support you through the process is as vital as coming to that initial realization. Choose correctly and you can get back to focusing on your business rather than the technology that runs it. Make a mistake and things can turn out much differently than you intended.
After a disastrous experience with their first outsource provider ISPE was left with substandard systems, a network that didn’t work, a failing web infrastructure and the dire need for a capable technology partner to turn things around quickly. That’s when they came to DSM Technology Consultants.
ISPE, the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, is the world’s largest not-for-profit association dedicated to educating and advancing pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals and their industry. As an independent organization led by the world’s top pharmaceutical manufacturing professionals, ISPE serves 25,000 members in 90 countries. They provide an inviting and neutral environment for experts, technologists, regulators, consultants and students to exchange ideas and practical experience. Within this vibrant community, ISPE’s members work together to improve the industry, while helping each other make better choices, faster than ever before.
When ISPE decided to fully outsource their information systems support, the vendor they initially selected to take on the task failed to deliver on its promises and created havoc for the ISPE staff. The ISPE network was not up to standards and their web infrastructure was going down on a daily basis. In addition, the company did not provide the appropriately trained support staff to resolve these problems. As a consequence ISPE experienced serious issues with lack of supervision, knowledge, professionalism and commitment on the part of their IT support vendor. The damage done in a few short months, both to the ISPE network systems and the trust employees placed in those systems, was beyond belief.
As it became apparent that the current IT support vendor was doing more harm than good, the relationship was terminated. DSM Technology Consultants was called in to discuss how they could assist ISPE during this crisis. After gaining the confidence of the ISPE staff DSM was selected to take over information systems support. This task required improvement of the ISPE network and a resolution to technical deficiencies existing in the highly customized ISPE web application. Correcting the web issues was mission-critical. ISPE is a not-for-profit business with a large network of volunteers who rely on functionality of the site. Additionally, the web generates significant revenue for the organization and is used to register for ISPE seminars.
DSM’s approach was strategic. The focus was on people, process and technology. They began by interviewing the ISPE senior staff to understand current issues and the shortfalls of the previous vendor. As a result DSM identified ongoing issues and recommended a marketing campaign to the end users.
Once confidence had been established with end-users and senior staff, DSM performed a detailed discovery and analysis on the network and system infrastructure to indentify and document other concerns. Upon completion, a full set of findings and recommendations were provided to ISPE.
After several weeks of remedying identified issues, DSM provided daily onsite system administration services and developed a flex program that would eventually reduce the number of hours required for onsite service. At the same time DSM implemented a server containment strategy that would enable change management – another critical issue.
“DSM has provided well trained staff that is professional, polished, personable, and extremely knowledgeable,” said Smoke. “We have had one individual on site for nearly two years and he has truly become part of our staff family. Originally working full-time for us, he is now working only one day a week, which is a direct reflection of the organization and logical processes that DSM has instituted for us.”
Rather than advocate continued one hundred percent outsourcing, DSM acted in the client’s best interest by recommending they hire an IT manager and even assisted in the interview process to ensure candidates had the skills required to manage the environment. In addition, DSM modified the DR Hot Site contract empowering ISPE to move into DSM’s data center for the same monthly price.
“As we have tackled some special projects, we have been able to draw on additional resources as needed from the very knowledgeable and professional staff that DSM has recruited,” said Smoke. “They have created a virtual network for us, improved our backup systems, assisted with major software upgrades, redesigned and improved our security access, investigated and documented existing software and network systems, and rolled out new hardware, all with little or no interrupted access for our employees and members.”
Virtualizing the environment has reduced the number of servers down from twenty to less than six and documenting the environment provided for knowledge transfer to the new staff. What’s more, DSM has been able to successfully reduce their non project work time from forty hours a week down to eight hours a week thus reducing ISPE’s cost to maintain the environment.
DSM not only changed the paradigm of ISPE’s customer service, but also provided CTO consulting to align the IT department with their business. This, coupled with exemplary technical talent, has transformed the ISPE infrastructure into a stable and more resilient environment providing a new level of assurance to the entire organization.
Because of DSM’s services, ISPE has increased revenue, reduced IT consulting dollars, reduced operational and maintenance costs and improved efficiencies. As a result of stabilizing the platforms, ISPE’s trade shows this year have provided record revenue. Perhaps even more important to the organization, however, is the group’s increased peace of mind and renewed sense of confidence in IT. Now, rather than spending time trying to decipher the cause of their technical issues, ISPE employees are free to focus on their many other responsibilities, knowing the IT department is in good hands.
“It is a tremendous relief for me and for all our staff who have regained their trust in our systems and now speak very highly of our IS staff,” said Smoke. “For DSM to take our organization from the mass chaos in which they found us to the smooth running, reliable, well designed system we have today is a tremendous feat and we are extremely grateful. Two years ago, I was not sure how we would ever manage to accomplish this. Today, I can honestly say that DSM made it all possible.”
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