From Outdated to Full-Speed Ahead
For news and information publishing company Appen Media Group, having access to functional, affordable technology is mission critical. The 26 employee enterprise doesn’t have the IT budget of a large corporation, yet it relies on high-end IT solutions to create, format and disseminate the news.
When Appen Media Group Owner Christina Appen’s frustration with her previous IT provider reached the boiling point, she turned to Carmichael Consulting for assistance.
Carmichael planned and implemented a complete overhaul of her IT solutions, empowering her workers with the tools they need to be productive. “Now, our team has more time for creative work, because they are not working on technology problems,” says Appen. “Our customers are getting better quality work and products from us.”
A Blended Environment Finds a Partner
With a blended Mac and PC environment, Appen Media Group was a perfect match for Carmichael, which specializes in Mac and PC systems and environments for both. Half of Appen’s 26 users work remotely, and Carmichael also had significant expertise in mobility, as well.
Carmichael began the project with a complete IT assessment focused not only on mapping the systems but also on prioritizing the most pressing issues.
The report results were clear: Appen Media Group’s backup solution— an external hard drive that Appen took home every night— was putting the company and its intellectual assets at risk. Upgrading aging, overloaded servers running 32-bit Windows 2003 Small Business Server was priority
Carmichael’s experts developed a comprehensive, affordable plan for a new system including new servers, a network-attached storage device (NAS) for local backup, and automated cloud backup service CrashPlan PROe for redundant offsite backup. For the deployment, Carmichael worked evenings and weekends to ensure zero client downtime, installing all systems and migrating more than three TB of data to servers running 64-bit Windows 2011 Small Business Server.
For the next phase, Carmichael developed a user-levelupgrade plan, including forsaking out-of-support Windows XP and moving highly mobile staff to laptops. Over an 18-month period, Carmichael migrated Appen Media Group’s desktops to either Windows 7 or iMac computers. It also equipped the sales team with new laptops connected to company servers via a virtual private network (VPN).
In the process, Carmichael standardized Appen Media Group’s Windows hardware on an all-Dell framework. The switch simplifies warranty management and enabled Carmichael to extend the company a further discount through its membership in the Dell Consultants Network.
Final improvements included a new 10Mbit Metro E Wi-Fi network and a 1000Mbit wired network for added throughput and connectivity. Carmichael also upgraded Appen Media Group to hosted Microsoft Exchange and helped them evaluate and deploy Account Scout, a billing, accounting and ad placement platform.
A Bright Horizon
Most recently, Carmichael helped them research a new VoIP platform and more software upgrades.
They are also meeting and performing evaluations regularly to ensure Appen Media Group never falls behind the IT curve, again.
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