The Value Of Consulting An IT Expert – As Told By A Financial Expert

Case Study

The Value Of Consulting An IT Expert – As Told By A Financial Expert

October 19, 2021

Investors Asset Management

Project Overview

For more than three decades, Individuals, families and nonprofit organizations have trusted Investors Asset Management (IAM) to grow their portfolios with expert financial guidance. Just as their clients know the value of consulting an expert, so does IAM, a 10-person, full service wealth management firm in Sandy Springs. That’s why IAM depends on Carmichael Consulting Solutions for strategic information technology (IT) advice, support, and future-proofing its vital business systems.

In the past, IAM paid a monthly fee to the outsourced IT company they used for support and on-site repair visits generated additional fees. In addition, the company’s representatives spoke in technical jargon, which was rarely explained and difficult for non-techies to decipher. Worst of all, IAM never knew what the tech support’s monthly bill would total or how high annual expenditures would go. For a firm that makes its living from delivering predictable outcomes, that last point was unacceptable.

What to do When DIY IT Falls Short

“As financial advisors, we know the value of a dollar and those fees were coming directly out of our pocket,” said Katie Rigby Oliver, Investment Advisor Representative at IAM, “To avoid the on-site fees, we would try to fix the problem ourselves, which usually made things worse, or we would try to make do without whatever wasn’t working,” For example, when a printer stopped working, the IAM team routed all their documents to another more expensive printer. Not only was that wasteful, Oliver explained, it made document retrieval inconvenient. “After we spent $750 for an on-site visit, maybe the printer worked and maybe it didn’t,” she said. “It was incredibly frustrating.”

When Oliver polled her wealth management peers about who they used for outsourced IT support, only one rave review came back – for Carmichael. Her trusted colleague told her that not only had their firm been happy with Carmichael, they said Carmichael’s level of service was unmatched.

“Carmichael Consulting Services is proactive, very professional and super-responsive,” said Oliver. “Just this past weekend, I received a text from them that there might be issues with our server, and Carmichael was here first thing Monday to check everything out.”

Unlike her previous IT support team, Carmichael speaks in non-technical, easy to understand terms, Oliver said. “We had been paying an annual fee for server maintenance but no one could tell me why we were paying it or what is was for. When Carmichael came in, they audited everything we had in just 24 hours,” she said. “They created a Technology Roadmap for us that showed what we needed to keep or upgrade, and what we could eliminate. Carmichael broke down its recommendations into plain language for me, and, for the first time, I understood the systems and
the options.”

Carmichael Consulting Services Is Proactive, Very Professional And Super-Responsive.

I would highly recommend carmichael to anyone, especially small businesses like ours that don’t have a technology expert on staff.

Results

SECURE CLOUD REPLACES TRADITIONAL SERVER

Carmichael’s recommendations included moving IAM’s systems off the on-premise server and into the cloud, and adding extensive backup capabilities to the new cloud-based system. “When Carmichael moved our systems to the cloud, we were able to eliminate that server and its annual maintenance fee,” she said. In addition, Carmichael presented advanced encryption capabilities and vetted an under-consideration move to Microsoft’s OneDrive for regulatory compliance. Carmichael’s research proved that OneDrive’s 256 bit encryption made it a clearly superior choice for IAM. The highly regulated securities industry requires wealth management advisors like IAM to create and maintain extensive audit trails for every piece of client communication received and every financial decision made. “Every piece of email that comes in is routed to an email journal and then archived for seven years,” she said. “This level of email security is much more extensive than what most companies need, and Carmichael handled it well.”

While all of IAM’s technology is humming along now, the company has two new IT projects for Carmichael. IAM has asked their new technology partner to research its options related to selecting and deploying a stronger email encryption system to replace the one being used now and perform a cost/benefit analysis of moving IAM’s phone system support to Carmichael as well. “I almost glad we had such a not-so-great experience with our previous IT vendor,” she said. “It makes me appreciate how great Carmichael is at what they do. I would highly recommend Carmichael to anyone, especially small businesses like ours that don’t have a technology expert on staff.”