Any professional services firm knows the importance of client service to build a relationship. AMDG Architects, a Grand Rapids-based firm, is committed to this principle and wanted a managed IT services partner to team with in the same value.
AMDG, an architectural design firm, understands that clients have nuanced needs and goals, and so each client deserves a unique team assembled just for their project. They work based on what’s best for their customers – not their own preferences. With that focus, AMDG hires a high number of architects and works with outside partners to fill many other roles. While their firm is known for skilled design specialists, they still need people to handle the IT side of their business.
“Our firm is extremely client-centric. We design based on people’s needs and delve deep into the purpose of the physical environment. It’s how you tell people they matter.”
Peter Baldwin, AMDG Architects
Peter Baldwin, the President at AMDG, researched methods to meet the IT needs of his team – strategies around software licenses, hardware, and vendor management. When they were a small firm, he had two employees work with a consultant to manage technology.
As time went on, AMDG grew and so did their technology needs. It took more staff time to keep things running smoothly. His employees responsible for technology were architects who also spent time on client work, but much of their time was now spent fixing problems or putting out fires. The firm felt stuck in a reactive mode, which created inefficiencies and frustration.
There was a gap between the technology AMDG had and the systems to manage it.
The Search for a Managed IT Services Provider
Peter and his team started to look for a managed IT services provider near their office in Grand Rapids. They wanted a partner for the long-term, so they searched for a company with a solid approach to client service, in addition to technical capability. As he spoke with our CEO and Solution Architect, he felt that maybe we could understand his business.
We began that process in a manner of insight, clarity, and enablement. We started with research (Insight) to fully understand AMDG, so we were better positioned to develop a clear strategy (Clarity). Finally, we worked with the AMDG team to implement and support the solutions we developed together (Enablement).
We started with a research and discovery process we call "Technology Blueprinting". We studied their infrastructure and interviewed their team. How does the business operate? How do they like to work with vendors? What issues do they have with equipment? Where do they see the business going in the next 5 years?
Based on their feedback, we worked with the team on a roadmap and a budget. When you don't build a strategy, it is difficult to build a meaningful budget. Their business and technology goals led us to several alternatives, which we discussed based on our experiences and expertise. With our support, the team at AMDG could then decide on their technology plan. Our goal was to provide AMDG with the information to make their technology decisions confidently.
1. Stabilize IT and Minimize Disruption.
First and foremost, AMDG needed stability. Their IT infrastructure was created when they were a much smaller organization, so we needed to address the gaps that disrupted their work. Maintaining that stability is a constant effort by our managed IT services team to proactively anticipate their needs. Peter believes technology shouldn’t be a disruption; it should be a seamless tool to advance the work of people. The less you notice it, the better.
2. Ease the Burden on their Staff.
With fewer technology problems, the staff spent less time on IT and more time on their architectural work. Peter saw a direct return on the IT investment. The team members responsible for the IT management now spend more time on client work. Today, if someone has a technology issue, they call us – not their teammates.
3. A Partner for the Long Term.
Peter and his team spent a good deal of effort in finding the right partner, so they wanted that relationship to last. In the first year, we got to know their team and set up their systems for success. In the second year, we helped increase their time and decrease unexpected expenses. To keep on the right track, we have quarterly meetings with the AMDG team. They share new business initiatives, and we share new technology approaches.
“We’ve built a trusting relationship. And that trust was earned. When I come to work in the morning, I know that the people at Springthrough are thinking about how to help AMDG better.”
Peter Baldwin, AMDG Architects
AMDG continues to see results from their ongoing technology strategy. With a proactive approach, they anticipate upcoming needs and make informed decisions about how technology should work for them. AMDG recently has made significant investments in technology to enhance their interactive design approach. We partnered with AMDG to move to the next level of technological interface with clients and teammates in their design work. We maintain and support the systems to help the firm to move forward successfully.
Looking forward, we will continue to work together to position AMDG in a way that they can take advantage of technology for the benefit of their clients and their firm.
Technologies We Use
- HP Storage Area Network (SAN)
- VMWare vSphere Virtualization
- Microsoft Windows Server
- Veeam Backup & Replication
- Cisco Networking
- Watchguard Firewall
- Ruckus Wireless