Case Study: IT Consultation That Made a Difference

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Overview

Early in 2021, a successful investment management firm suffered a substantial reduction in annual revenue of around 85%.  As a result, the COO was faced with the difficult task of significantly reducing expenses and proceeded to implement the following near-term actions: 

  • Forced reduction in headcount by 67% 
  • Closure of a satellite office that served as their primary data back-up facility  
  • Re-assessment of their overall IT support strategy 

The IT staff was composed of three very qualified and experienced IT Engineers.  Although the firm’s management team was extremely comfortable with their support, drastic times called for drastic measures.

Enter Qnectus, who was asked to provide input on all three elements of their downsizing plan. 

Initial Approach

Our initial step was to gain a better understanding of their existing IT infrastructure and business needs. The investment firm utilized a robust and sophisticated set of software programs for normal business operations, which were hosted from several on-site physical and virtual servers. This infrastructure was replicated in a distant satellite office for business continuity and disaster recovery. Their extensive application requirements were as follows:  

  • Microsoft 365 Office and Dynamics CRM
  • Portfolio Management Software 
  • Email Archiving 
  • Cyber Security
  • Order Management System (OMS)
  • Accounting Software
  • Back-up requirements
    • Data every ~15 minutes
    • A few hours to recover from a local system/equipment failure.

The Findings

At the conclusion of our assessment, we quickly determined the following: 

  • Considerable savings could be realized through outsourcing a significant portion of their IT support to a Third Party IT Managed Services Provider. 
  • The most crucial and complex IT challenge was developing a new Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan to address the imminent closure of their back-up facility.
  • Their most critical business need was maintaining nearly seamless access to their order management system required for daily trading, the lifeblood of their value proposition. 

The Solutions

After further evaluation and discussion, we determined that the most feasible and readily implemented strategy was to maintain the local server infrastructure “as is” and provide like-for-like redundancy via the cloud. In order to address the company’s requirements and significantly reduce IT spend without impacting service quality, we proposed the following two viable strategies:

Hybrid Solution
  • The company would maintain the services of their most qualified IT Engineer with unique programming knowledge and experience.
  • The remainder of their IT support would be transitioned to an IT Managed Services Provider (MSP).
  • The remaining IT Engineer would serve as the principal on-site liaison with the MSP.
Fully Outsourced Solution
  • The company would lay off all three IT Engineers and an IT MSP would provide full IT support of their network infrastructure.
  • To address their unique and proprietary programming needs, the following solutions were proposed:
    • Hire an entry-level programmer to learn and assume the ongoing responsibilities for the custom programming.
    • Outsource the programming element to a part-time consultant better equipped to provide custom software development.
  • A remaining operations employee would serve as the principal on-site MSP interface.

With regard to our plan for handling their on-going IT support, we considered and assessed several workable strategies. After further discussion with the firm’s management team, we proposed the following highly efficient and cost-effective implementation plan:

  • An MSP would provide traditional Support, Monitoring and Maintenance of their existing network infrastructure – Servers, Computers and Network Devices
  • An MSP would overhaul their Disaster Recovery Plan by maintaining the local on-site server infrastructure ‘as is’ and migrate the redundancy from their satellite facility to a Hosted Environment.

The Outcome

Our overall strategy was fully endorsed by the investment management firm for the following reasons:

  • The annual expenditures for IT support would decrease by >60%, and they would still experience a high level of comfort in retaining the services of their most qualified IT engineer.
  • The Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery plan provided an equivalent level of business continuity and disaster recovery when compared to their existing architecture.
  • There would be minimal disruption to their daily operations by 1) maintaining their local server infrastructure, 2) moving back-up capabilities to the cloud, and 3) utilizing the services of their remaining IT Engineer who was familiar with their IT and business requirements. 
  • Additional savings could be realized in the future if they chose to displace their remaining IT Engineer with a more cost-effective alternative (e.g. entry level professional, college grad, part-time consultant).
  • An MSP can more readily adapt to anticipated growth spurts by providing additional resources and services as needed.

The firm is now well on its way to regrowing their business with a significantly reduced IT cost structure. If you would like to learn more about how Qnectus can help your business, contact us today. 

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