The client is a financial services firm that offers innovative, actively managed investment portfolios in hard assets, emerging markets, precious metals including gold, and other alternative asset classes. Limited resource availability required that the client find a partner to support the maintenance and support of their IT infrastructure. CRA was carefully considered and then contracted to assume responsibility for maintaining the client's network infrastructure. The client also utilizes CRA's independent consulting practice.
The client conveyed sincere appreciation for CRA's the service and support. According to the client, they have not experienced any unexpected server downtime since hiring CRA, and commends them for their proactive approach to maintenance and security. It was also noted that CRA has become an asset when it comes to the long-term IT strategy. The client maintains an ongoing relationship with CRA and recommends them highly.
"It's rare to not be able to reach our account representative or one of their senior executives. A personal touch to IT services is hard to find, but they've [CRA] succeeded."
Please describe your organization.
We are a privately-held asset management firm. We've been in business since 1955, offering a sizable portfolio of financial products to our customers.
What is your position?
I am the global head of IT operations.
What business challenge were you trying to address with CRA?
We were looking for someone to build a custom solution for service-level desk support.
Please describe the scope of their involvement.
CRA has provided us with consultants who offer support to our internal staff. The scope of their involvement grew into systems administration and backend server support. We also used them on project-based work, namely our office and data center relocations.
We operate as a Windows-based VM [virtual machine] office. Our servers use SQL, Windows Server 2010 and 2012, Exchange, and so on. Managed services extend to server support, as well as desk support.
They offer services both remotely and on-site, with the former being used in 70% of all cases. Individual technicians are dispatched locally for physical issues that have no other recourse. We don't have the necessary resources for providing these services in-house.
How did you come to work with CRA?
We were looking for network engineering as well as network administration skillsets. We needed to make sure that our VM environments and other server platforms had a certain patch level in order to minimize issues. We also needed design expertise in terms of rack configuration and relocation. We went through a few service providers that we found through different channels, from references to online research. I had worked with CRA in the past and had good experiences with them, thus bringing them to the company.
Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?
The annual cost for their services ranges between $250-500,000.
What is the status of this engagement?
The relationship is ongoing.
Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?
CRA has been very good at addressing problems. Communication is one of their strongest areas, especially on the administration and engineering sides.
We kept track of milestones for our relocation project. All of them were completed within or before our original targets. The end-result was a completely successful project.
The system administrators, engineers and service desk staff within my department have given very positive feedback regarding CRA. We've come to build a rapport by typically working with the same representatives over time. They're a good organization to work with, and we feel very comfortable with their services and support.
How did CRA perform from a project management standpoint?
Their approach is proactive in terms of the solutions offered. CRA's main goal is to manage the first level of any incoming ticket. If they can't tackle it remotely, the on-site support services then comes into play. We're always kept in the loop. The execution is solid from a managed services perspective.
We have an internal ticketing system and an account representative with whom we liaise. Most often we discuss upcoming projects for which we need support, and only rarely do we need to address actual problems for them to fix. At the end of the day, this gives me confidence.
What distinguishes CRA from other providers?
They're readily available. It's rare to not be able to reach our account representative or one of their senior executives. A personal touch to IT services is hard to find, but they've succeeded.
Is there anything CRA could have improved or done differently?
For the work in which we've used them, they've been very capable, and I'm sure they would be able to support larger environments if the situation required it. I haven't had any issues as far as my specific support needs went. CRA is good at what they do.