Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
We really don’t keep track of business metrics like downtime, bugs identified by users, and how long it takes to get those resolved. We’ve always been a fee-based company and over-serviced the hell out of our clients. They have clients who's business is answering phones and filling orders—when their system goes down, it can cost them thousands of dollars an hour. We don’t run into that kind of situation. However, I can’t remember experiencing a lot of downtime. We know that there are upgrades happening where we’re going to be down for a few hours here and there, but we never had any extended problems that I could say cost us money because we were down.
Since they are a preferred partner of Microsoft, we’ve had a tremendous opportunity to do beta testing for Microsoft. For example, we were one of the beta site tests for Microsoft Windows 10 when it came out last year. In addition to getting the latest technology, we get some very good opportunities to get Microsoft products. When we were working on Windows 10, we got four new laptops to run the Windows 10 on. Once the new version came out, those laptops were all updated with the final version that went out after the beta testing, and we got to keep the four laptops. That’s one of the side benefits we get from dealing with eMazzanti. We have taken advantage of that opportunity over a number of years for the different types of upgrades that Microsoft has done.
Being so close by, they’re Johnny-on-the-spot if there is an incident. In the past, we had incidents where we needed them to work onsite or send a technician over. Think of Hurricane Sandy and how flooded Hoboken got. Luckily, our office didn’t get flooded, but there was no power for a week. We were able to set up remotely with service, and they really helped us through that process.
Just last weekend, right before a big event that we were having, I get a phone call from them that says, “We just got notification of a power loss, and the servers went down. Is there somebody in the office? Is there something going on?” I said, “You know what? I have no clue. I am sitting here at home.” They have keys to our office, so they had someone over to the office and found out that it was nothing. It turned out only to be bad weather and the Internet provider’s connection on the other end. They were able to enter and determine exactly what the problem was, and get us back up and running. This happened the night before one of our big yearly client events that are held off property. If we don’t have our network up with people out in the field with the ability to link back to our server, we are dead in the water. It turned out to be nothing, but I know that if it had been something, we would have been okay by the morning. I had no worries that we would be able to pull off our functions flawlessly. It’s a confidence factor; it’s not just the physical things that they do. I mentally know that we are covered because if something happens, they usually know about it before me. That’s a good thing.
How did eMazzanti Technologies perform from a project management standpoint?
I am a 60-, going on 61-, year-old guy who is not a computer whiz by any stretch of the imagination, but I am able to manage our system of six different servers in our rack. They are able to communicate the issues with me in regular, user-friendly English. It may take a little while, but I always understand it before we make our decisions. I appreciate that. Having worked with them as long as I have, my experience, time and time again, has been that they know what they’re doing.
What did you find most impressive about eMazzanti Technologies?
Something extra they bring to the table is the ability to educate their clients along the way. I personally haven’t worked with other providers of this nature before eMazzanti. My background is in hotel sales and marketing. If we had IT issues, I dealt with our area of director of IT in any of my hotels. Other than that, I have never been involved in the directing of an IT department or provider. However, eMazzanti’s team was able to train me, a non-technical person, in such a way that I now feel pretty comfortable with our system. If they call me up and say “TS 3 went down,” I know what the hell they are talking about. They helped me grow with them. I understand a lot more now than I did 10 years ago when I basically understood nothing. Now, I got to the point that I am comfortable with having backup servers in my house.
Are there any areas eMazzanti Technologies could improve?
We have very different cultures. Our office is one guy and 24 women, and they are primarily all young, high energy, communications majors. A lot of the guys that they deal with on a daily basis are, pardon my French, tech nerds. They don’t always speak the same language. I do get a sense of frustration sometimes with my staff when these guys are trying to explain to them, but they don’t care about that. They don’t want to know the “why” and “where,” which sometimes these guys try to do. Just fix it, get it done, get it right, and we’ll be fine. I want to learn about it so that I know for the future; the girls don’t. They’re on their computers 8–10 hours a day. If it isn’t working, they’re not productive and they know it. I also understand that things happen that isn’t necessarily eMazzanti’s fault, but they get blamed for a lot.
They’ve come to learn when it’s a good time to do things for us, even some of the lower level technicians. The communication has improved greatly between their techs and our office manager, to whom we’ve directed it now. If they need to schedule something where our systems are going to be down for an hour, they’ll try to do it at night. People still work from home at night, so if the system is down, they need to know about it. Communication, scheduling, and timing are much more effective now than it had been. Sometimes it would just go down, and we wouldn’t know about it, but now we do.