In Northern Ireland, Ciara Maitland, Practice Manager at Belfast quantity surveyor, HMK, spoke of HMK’s recent network upgrade. The HMK team upgraded their computer systems in 2013, here’s what Ciara had to say:….
Please tell us a little more about HMK
HMK is a Quantity Surveying Practice in Northern Ireland, with offices in Belfast, Omagh and Londonderry. HMK currently employ 12 staff over the three sites and provide quantity surveying services throughout Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland the UK.
What was your company’s need?
HMK was operating on a Microsoft Small Business Server, but as the business grew, the server was reaching capacity and frequently crashing and causing a number of problems day to day. The IT support that HMK were using at the time provided reactive support, which was sufficient until the frequency of the problems increased. Reactive support meant that a long term solution was never proposed and only short term solutions given. This proved time consuming and frustrating for staff.
HMK required a more pro-active IT support, one that looked for long term solutions and would work with the Practice to meet our specific needs. HMK also required a cost effective, value for money solution.
Which characteristics do you look for in a supplier / partner?
• Quick Acting
• Understand our business needs
• Provides value for money
How did you plan the project / service with Precept IT & how did you work together to achieve an optimum result?
Precept sent an engineer to perform a ‘health-check’ on our IT systems and took time both in person and via email to get to grips with our business requirements, our current IT situation, any additional requirements and any current IT issues.
Precept IT came up with a solution to our IT requirements which had both short term and long term measures. Precept IT got to work, implementing the short term measures which made the daily working of the practice easier and at the same time, began planning a long term solution, which involved the replacement of the server with the practice manager.
The new server project was planned well in advance, Precept’s Project mangers spent time in the office learning how the practice worked and what was required from our server. Precept also established an IT register that was shared so both Precept IT and HMK could access and update as required. A date was set well in advance for the new server to be installed so that all the preparation work could be carried out, both by Precept IT and HMK. All staff were kept well up to date with the progress of the new server installation to ensure that there was no downtime.
The new server was installed over a weekend, members of Precept IT was onsite to ensure that it went smoothly and it did. The new server was up and running for 9am on Monday morning, with no down time whatsoever and Precept were present again to ensure that any issues were dealt with. It took a further two weeks to ‘iron-out’ minor issues that arose and could not have been foreseen but this was as expected and advised by Precept IT and each and every issue was dealt with quickly and efficiently either remotely or in person. Precept IT empowered the Practice Manager to complete many IT tasks by providing information and training, sending detailed instructions and phone support. This cuts down on the time it takes to solve simple IT problems in the office and subsequently cuts costs.
What do you like about the outcome so far?
While the installation of the new server is definitely positive, we have more space on our server, and everything is running smoothly and quickly, the best outcome from our move to Precept IT is the partnership we have developed which has provided a whole new approach to it. Rather than being a hindrance and a mystery to us, Precept have helped us develop our IT knowledge and understanding so that it can be used to develop and enhance our practice. From the outset, Precept IT have come up with not only solutions to our IT issues but suggestions to improve and enhance our IT ability and they have provided these suggestions through a clear and affordable programme that meets our business needs.
For more information on Hood McGowan Kirk’s Quantity Surveying Services, please visit their website www.hmkni.com