Susan Atkinson is the Business Manager at the Montessori School, where she manages finances, operations, and human resources among other tasks, for the 40+ faculty and teachers in the school. Susan has also been the person to turn to for anything related to tech.
For over 40 years, the Montessori school has served West Michigan as a center of learning for children aged 3-12. They hold a capacity for 195 students, and technology is an important part of both the curriculum and the administration of the school, which places a significant burden on Susan.
In the past, tech support problems would be directed towards me, and I would be the one to decide if it was worth escalating to our service provider as a problem worth billing them to fix. It became tedious, and was affecting my relationship with the other staff, because I wasn’t always accessible when issues came up, and as you know, frustrations can run high when you’re struggling with technology. —Susan Atkinson, Business Manager at the Montessori School
The Montessori School promotes an environment of resourcefulness and independence.
Server Problems Hitting Critical Mass
IT problems began bubbling up for Susan—email service was regularly cutting out for faculty, files were going missing, and there was a general frustration with technology, centered on one culprit: the Montessori file server.
Server issues were becoming more and more frequent. It would go down in the middle of the workday, and everyone in administration would be dead in the water. Sometimes for hours at a time.
The server was quite old, bogged down and overtasked by the many different tasks assigned to it, including email, files storage, and it acted as its own backup. What made the situation even more challenging was that the server was on loan from a previous provider, who wasn’t offering the necessary support to keep it running smoothly.
Susan was left with the option to continue engaging with their provider and end up in the same situation months down the road, invest in a full-time IT team member, or find a new partner who could advise on a more reliable solution.
A Simple Solution
Susan decided that it was time to simplify their IT situation and turned to her peers to find some answers.
“I’m a big believer in references. After calling around to some other Kalamazoo businesses, I was impressed in what they had to say about Newmind Group.”
After weighing the options with Newmind, Susan decided it was a good idea to remedy their server situation. First, their email was migrated to Google Apps, which would provide them with 99.99% email uptime and a solution document creation, collaboration, and storage. Moving email off of the server would benefit them with a faster, more reliable server environment.
Since working with Newmind, the server issues have disappeared entirely. Apart from the weekly support needs that my teachers send along, there seem to be better efforts and management going on in the back end of things, helping us remain productive and preventing any service issues that might disrupt our work. It’s great peace-of-mind.
With the server situation under control, the opportunity presented itself for Susan to level out her responsibility as the IT support “middle man.” After seeing how effective she and her team became with a consistent go-to for IT needs, she transitioned the Montessori team to a fully-managed relationship with Newmind Group.
“In small companies with small budgets, IT management frequently falls to the finance director who is often viewed as the most technically adept person on staff. However, most of us are MBA’s, not computer engineers. We’re not trained for IT, and it can easily become a source of dissatisfaction for everyone concerned."
Susan can breathe easier now, as she’s no longer the bottleneck for IT support problems: Newmind’s helpdesk takes every ticket as they come in, keeping her team happy and delighted. Susan and Montessori now have the best server for their needs, and downtime is no longer keeping them from providing a great teaching environment.
“The greatest advantage to moving to managed support (from my perspective) is that it allowed me more time to focus on the critical aspects of my role, like finances and human resource management. These are my core competencies. As a result, I believe Montessori is more successful and I find the work more satisfying. It's a win/win/win.”