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Case Study: First Option Inc.

Finding the right IT outsourcing partner makes all the difference.

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Two professionals working on a computer.
First Option started up in 1995 to provide businesses with connectivity to networks, internal business applications, email and the Internet. As the years went by, First Option expanded their portfolio of outsourced IT services with Report Program Generator (RPG) and IBM iSeries programming expertise.

A few years ago, First Option saw an opportunity to expand into hosted services while continuing to lead with offerings for IBM i network environments. Because the company didn’t have the space to tackle this expansion on their own, they began to look for a vendor that had the knowledge and ability to support the network and IBM i applications in the cloud, and to maintain 24/7/365 service level agreements. They found exactly what they were looking for in mindSHIFT, a Ricoh company.

“You can drop mindSHIFT into any situation and they can quickly figure it out. They have the depth of knowledge because they’ve dealt with it all. I consider mindSHIFT a part of First Option.”

Paul Fuller
First Option Inc.






At first, mindSHIFT managed First Option’s data centers but quickly took on the production and development centers. Then the relationship took a big leap forward.

mindSHIFT now handles all of the hardware service on First Option’s system, manages their infrastructure, mans their call center, conducts backups, supports their cloud accounting suite and performs other operational functions.

But mindSHIFT is far more than a typical managed IT services provider. They collaborated with First Option on the development of IBM i Watchdog by First Option, a monitoring tool for iSeries and AS/400 systems. The dashboard alerts users via email to the essential things they need to know when issues become imminent. mindSHIFT hosts the central server for the tool, which is now used to monitor more than 70 systems around the world and millions of transactions per week.

About First Option Inc.

First Option Inc. offers a fully integrated cloud accounting suite, a centralized IBM i monitoring tool, IBM i application hosting and disaster recovery services. With offices in Boston and Phoenix, First Option serves customers in industries such as financial services, telecommunications, nonprofit, retail and legal.



First Option can focus on their core business with confidence for several reasons:

  • They have never experienced downtime with mindSHIFT, even when a hurricane came through.
  • mindSHIFT supports Windows® and networking environments, in addition to IBM i applications, so the company has attracted larger clients.
  • A hardware lease arrangement with mindSHIFT, along with a set monthly fee, consolidates technology and services in one vendor — simplifying accounting.

The companies recently signed a two-year extension contract and plan to add a development backup site at a secure data center in Minnesota. mindSHIFT’s strengths in dedicated and cloud-based high availability and disaster recovery solutions will be instrumental in protecting IBM i environments from data loss.

The two companies are expanding their relationship even more by working together to start an IBM i networking collaborative in Phoenix.