Andrew Sam, a broker for UHS with knowledge of the company’s IT capabilities, was the go-to person at UHS for all things IT. With an older network operating system that would no longer be supported by Microsoft®, Sam knew UHS would soon need a new server. But it’s local partner for outsourced IT services lacked the expertise to advise the agency on an upgrade.
“IT issues came to me first, but I just know the basics,” said Sam. “Some items, like networking, I don’t know. We wanted a network with higher specs than what we would normally need because we wanted it to be faster and last longer.”
The agency relied on cloud-based email technology from Microsoft Office 365®, which frequently had issues and local support was non-existent. This email technology also didn’t support scan-to-email, which Sam knew would improve efficiency at the agency. Instead, documents were being scanned to UHS’s FTP server and accessed from there, which was cumbersome for agents and other employees to navigate.
While UHS had a backup solution on-site, no one was monitoring it. Backups weren’t automatic and no one person at the agency was in charge of ensuring its information was preserved and secure on a daily basis. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sam found himself spending far too much time researching new IT solutions—taking him away from his primary insurance agent duties. So much so, Sam routinely found himself two- to three-days behind on his normal workload. Something had to be done.
Sam talked to an adjacent business that had a Ricoh printer in-house. He learned the business was extremely satisfied with the printer and Sam asked for a contact at Ricoh. To his surprise, Sam learned that Ricoh was far more than a printing hardware provider. Managed IT Services was a key strength for Ricoh, serving small businesses just like UHS.
Now that it has an up-to-date IT infrastructure and network support package, UHS is finally able to focus on what is most important to the agency—serving existing customers and signing new ones. Its workflow is now streamlined with scan-to-email functionality on the Ricoh MFP—agents can easily scan a typical 50-page contract right to their email without having to think about it. And especially important to Sam, he doesn’t have to juggle dual roles—IT person and insurance agent—simultaneously.
“It’s a relief not having to worry about IT issues. I don’t spend much time on it at all anymore,” said Sam.
Information backup was non-existent at UHS before the agency started working with Ricoh. Now, UHS’s data is backed up automatically and uploaded to an offsite, cloud-based server—giving the insurance agency peace of mind its information will be preserved and readily available.
The relationship between Ricoh and UHS continues. Going forward, Ricoh will bring UHS’s Microsoft Exchange server in-house and re-host it. UHS is also planning an office expansion, which will require Ricoh to provide more cabling, structured wiring, ports, workstations and rack modifications.
In addition, UHS is evaluating its need to make its information accessible in an increasingly mobile world. It may enlist Ricoh to add a virtual private network (VPN) for the agency in the near future so employees can tap into their PCs remotely—anytime, anywhere, from any device.
Sam did his due diligence and explored IT capabilities offered by a variety of providers. But he wanted more than just service—he wanted a partner with expertise in hardware and software—that was also available 24/7 for on-site service and remote troubleshooting.
“I was having a hard time finding a company that would bundle hardware, software and services,” said Sam. “Most would just do services and make us buy the equipment and software ourselves. Ricoh offered all three.”
After meeting with Ricoh’s team, UHS was fully convinced it had found its ideal IT partner. The agency quickly signed on with Ricoh for Managed IT Services and a widespread infrastructure overhaul began.
Because UHS’s existing infrastructure was unsupportable, Ricoh needed to start fresh. A new domain server was installed along with a new firewall with bandwidth management, WiFi capabilities and a Ricoh MFP to support scan-to-email. Ricoh installed new racks to hold the equipment, ran new cabling and centralized all the equipment in one area of the building for easy access and containment. Also, several workstations were upgraded from an outdated Windows® XP operating environment.
Key to the deal was the proactive network monitoring package administered by Ricoh. To keep UHS up and running, Ricoh provides 24/7 remote monitoring, remote remediation, anti-virus and anti-spyware updates, reporting and workstation and server patching and updates—all for one predictable monthly fixed cost.
“The relationship with Ricoh is working really well. They monitor our network and regularly make updates,” said Sam. “When we have an issue, we just call them and they help get the issue resolved quickly.”