R.L. Evans Company, Inc. Finds a Good Balance between Cost and Effectiveness with Z Networks

"This proactive response gave us peace of mind that our business operations would not be interrupted. The following week, we came in Monday and it was business-as-usual." [Read More]

-Brian Leach, Certified Funding Specialist, R.L. Evans Company

Industry: Insurance / Financial Size: Medium

R.L. Evans

Industry: Insurance / Financial Size: Medium

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Business Challenge

When R. L. Evans Company, Inc.'s IT consulting firm was not meeting their expectations for responsiveness, overall cost, and technical expertise, they knew they needed to make a change. R. L. Evans Company, Inc. needed an IT partner that offered the quality service they required at an affordable price. They quickly found that Z Networks exceeded their expectations. Brian Leach, R. L. Evans Company, Inc.'s Certified Funding Specialist stated, "Throughout the interview process with Z Networks, it was clear that the depth of talent within the organization was more than sufficient to meet our needs". R. L. Evans Company Inc. needed support that would match their small business needs without breaking the bank. According to Leach, Z Networks was "very empathetic to our needs as a small business... [and provided] a service plan and recommendations that struck a good balance between costs and effectiveness".

Reliable in a Windstorm

In late August 2015, Western Washington experienced a severe windstorm. Several homes and businesses went without power for days. R. L. Evans Company, Inc. was glad they had a reliable IT partner during the chaos. When the company lost power, Z Networks quickly notified them of the outage and monitored the server to make sure there were no problems. Leach said, "This proactive response gave us peace of mind that our business operations would not be interrupted. The following week, we came in Monday and it was business-as-usual."

A New Level of Service

When they signed on with Z Networks in June 2015, R. L. Evans Company, Inc. found a valuable business partner. Unlike other IT companies, Z Networks takes a proactive approach to solving problems. Z Network's approach has saved R. L. Evans Company, Inc. time and money by monitoring their systems and notifying them of any potential problems. Leach noted that the improvement from their previous IT provider became immediately apparent: "We consider Z networks to be a valuable business partner and the investment we have made has allowed us to focus our efforts on our business without having to waste time chasing down and solving IT problems".

Since 1969, R. L. Evans Company, Inc. has been serving individuals and employers across the Pacific Northwest by providing them with insurance and financial expertise. This family owned business is committed to building strong, long-term relationships with their clients and ensuring they receive quality service.

When Pike Brewing needed a technology partner, they chose Z Networks.

"Z Networks knows us and our business, and we know and trust them." [Read More]

Drew Gillespie, VP of Operations, The Pike Brewing Company

Industry: Restaurant Size: Medium / Large

Pike Brewing

Industry: Legal Size: Medium

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Business Challenge

The Pike Brewing Company's original IT support partner relocated and shifted to remotely supporting Pike's technology. This worked for some items but often pulled management away from their duties to handle IT tasks while the consultant attempted to instruct them by phone. At best this took time, at worst it led to Misdiagnosing and inadequately addressing problems. Additionally, a critical server replacement was on the horizon which would require local support. A routine on-site presence from a designated support team is a big part of how Z Networks provides top-tier customer service and outstanding results. A Z Networks technician was at Pike optimizing the network environment almost every day in the first month of partnering. These efforts along with extensively documenting and mapping network assets and processes ensures future support issues are rare and easily addressable. Drew Gillespie, Pike's Vice President of Operations, really appreciates seeing familiar faces from his designated support team, stating "they know us and our business, and we know and trust them."

Careful Migration from and Aging Server

An aging server can be a company-wide disaster waiting to happen, and Pike was well aware that they were overdue for a server replacement. A server analysis by Z Networks confirmed Pike's suspicion that their server was at high risk for failure and being used well beyond its expected life. Migrating data off of an aging server is very taxing and hardware failure is always a possibility. At Pike, the primary server drive failed during the initial migration attempt, and the server did not have proper hard drive redundancy. Thankfully, Pike was protected by a data back-up system which had a recent copy of the old server's data. Z Networks was able to restore this data to a temporary back-up and data recovery device (BDR) and migrate from that device to the new server. The replacement server was custom built by Z Networks with triple hard drive redundancy and connected to a separate back-up device to prevent any close calls in the future.

Helping Ownership Work Remotely

Pike Brewery founder Charles Finkel is a graphic designer who often works from home, and it is essential for him to be able to access all of Pike's computing resources from his home office. Prior to partnering with Z Networks, Charles' remote access was working inconsistently if at all. Pike's designated service coordinator at Z Networks suspected internet bandwidth at the Brewery was to blame, and a series of speed tests revealed that Pike was not receiving even close to the internet bandwidth promised by their internet service provider (ISP). The next step for the service coordinator was to serve as liaison with Pike's current ISP while also contacting other ISPs in the area. A comprehensive network connectivity analysis report was generated and shared with Pike, along with Z Networks' recommendation to select a particular provider and bandwidth level. After making the recommended switch along with other configuration changes, Charles' difficulties working from the home office were a thing of the past.

Legal Voice was comfortable with their IT provider, but when the recession hit in 2009, they needed to find an alternative.

"There were several consultants working on it and you really did work to get us up and running and save our data". [Read More]

-Kelli Maguire, Director of Administration & Events, Legal Voice

Industry: Legal Size: Medium

Z Networks Rescues Fossatti Pawlak Structural Engineers from Cloud Computing Nightmare

"Z Networks saved the day in a really tough situation and we are very happy with our on-going support. It's a huge plus that they communicate with us in terms we can actually understand." [Read More]

-Kathryn Majorki, Office Manager, Fossatti Pawlak Structural Engineers

Industry: Architecture Size: Small / Medium

Fossatti Pawlak

Industry: Architecture Size: Medium / Large

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Business Challenge

In mid 2013, Fossatti Pawlak followed their IT vendor's recommendation to move to a cloud based server. Cloud computing is quickly gaining popularity by promising to reduce capital expenditures, back up business information automatically, and make files available from anywhere you can access the internet. Fossatti, however, soon discovered that cloud computing is not yet a fit for all businesses, as the large CAD files their business relies on were barely accessible through the cloud server, even with high speed internet. Now, Fossatti needed to find an IT vendor whose recommendations they could trust and one who had the expertise to migrate their systems away from the cloud.

From the Cloud, to the Old Server, to a New Server

Fossatti Pawlak's move to a cloud based server took months of trouble shooting to become barely functional, yet within two weeks of hiring Z Networks, Fossatti was back to stable operations on their old on premise server. This server, however, was aging and at risk of failure if not soon replaced. Z Networks immediately connected the server to a backup and failover device to protect Fossatti while helping to procure a replacement within their budget. A Dell device was selected based on financing options, and Z Networks quickly had Fossatti Pawlak up and running in the new and finally stable server environment. Additionally, an automated and truly redundant cloud backup solution was connected to the server and scheduled to run outside of business hours to avoid causing disruptions.

On-Going Support for a Design Firm

Fossatti Pawlak's design professionals continue to rely on Z Networks for day-to-day tech support in their Seattle office and while working remotely in the field. With around a dozen staff of primarily structural engineers, the firm relies heavily on technology and is always under deadline. Z Networks 24/7 remote helpdesk and same-day onsite response are always available to help Fossatti Pawlak's team work through IT issues and make the most of their technology. Fossatti Pawlak's Office Manager, Kathryn Majorki, really appreciates that Z Networks talks about technology in terms she can understand and is reassured by Z Network's specialization in the design and construction industries. Additionally, Z Networks helped with a seamless transition of technology during Fossatti's office move in September of 2014.

When Watson McDonnell needed IT cost to align with their business model, they chose Z Networks.

"In addition to responding very quickly onsite for critical issues, Z Networks is very cost conscious and keeps our total IT spend down." [Read More]

-Lillian McDonnell, Managing Member, Watson McDonell Certified Public Accountants

Industry: Financial Services Size: Medium / Large

Watson McDonnell

Industry: Accounting Size: Medium / Large

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Business Challenge

Watson & McDonnell began to experience significant growth in 2007, and the firm's technology needs were growing along with the company. The firm tried working with a number of different individual IT consultants but response times were inconsistent, and certain IT support functions were falling back on CPAs who should otherwise be helping clients. The firm realized they needed the support of an entire IT team to ensure quicker response and resolution times. Z Networks' team based approach with a designated service coordinator managing and deploying a group of technicians was the perfect fit.

From Onboarding to IT Planning

Z Networks' client onboarding process begins with a detailed office walkthrough to map the client's IT environment, document IT assets, and to build an understanding of how the client's operations rely on technology. This documentation quickly becomes an IT plan including a hardware refresh strategy for replacing aging hardware before it causes problems. The walkthrough at Watson & McDonnell revealed that the firm's main server and firewall were close to failure. Z Networks replaced the aging server and firewall without incident and over time helped Watson & McDonnell employees seamlessly transition to new work stations without breaking the bank.

Helping Professionals Work Remotely

The growth of the business increased the demand from Watson & McDonnell professionals to be able to work in the field and from home while still having access to centralized computing resources. Z Networks implemented a number of infrastructure and software configuration changes to make this possible including installation of a custom built, low budget terminal server. In some cases, the ability to have employees work remotely helped Watson & McDonnell retain employees that were moving away from Seattle

Protecting Business Data

Z Networks recommends that all clients utilize both on-site and off-site back-up solutions. Both types of backup at Watson & McDonnell were implemented and are managed by their Z Networks team including a customized back-up solution to protect their core accounting application's case data.

When Surplus Lines needed aging equipment replaced and the project to be seamless, they chose Z Networks.

"Z Networks did exactly what they said they would do, and they always have someone there to answer the phone when we call." [Read More]

-Bob Hope, Executive Director, Surplus Line Association of Washington State

Industry: Financial Services Size: Medium / Large

Surplus Lines

Industry: Financial Size: Medium / Large

Business Challenge

Surplus Line Association of Washington (SLAW) worked with an on-call IT support provider for a number of years but felt it was time for a change. A move to a cloud based processing system for SLAW transactions and a long neglected need to upgrade most of their hardware further highlighted the need to find a more proactive and responsive IT partner.

Long term planning is paramount to Z Networks' customer service philosophy. The widespread "I'll fix it when it's broken" alternative often leads to unnecessary down-time, overspending, and even irreparable loss of a business's critical data. SLAW came to this realization while experiencing sometimes crippling network slowness in an office with computers over ten years old, and they came to Z Networks for help. Prior to making any recommendations or changes, Z Network's first step with any client is conducting a walk-through to extensively document and map the client's IT environment and related business processes. This ensures any IT infrastructure and configuration improvements address the client's present and future needs while also making sure on-going support issues are rare and easy to resolve.

Complete IT Makeover

The walk-through at SLAW confirmed that the organization was relying on a server that was well overdue for replacement. In addition, network connectivity analysis revealed the entire office was sharing a bandwidth of 1MB for downloads and 0.5 MB for uploads. This made completing routine tasks frustrating and sometimes impossible. Further diagnostics uncovered that the sluggishness was caused by an out-ofdate modem that was incompatible with SLAW's internet service package. An internet service plan upgrade costing SLAW around ten dollars a month, along with an inexpensive new modem, increased internet bandwidth to 33 MB downloads and 12 MB uploads. Additionally, Z Networks installed an internet failover device that connects SLAW's network to a back-up internet service provider if the primary provider has an outage.

Along with overhauling internet connectivity, Z Networks transitioned the entire staff to new computers running uniform versions of software. The outdated server was migrated without issue to a Z Networks custom built server. At a fraction of the cost, a Z Networks' server has equivalent warranties and specifications to a server from any major manufacturer. The entire staff at SLAW is thrilled with the improvements and excited to be working with a proactive and responsive IT partner.