Making IT changes can be uncomfortable, even painful.
In the spring of 2015, Acadiana Management Group had more going on than ever before. It was crunch time with major renovations and major projects when they hired Rader to manage their all of their technology needs at 18 locations across eight states.
“Rader dove right in and has been a pleasure to work with from the start,” said Jared Seré, AMG’s vice-president of operations. “Maintaining professionalism and level heads and forthright communication is critical. With any issues, they were there with a calm hand.”
For AMG, the benefits of outsourcing their IT needs have been clear.
“This has been a great partnership. Rader jumped right in and was a saving grace,” Seré said. “We didn’t have time to develop our own talent, and they were ready to roll. Time was of the essence. We considered hiring someone, but the risk in hiring someone was that if it wasn’t the right person, we would be delayed by a year. Rader was an instant plug-in and play — and they’ve achieved the expectation.”
Rader’s services for AMG to date have included:
“We were certainly a good fit for each other but that does not always ensure success,” said Rader president Jacob Landry. “I attribute a great deal of the initial success to the strategic communication plan created to reach all levels within AMG. Internally, we always ask ourselves: what did we learn or what could we have done better? The answer is rarely technical, it almost always revolves around improved communication. We focused on communication early on and paid off.”
“In a changing industry, our company internally needed to get up to speed. We were dragging our feet on IT. It was one of those cases of being careful what you ask for. Fortunately, Rader has done the job well,” Seré said. “As a company, they’ve got so much potential. John Ferguson is an all-star. He’s basically functioning as AMG’s chief information officer. The rest of the team is sharp too. They are immersed in AMG’s operation.”
Rader’s legendary commitment to customer service has been evident from the start, according to Seré.
“When we did our email conversion from individual servers at each location to cloud based — that was a major undertaking,” Seré said. “Rader handled everyone’s heightened level of concern with class and a smooth hand. They were put under pressure very quickly.”
The Rader staff unified 15 independent email servers, 15 domains and 15 user directories.
“We took about three months to get everyone moved over,” said John Ferguson, Rader’s chief information officer. “We set a schedule and stuck to it. A lot of the work was with the direct support of AMG management. Without that, we would have had little chance of success. The central management structure was key to the project’s success.”
The email conversion was no simple task, but AMG’s staff began to appreciate the email conversion upon its completion.
“People understand the value of that move now,” Seré said.
Since the completion of that task, Rader has started moving AMG’s users and files to a single domain — with the goal that any user can go to any location and log in.
“This next stage is a more difficult process and a lot of hard work. It is tedious and time consuming,” Ferguson said. “When you start moving peoples’ files, it requires lots of reassurances. It’s not an easy thing to do. We’re building a personal relationship with every user.”
Throughout the system changes and updates, AMG has continued to grow — and Rader has been right there to grow with them setting up the phones and IT for three new locations, with more on the horizon.
“I’ve learned communication on the different levels — corporate, location level, down to user and department — is essential,” Ferguson said.
“Finding everyone we need to know and establishing lines of communication makes all the difference. We do our best to make sure everyone is included from the start to relieve a lot of anxiety.”
“If they tried to do this internally, it would have required more staff and a more significant investment in hardware, software and in training to get the skill set we can help them with,” Ferguson said. “They had two IT guys. It was difficult to get things moving. They were buried in daily support tasks because they were running around putting out fires all the time. Working with them has been good for us relationship wise. It’s great to work with a company that values the partnership as much as we do. We have open and frank conversations.”
Pre-Rader, minor requests would sit for weeks or even months.
“We went from a few internal technicians who put out fires to full-scale IT services,” Seré said.
Beyond hardware and software installations, Rader has also become the company’s go-to source for any IT help or glitches for its 870 users and growing. With Rader, AMG’s users are able to make a call when they have an IT issue. A live person answers the phone and is usually able to solve the problem during the initial conversation. Of course, more complex problems still take time to resolve, but Rader’s staff continues to keep the user updated on progress.
“We’ve definitely helped to alleviate frustration. Sometimes when they call, they actually say, ‘I really appreciate you helping me right away.’ The quicker response helps to calm nerves,” said Sam Castro, Rader’s technical services manager. “Now, they lean on us for their problems — and we’re glad to help. Sometimes we’re not even technically supporting what they’re calling us about, but we are happy to help them to solve the problem.”
Seré said another example of Rader’s service and expertise occurred when AMG purchased a facility in Covington with short notice.
“They had to be there on site and squeeze in with all the other needs. They handled it amazingly — a pressure-packed situation,” Seré said. “They find men and women whether for help desk, coding or programming, who can have a conversation with the lay person whether in the oilfield or healthcare. They’re trying to make those people feel comfortable, and it makes a difference. Rader’s leadership is interested in learning our business and the nuances of our business — what our priorities and workflows are. It’s not just fixing a computer.”