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From what I can tell, it all started somewhere around 2:00 in the morning on a Thursday. That was when there was a surge in the Carrum Downs electric grid. Most homes and businesses handled it well. It wasn’t even a blip on their radar.
But for my music production company, it was the beginning of a miserable day.
Let me back up a little bit.
Because we are so reliant on technology, I made sure that I had a computer support guy here in Carrum Downs to take care of our systems when they needed a tweak or two.
What I didn’t count on was the cascade of catastrophe that we experienced.
As I said, it started with that electric surge.
By the time I came into the office around 8:00 on Thursday morning and hit the “ON” button, there wasn’t a kick of life in my computer.
My first call was to my computer guy.
He answered his cell phone with a groggy, “Hello?”
I quickly told him what was going on, but just as quickly, he told me that he was on his two week’s holiday in Alice Springs and wouldn’t be back ‘till the following week.
It dawned on me at that point that I really should have hired a business technology support company with more than one IT guy on staff.
That was my mistake.
I wanted to say something, but instead, I bit my tongue, wished him well on his holiday, and hung up the phone.
“What next?” I thought.
That’s when I heard a click and a whirr.
Hope jumped into my brain as I realised that my computer was coming back to life. I sat down and stared at the screen with breathless anticipation.
The computer that normally took about thirty seconds to boot up now acted like a computer zombie. Yes, there was life there, but it was certainly not it’s former productive self.
After fifteen minutes of fruitless clicks of the mouse – and more than one disparaging thought toward my vacationing tech guy – I gave up on the computer and went to the coffee machine.
“Finally, something in this office that works!” I said to myself in utter frustration.
With a cup of coffee in hand, I gave up on the desk computer and dropped into a comfortable chair in reception – coffee in one hand and my smartphone in the other.
I opened my browser, ignored the fact that the company WiFi seemed to be fried as well, and typed “computer support Carrum Downs” into a browser.
That search brought up 243,000 results.
My heart sank.
My inner conversation went something like, “How in the world am I supposed to wade through all these web pages to find someone with the skillset and business savvy to help?”
That minute, the door opened and Chuck, our office manager, walked in the door with a paper cup of coffee in one hand, his briefcase in the other, and a box of doughnuts gripped tightly under one arm.
“Well,” I thought, “at least we have doughnuts.”
It took about forty-three seconds to fill Chuck in on the happenings of the morning.
Not being one to take someone’s word for gospel truth, Chuck went around for the next twenty minutes unplugging and plugging back in our server, workstations, router, and modem. Fortunately, there were some blips of life, and at the end of his twenty-minute romp around the facility, we determined that about 2/3 of our hardware was a hopeless cause.
But that still left one big question.
Who was going to help us source new hardware, install it, and configure it?
Well, it was about that time that the rest of the staff started rolling in through the front door.
By the time all twenty-three showed up (Max, our sound tech was late. — Max is always late.), we still were no closer to an answer than we were before.
But one thing we did know. – We didn’t need all these people here.
So, we gathered everyone into the conference room, gave them the sort version of our morning’s saga and sent everyone home for a paid day’s holiday.
I’ve gotta admit, that hurt.
At that point, our company had five major projects on the go and more than twice that in smaller ongoing work files. We couldn’t afford the downtime to begin with, and now, in one day, it was costing us nearly 10,000 dollars in lost productivity.
Something had to be done.
So I turned back to Google.
Chuck, however, had a different idea.
There were maybe five companies suggested, so I gave up my frantic Google search and sat down to review the prospective company’s sites and computer support offerings with Chuck.
What we decided on right away was that we wanted someone that was local, and we wanted a company that had a number of technicians available.
What wasn’t said but was understood by both of us at that moment was that our current Carrum Downs computer support guy – the one currently vacationing in Alice Springs – wouldn’t be employed by us any longer.
Not because he was a bad guy or wasn’t great at his job…
The fact was, we were growing and needed a higher level of support than he could deliver – especially on his own.
Our call was answered by a friendly young man who listened carefully to our story of computer woes and handed us off to a member of their team that handled sales and dispatch.
He explained to us that Steadfast Solutions was not simply a break/fix computer support company. Instead, they partner with companies like ours and deliver continuous business technology care in return for a monthly subscription fee.
It made sense to us.
So, we set up a time for a couple of people from the Steadfast Solutions team to come over that afternoon after lunch.
After hanging up the phone, I turned to Chuck and said, “Now what?”
With a smile, he said, “Today requires more than doughnuts.”
And with that, we walked out the door and went for a very late breakfast.
By the time breakfast was over, it was nearly noon.
Our new Carrum Downs computer support people from Steadfast Solutions were due to arrive at 1:00 so we hurried back to the office.
When they arrived, we were surprised that they didn’t run first to diagnose and deal with the computer systems. Instead, they talked with us at some length about the company, how we currently use technology, and where we would like to see our use of technology take us.
That was refreshing.
That was what we were missing – an IT strategy.
Well… that and working computers, server, and WiFi.
But they were prepared for that as well.
The Steadfast Solutions reps had brought some loaner computers and a server with them and set them up temporarily until they could order exactly what we needed moving forward.
Fortunately, we already had a rudimentary business continuity plan in place, so they were able to download our essential files and applications onto the stop-gap computers and server they brought with them.
By the next morning, we were running again, and our staff was back to work. Not at full speed, but 85% or so… Enough to get working again.
What a relief!
Over the next week, Steadfast Solutions team members replaced the temporary equipment with computers, server, and WiFi hardware that will serve us well into the future.
Some of the services they offer are:
Today, nearly four months after that chaotic morning, our company is stronger and more efficient than ever before, and Steadfast Solutions maintains our IT systems in real time to ensure that we can keep running at full speed.
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Published on 21st April 2018 by Ian Brady.