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Case Studies: Top Down Software

Case Study

Top Down Software

Co-Location, Network Support

The NERDS Group designed and implemented a complete network and computer systems upgrade for a major provider of Limousine services to organizations in the Washington, DC area and the Maryland and Virginia suburbs of DC. Their clients include major corporations, government agencies, and businesses of all sizes. The fleet consists of six to ten passenger stretch limousines, Lincoln Town Cars, and fourteen passenger limousine busses. Their network consisted of several servers and about ten workstations used by dispatchers and back office staff.

The Challenge

As the business grew, it was becoming difficult for the company’s computer systems to keep up. The old system was a home grown DOS-based system that used an older database system. After many months of investigation, they selected a new software system that was specifically designed for the limousine service industry, but the existing network and computers did not meet the minimum requirements for the new software.

The Solution

With the problem in hand and the need to address it quickly, the owner set out to find a company with the capabilities and expertise to provide a complete network solution. Colleagues introduced him to The NERDS Group. In short order the engineers from NERDS evaluated the existing network, made recommendations for upgrades that would meet or exceed the requirements of the new Dispatch software system, and began discussing options for creating a far more reliable IT environment.
Technical considerations for the new network ranged from remote access to high availability hardware. Most of the computer workstations needed to be replaced, several additional workstations were added to accommodate additional staff, and new servers had to be installed and configured in preparation for the new Transportation Software system. According to the software vendor, it was the “best prepared network they had come across” and the installation of the Transportation Software system was completed ahead of schedule. The technical solution was driven by business needs.
To get things started, NERDS talked extensively with the client’s advisor, an experienced IT professional. We discussed their business goals, including expectations for new application extensions such as online reservations, remote VPN access, integration with the company’s accounting software, and integration with GPS and camera equipment installed in the fleet of limos, and a myriad of other issues. With that understanding and a survey of the company’s existing network, the blueprint for a new way of networking was rapidly created and deployed.

The Results

Over the next few weeks, NERDS engineers began replacing a patchwork of computer systems that consisted of different operating systems, antiquated computers, and a host of storage and communications equipment. The network was systematically built-out on a single, industry standard operating system with hardware and software from a limited number of vendors to ensure maximum stability. The existing DSL internet connection was upgraded to a faster T1 connection. The NERDS Group specified, ordered and installed all of the computers and servers for the new network, even working with the leasing company that would finance the hardware and software purchases. Just as important, The NERDS Group also introduced a new perspective on network planning and maintenance. The new thinking was three-fold. First, there would be a focus on preventative maintenance, eliminating the break-fix mentality that is pervasive in growing companies. Next, equipment would be leased, not purchased, saving thousands in capital expenses. Finally, a customer service element would be added to the IT plan that was rather unique to a small business.
The limousine company was immediately set up with a dedicated engineer to answer questions and solve simple problems over the phone. NERDS also brought its remote maintenance expertise to the situation, which ensured timely response to most problems.
Since the cutover to the new network, the limousine company has experienced additional growth and The NERDS Group was there to add new hardware, software and support systems to facilitate that growth. As the company expanded their operations were moved into a new location. The NERDS Group was able to move the servers and workstations with almost no downtime, a factor that is very important for a 24-hour operation.

The Resources

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