Mayse & Associates
Mayse & Associates is an award-winning architecture and interior design firm under the direction of Principal-in-Charge Mike Mayse. Founded in 1983, the Dallas firm has grown steadily over the years by remaining focused on two guiding principles: provide excellent service and design an excellent product. Their clients include: Marriott hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites, the City of Garland, Maggiano’s, The Container Store, Sears, Crown Equipment, Pacific Northern, GP&L, and AAFES Shopping Mall at Fort Campbell.
Mayse & Associates opted not to outsource their IT support, but to rely on tech-savvy staff assigned to other duties to handle their IT needs as they arose. They outsourced only when problems proved too large to handle in-house. Unfortunately for the architectural firm, this approach resulted in inconsistent network performance and also distracted their staff from the core responsibilities and priorities of their business, which undermined the profitability of the firm.
“Before VentureNet, our IT support was pretty haphazard and our network was often unstable,” says Director of Architecture Homer Guilliams. “We’re an architectural firm and we rely heavily on computers. We knew we needed to greatly improve the stability of our network. That was our top priority as we looked for an IT firm to handle our network.”
Among the problems they faced: erratic network performance and reliability leading to server crashes and data loss, increased “pack ratting” by staff members who stored files on PCs (to hedge against server crashes that caused data loss) leading to slowed network performance,
Guilliams decided to turn over IT support for the firm’s 4-server, 40-user network to VentureNet in 2005. He says the change was like night and day. “Since VentureNet has come on board, our network performance has improved dramatically,” observes Mayse’s director of architecture. “They stabilized our existing network and helped us expand it, which we needed. We’re 90% more stable than before VentureNet took over our network support. In fact, I’ve never seen a network more stable than ours.”
Guilliams adds that not only has their network been more stable, but that the firm’s growing profitability can be tied closely to their IT support. “Our revenues have doubled during the three years VentureNet has given us IT support. I believe their involvement in our equipment and systems has played a big part in that growth. Our architects can be architects now – instead of worrying about how to fix a computer or being slowed down by a poor performing network. Our professionals can focus on our business because VentureNet’s professionals are focusing on their – taking care of our IT needs.”
Over the years, VentureNet has also handled a wide variety of IT projects. For example, they migrated the firm’s Exchange server from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 and retired and replaced another domain server to keep the network running smoothly. They also updated all the architectural firm’s workstations, including dual monitors at each station as part of the updating.
Along the way, VentureNet has drawn on their knowledge and experience to provide advice on how to best leverage technology at Mayse and Associates. For example, they helped the architectural firm upgrade their bandwidth, created standardized company-wide email signatures, implemented LCD screens in the firm’s conference room for client presentations and staff meetings, provided connectivity between the firm’s two offices, and installed and maintain a VoIP phone system. “What I love about VentureNet is they always want to find a solution that works for us,” says Guilliams. “They’ve truly carried the ball on this – hearing our needs, recommending solutions to meet those needs and handling the implementation. All we had to do was tell them what we wanted and they handled the rest.”
Another area that needed improvement at the architectural firm was their data backup solution. Their tape backup system was antiquated and problematic – and the potential for data loss remained because of the inherent limitations of tape backups. “In many cases,” says Guilliams, “a team of architects works many months developing a project. To risk losing it? We won’t survive very long in business wishing and hoping (that we can recover data). A better backup and data recovery solution had become our number one concern.”
At the urging of VentureNet’s primary engineer supporting the architectural firm, Guilliams attended a seminar on keepgoing.biz, the IT firm’s data protection and business continuity service. “The solution addressed all our needs and was presented without pressure or sales tactics,” says Guilliams of the seminar. Because of the large amount of archived data at Mayse, VentureNet customized a data vaulting solution, in conjunction with keepgoing.biz, to handle the archived data and keep the backup stream cleaner and more cost-effective. The service has lived up to Guilliams’ expectations, “There’s no comparison between keepgoing.biz and what we were doing before. It’s been 100% accurate and reliable. File restores are routinely handled in 15 minutes or less. You just can’t do that with tape! I can go home and sleep at night – I’m confident our data is always protected and always recoverable. To get results that quickly and that accurately is phenomenal.”
How does Mayse’s director of architecture sum up the “before and after” of IT support for his firm? “There are just not enough words to express the dramatic difference between our network before we worked with VentureNet and our network now,” say Guilliams.