Importing and exporting goods involves a maze of complex trade and border security regulations that require careful attention, timeliness and accuracy. Fortunately, US Customs forms and processes are now all electronic. So for a company like Export Import Services, a robust and reliable IT environment is mission-critical: without it, they can’t operate.
That’s why Hazlet, NJ-based Export Import Services chose STF Consulting to host their entire IT environment via its Cloud Services offering. All of their general office and line-of-business applications are hosted on a private cloud at STF’s secure data center in Parsippany, New Jersey and delivered via the Internet. Export Import Services was the first STF client to move to the cloud in 2012, and it has gone so well that when it came time to refresh all of their Microsoft Office applications five years later, they knew the upgrade would come off without a hitch.
Never Missing a Beat
Hitches are just the kind of thing the fourth generation, family-run freight forwarding business must avoid. The decision to leave behind the costly maintenance and replacement of on-premise servers for the secure, reliable, monitored cloud service paid off just months after they switched from a room full of servers to the cloud in 2012.
The move “has been great for us,” says Nicole Bueb, operations manager at the firm, who represents the fourth generation of family in the business. “I don’t know why anyone would get physical servers anymore.”
That Fall, when Hurricane Sandy knocked out area competitors, Export Import Services staff simply relocated to a home with a generator and didn’t miss a beat. Their desktop environments looked exactly as they would had they been back at their office computers. The company’s clients, which operate globally importing and exporting everything from food to nuts and bolts, could keep their shipments on the move.
Export Import Services had the same experience when it came time to upgrade from Windows 2008 R2 and Office 2010 to Windows 2016. While STF handled the heavy lifting on the back end, for Export Import Services it was as simple as flipping a switch. One at a time, each of the company’s 10 users had to stop using his or her computer for 20 minutes while STF worked its magic. After a few tweaks to set the configuration of the new software to the user’s preferences, each one could get right back to making entries.
Bueb is already seeing benefits from the upgrade. The move to cloud had already enabled staff to do their work anywhere they had an Internet connection – including, much to the chagrin of Bueb’s loved ones, on family car trips. After the upgrade, performance got even better.
“Remote access on the iPad is unbelievable,” she says. “It’s all touchscreen-enabled, and it’s like you’re right there in the office working on the iPad.” Employees take advantage of the opportunity to work from home a few times a month, using whatever device they prefer. When they log in, they can pick up right where they left off.
The upgraded cloud solution continues to deliver the significant benefits of a secure, remotely hosted and maintained environment. To Bueb, the biggest benefits include:
- No downtime and no loss of data. STF manages the backup and disaster recovery of the entire environment. She has seen competitors close their doors when their IT goes down, but Export Import Services has never needed to.
- No servers to buy or maintain. “Everything runs more smoothly,” Bueb says. “It’s seamless compared to the issues we had with servers. They were a nightmare, always causing problems.” And with the upgrade, performance is faster than ever.
- Flat, predictable cost of IT infrastructure. Export Import Services’ first private servers lasted five years. So with the upgrade, “we now know about what our costs are going to be for the next five years,” she says.
With STF’s Cloud Services taking care of everything IT in Export Import Services’ business, Bueb and her colleagues can focus on making their entries and keeping their client’s goods flowing. Anytime they have an IT issue, they know it will quickly be resolved.
“STF is so responsive,” says Bueb. “If they don’t know the answer they dig in and figure it out. I don’t think they’ve ever left a problem unsolved. They are awesome.”