If your company had an overnight merger and suddenly grew twice its size, how would your IT department keep up? Brian Pleschourt, IT director at Sweet Harvest Foods, had to answer that question. He faced rapid growth when a larger company purchased the organization. "Instantly, we more than doubled in size, adding a California and Michigan location, combined with our two Minnesota locations," he explained.
Sweet Harvest Foods is a worldwide leader in honey procurement and distribution. The company is one of the largest processors of 100% pure, all-natural honey with offices in Minnesota, California and Michigan. They distribute their products—honey, molasses, and agave—to food manufacturers, national retail and grocery chains and food distributors. Their approach allows for supply chain transparency, traceability and consistent quality of products.
Even before Sweet Harvest Foods' swift expansion, Pleschourt was the lone IT staff member. "I was the only person, so I was busy. Fortunately, I partnered with Marco six months before the merger. I wasn't aware of the merger but was planning for future growth." With about 30 years of IT experience, Pleschourt originally needed assistance with only some Tier 2 and Tier 3 level aspects. "I needed support for things that were outside my knowledge. That's why I went to a hybrid solution. I liked the flexible support offerings." Marco assisted him for specific IT recommendations and provided service for the tougher problems.
Pleschourt worked hands-on with Tier 1 level IT solutions, acting as the Support Desk for Sweet Harvest Foods. After transitioning into multi-locations with multiple domains, he needed help implementing best practices. So Pleschourt added Marco's Support Desk full-time, which now remotely services all four locations across the country.
Marco's expert Support Desk members assist Pleschourt and his co-workers using their various skill sets. "Having Marco as my IT department with full Support Desk allows me to know that if I need a network expert or an Microsoft Exchange expert, they are available to me."
Marco's Managed IT services assured Pleschourt that his growing company could adapt to the changes, mitigate risk and standardize systems. His consulting systems engineer was instrumental in the planning and implementation of new hardware, firewalls, switches and servers. Marco also added Backup as a Service (BaaS) and private cloud (IaaS), plus helped find ISPs for reliable internet. The Marco team installed teleconference rooms in a Minnesota location as well. "Right now, all four sites have Cisco Meraki, redundant firewalls, redundant internet and redundancy in switches. We implemented each project for the migration and standardization across all platforms." Marco and Pleschourt wanted to eliminate single point of failure with the back-ups and store data in one secure spot.
Besides Marco's aid, Pleschourt appreciates the quality of the chosen Cisco products. He said the visibility and remote management of the firewalls, switches and access points have proven to be extremely advantageous.
- Reliable IT support and cloud services
- Expert strategic planning consultations
- Flexible technology options
Although some IT directors or IT staff members may feel threatened by bringing in another company, Pleschourt said he never felt hesitant to partner with Marco. "I think a company still needs an IT leader. Marco is my IT department. I've never felt endangered by the fact that I've brought Marco on board. I was drowning in work and needed a partner."
Although the IT field can be unpredictable, and technology is always changing, Pleschourt said Marco has helped solve problems when his anxiety level rises. He explained that he has been able to reach the right people and escalate requests. "You can't anticipate everything that is going to happen on a project; Marco excels at being very responsive to change." He added that the implementation process, from the first contact to planning to installing, went smoothly.
Now, Marco is helping Pleschourt merge their domains into one. He plans to continue working with Marco for further projects, and of course utilize the Support Desk. Pleschourt even offers feedback to Marco through a Leadership Counsel, a group of customers who provide feedback about Marco's products and services to enhance clients' experience.
"I recommend Marco, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that you have a deep bench of experts. I'm very satisfied. Marco doesn't present itself like an IT subcontractor. I feel we are true business partners. We share responsibility," Pleschourt said. He brainstorms with Marco team members to discover the most fitting solutions to meet his needs, and that has helped Sweet Harvest Foods succeed.