ethos | VONT
ethos | VONT had a small window to relocate to their new office space. There was many technical considerations and a lot of planning to ensure minimal impact to productivity and service.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
ethos | VONT, a multiplatform branding, web development, and digital marketing company, employs approximately 60 full-time professionals.
To meet the needs of a growing business and to increase overall employee satisfaction, ethos | VONT decided to move their Westbrook, Maine headquarters to a new building across town. The new building offered the company an exciting opportunity to build out a modern, open, and collaborative working environment to match its creative culture and to meet the needs of its clients and employees for years to come.
ethos | VONT had two goals in mind for their impending move:
- To keep operations seamless and uninterrupted for its employees when transitioning from one building to the other.
- To be fully operational quickly so as not to disrupt service to its clients.
An aggressive timeline was set. After a year of planning the build-out process, at 2 p.m. on a Friday in February, 60 employees transferred their personal belongings to the new space and began unpacking while the phone system and networks were shut down. The expectation was that all systems would be fully functional by 8 a.m. on Monday so employees could continue with their work as though nothing had occurred.
According to Tom Gale, president of VONT, “Internet connectivity, a secure network, and a flexible phone system are hugely critical to running our business. If we don’t have Internet, then everybody goes home, and we lose productivity.”
In order to ensure a successful move, especially in the middle of Maine’s cold, snowy winter, ethos | VONT dedicated one employee to serve as manager of the complex job and then enlisted the support of Systems Engineering, its long-time network management and managed security provider, as well as a separate, independent Mac OS and server technology consultant, to be part of the team.
Solution Selections and Network Capacity Planning
ethos | VONT worked with Systems Engineering to maintain the high quality of networking services they already enjoyed, along with implementing new and cutting-edge technology in the move to the new building. This included the selection of a new phone system and a new Internet Service Provider (ISP). “I was impressed with Systems Engineering’s commitment to understanding how we wanted to work,” said Gale. “They listened and were able to bring great solutions to us. It was a very collaborative process.”
Gale continued, “In one way, we are a messy operation for an IT firm because we are all Mac users, BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), heavily Internet-dependent, and we use a lot of LAN (Local Area Network) and internet bandwidth. We really don’t have control over the virus’s employees may bring in on their smartphones or get exposed to on the Internet. While working on the project, Systems Engineering was extremely security sensitive, especially when considering our new phone system and our network reconfiguration. They were always cybersecurity-minded and really helped us think through how to ensure that our business and client data would remain secure.”
At the top of the wish list was a communications platform that supported the way the companies work in a highly creative environment. In particular, being tied to a desk phone was limiting the ability to work collaboratively while being responsive to clients. The solution selected was the Cisco Business Edition 6000 phone system, which provides direct reach phone numbers for every employee integrated with Cisco Jabber™. This gave ethos | VONT employees the ability to see everyone’s status, (busy, away, or in a meeting), have a phone app on MAC’s, iPads and iPhones, and make to face-to-face video calls, even when working from home.
With greater capabilities comes a greater need for bandwidth and network management. Systems Engineering upgraded the Internet circuit to 50 Mbps and leveraged the companies’ previous investment in Meraki wireless to manage bandwidth consumption, increase wireless speed in the new office and better manage devices with built-in MDM capabilities.
Technical Planning and Executing the Office Move
Office moves are never easy. Pulling off a successful move requires precise planning, vision, and exceptional organizational skills. At ethos | VONT, the task was given to ethos planner and operations manager, Robyn Dionne, and a team that reported to her. They delivered an hour-by-hour plan so that everyone knew what to expect, what would happen, and who would be responsible.
Systems Engineering supported the move by:
- Managing the order and provisioning of new Internet and DID services.
- Installing the new phone system and implementation of advanced services.
- Assuring all systems and services came up over the weekend and were ready for business Monday morning. This included staying engaged with the new ISP/carrier until late into the night that weekend.
With the help of its partner, Systems Engineering, ethos | VONT reached its goal, and when the integrated company moved into its new office space on Monday morning, it was fully operational. Client service was not disrupted, employees transitioned smoothly into their new working environment, and were immediately productive. According to Gale, “It was the most well-planned move I have ever been a part of and it took a great team to reach our final goal. We love our new space and the ability to move around freely and work in whatever space is most conducive to being productive and creative at that moment.”