When solar cell and module manufacturer Suniva made the shift from the Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC – a technology incubator) to a full manufacturing plant with 24/7 operations, having robust IT support in place was critical to not losing momentum because leaving the ATDC behind meant losing the built-in IT support the technology incubator provided its protégés.
Suniva company principals understood that the transition from ATDC to stand-alone operations would be a real test for the future of the new firm and decided on a course of action for IT infrastructure and networking support that would be based on on-demand, outside specialists. This decision let them side-step the sometimes lengthy process—and higher fixed-cost expense—of hiring in-house support.
Suniva began its operations with one production line and approximately 40 employees, Suvina CFO Jim Modak reports. Even with its small footprint, the firm had a broad reach with a global market for its solar cells and modules, resulting in 80% of its product exported to companies abroad in 2010. Because of this expansive customer base and the 24/7 operations model, achieving the best possible uptime for the network was a cornerstone of operating success.
Modak interviewed candidate firms for on-demand IT services looking at the breadth and satisfaction of their customers, and the skills of the individuals who were going to be servicing their account, and he selected Novatech and its managed services program. “We test drove Novatech for awhile and had a very good experience. They met the criteria, had the right team, and we had access to their executive management,” he says.
Suniva soon discovered that Novatech was a perfect fit. That was several years ago, and both Suniva’s business and the relationship continue to expand.
Novatech initially provided help desk support and ongoing monitoring, maintenance and patching, and continual analysis of the network to ensure proactive prevention of system failures. As Suniva’s business exploded from 40 employees to 180—and its IT requirements expanded dramatically—Novatech kept pace with them.
“We established a broader set of criteria that we refined over time as we expanded to make sure Novatech could still fulfill our needs,” says Modak. “We broadened the “laundry list” based on every-day performance criteria we could measure.”
Today, Novatech supports all of Suniva’s network and infrastructure. When Suniva was ready for server virtualization, it turned to Novatech, and Suniva has also ramped up from an on-demand to an in-house contract., Novatech has consultants onsite at Suniva five days a week providing both network and desktop support for the firm. During evenings, night-time and weekends, Novatech provides on-demand support for the company and its employees, no matter where in the world they might be. “Novatech has grown along with us,” says Modak.
“We’re 24/7 operations, so keeping the network up 24/7 is number one. Number two is keeping our desktops properly operating. That is why the on-site support helps quite a bit,” says Modak. “It is full touch as opposed to remote touch support for employee and customer issues.”
“Having support for remote network access outside of regular hours is critical,” says Modak. With Novatech on the job, Suniva can focus on growing its global, industry-leading business, knowing problems will be resolved wherever and whenever they occur.”