TOGGazette - Vol.
TOGG PRESIDENT GEORGE GOULD
George Gould is such a believer in the managed services concept, that in 2001, he founded his company based on those same beliefs. However, at the time, “managed services” referred to assessing customer needs and coming up with a flat rate package of on-site monthly services. It wasn’t until Gould’s company, TOGG Inc., adopted automated, remote managed services that the company could truly hit its groove, and start achieving real growth.
TOGG has always specialized in providing outstanding service, acting as the outsourced IT department for most of its customer base, primarily small and mid-size law firms in the Fairfax, Va. area. Its services base includes network solutions, Internet solutions, desktop configuration and system audits. However, the company is best-known for its round-the-clock service, with technicians responding to any emergency, at any time. TOGG also prides itself on faithfully visiting each client regularly to repair and maintain systems.
A Truly Trusted Adviser
Above all else, TOGG values close relationships with its clients. Clients trust the managed services provider implicitly; Gould says he holds keys to many customers’ offices, and even some of their homes, so he can enter and maintain their critical networks and systems at any time. Clients know Gould and his staff are on call 24-7 to keep their technology going and that Gould has a least a plan A, a plan B and a plan C for any given challenge.
“I’ve never lost a client,” Gould says. “We don't finger-point. Instead, we become experts on their products and become a one-stop shop. We act as their IT departments. TOGG supports everything from specialized legal software to remote access to phone systems to clients' smart-phones. The ability to connect to networks and data is critical for our law firm customers working to meet legal deadlines and manage heavy caseloads.”
Gould’s zeal for quality is expressed in the extensive documentation he has created for his staff, laying out the correct steps to address any computer or network issue that might arise. This best practices guidebook was 18 months in the making, and helps staff deliver TOGG’s stellar level of service.
“I've never lost a client. We don't finger-point. Instead, we become experts on their products and become a one-stop shop. We act as their IT departments. TOGG supports everything from specialized legal software to remote access to phone systems to clients' smartphones. The ability to connect to networks and data is critical for our law firm customers working to meet legal deadlines and manage heavy caseloads.”
Four years ago, Gould began to explore managed services after attending an industry trade event on the topic. Afterward, TOGG began working with a third-party managed services provider he met there, but the business model proved costly. “They wanted me to pre-buy licenses and go fill them,” he says. “Everything was generated on sales, but my whole company works on support and maintenance. I ended up $17,000 in the hole.”
Then Gould discovered Zenith Infotech. “The main thing was, it worked,” he says. “I didn’t have to buy all of this expensive equipment, and I could get started for a low fee.” The ability to have a third party constantly watching his customers’ critical systems meant TOGG could automate previously manual practices and not have to maintain a large staff.
The Managed Services Difference
Gould says TOGG started with remote network monitoring services, which radically transformed his business model. Previously, each tech would be always be on the road, visiting a set group of clients to assess and maintain their networks. Now, “I’m able to keep my eye on lots of stuff by just sitting here,” he says.
It also means Gould can respond proactively to prevent a smaller problem from becoming a larger one.
For a client, “It’s a lot nicer to come in on Monday and find out we solved a computer problem over the weekend” than to just be discovering there’s a problem, he notes. TOGG has been able to deliver a minimum of 95 percent uptime to every client since adopting automated managed services. TOGG includes each client’s personalized network uptime and other performance data on monthly reports in addition to the invoice.
As Backup and Disaster Recovery became more advanced, TOGG switched most of its clients from tape backup to automated, offsite backup. “Now our clients just have to worry about the monthly fee. We own the devices, they own the data, and it makes us more tightly intertwined with clients,” Gould says. TOGG offers Zenith managed services under its own brand.
TOGG uses its Zenith products alongside Web-based Professional Service Automation (PSA) software for the IT services industry. “They’re heavily intertwined,” says Gould. “That makes Zenith even better.”
Springboard for Growth
The addition of Zenith’s automated managed services has dramatically impacted TOGG's ability to deliver high-level customer service to an even larger client base, who typically come through lawyer-to-lawyer recommendations. Despite the economy, TOGG's revenues were up 30 percent in 2009. So far in 2010, Gould says he's up 167 percent over last year. And he also just hired a fourth full-time employee, in addition to his contacted providers.
With less time spent driving to client sites to put out fires, TOGG can focus its resources on adding value for its customers “We've been able to fine-tune our capabilities as we've brought on new clients, offering solutions like security, spam protection and remote access,” Gould says. “It helps people to have one company to turn to.”
Adopting Zenith's managed services has been “tremendous,” Gould says. “It’s allowed us to do things that would cost huge amounts of time and money if we had to do them without help. They've allowed us to do a lot of things with a lot less.” ■