Technology Services for Business
by Dee Fisher
It’s a brave new world we live in today. What was yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality, not just in our personal lives but also in business. Any business that wishes to grow and remain profitable in the 21st century has to become “cloud-savvy.” Unfortunately, not all of us can say we are very savvy about computers, the internet, or anything digital.
Just after the turn of the century, Darin Laukhuf joined a new IT (information technology) company called Essential Solutions, which started in Van Wert. Its purpose was to provide IT services for small to mid-sized businesses in the area. Technicians were sent out to help with WiFi problems and email snafus, and in setting up an online presence for businesses without their own IT department.
In 2005, Darin became a partner in the company, advancing to VP of Operations the following year. Finally, in 2012, he bought out the remaining shares in the company and became the owner and President of Operations.
Essential Solutions, with offices in both Van Wert and Lima, has become more important to small businesses as changes in technology have come more rapidly. Because of personnel costs, most small and mid-sized businesses cannot afford to operate their own in-house IT department. Essential Solutions gives businesses an out-sourced IT department that can help them with cloud communications and storage in their own unique environment.
The greatest problem most businesses face when expanding into online communications and storage is having the specific knowledge to make the right decisions for their individual situation. Technology can give a business a true advantage over its competitors. Essential Solutions will work with each business to determine its technological needs, set up hardware and software, and give the company IT support from a single point, available 24/7.
A large part of Essential Solutions’ services to businesses involves the leasing of technological hardware. “The amount of technology needed per employee has grown, as the technology itself has gotten cheaper,” Darin observes. “Unfortunately, hardware changes and evolves constantly, and most businesses find it hard to keep up with all the changes.
“Costs to stay current can go through the roof. We offer a leasing program through ES Leasing, operated by my partner, Josh Fiechter, that allows business owners to update their hardware in a more cost-effective manner.”
Josh joined the company in 2014 after working with new technology on his family’s farm. Once he became involved in growing the farm and the technology needed to do that, he moved out into the larger IT world and gained the business skills needed to work with other businesses. ES Leasing has enabled Essential Solutions to empower businesses with the latest, most efficient hardware for use in growing their customer service and records storage.
Essential Solutions prides itself in providing the best technological options for each business. The technicians, with their great experience in all aspects of information technology, take the time to understand the systems already in place or being considered, along with their applications. In this way, they can better help a business make any IT project a success.
The terms “cloud computing” and “cloud storage” have become buzz words in today’s business world. According to Darin, this is simply a new way of referring to what most people call “the Internet.”
“Today’s ‘cloud’ is a new term for an old technology, which continues to grow daily,” Darin says. “We will help a business deploy Office 365 (a Microsoft subscription service), an all-in-one product for nearly all normal office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) that is totally cloud-based—that is, located online so it can be accessed by multiple users at the office, at a home office, or even on mobile devices.”
With public access to the cloud a fact, the next concern for a business is security and privacy. This is especially true of wireless technology, which many businesses now utilize. Essential Solutions will work with each business’ network to make sure it is totally secure, and they will continue to audit security issues periodically.
The very technology that Essential Solutions sells to businesses enables it to provide immediate customer service. “We used to have technicians out in the field working on hardware and software problems,” Darin shared. “There were a lot of miles put on company vehicles!
“Nowadays, we have the ability to remotely work with clients’ devices to uncover problems, such as hardware issues, software issues, or outside intrusions such as viruses or malware. Our technicians no longer need to go to the client’s physical address to work on problems. Some of them even work from their homes, virtually doing service calls.”
Essential Solutions uses a “ticketing” system. A client needing technical support simply opens an online “ticket” on the ES website. Each ticket is given a unique number which then can be tracked online for progress and solutions.
The history of support requests is kept in a searchable archive for the client to use. In this way, support requests are streamlined, and customers can receive immediate support any time of the day or night.
Questions that pop up when you consider the state of current technology and the speed of its evolution are: Where is this technology leading us? What might be the next step?
When Darin considers these questions, he smiles and responds, “I believe the Internet, as we first thought it, will cease to exist. Instead, just as the technology of indoor plumbing, electricity, and telephone communications became part of the background of our lives, the Internet or cloud will be such a part of our daily lives that we will cease to marvel at it or treat it as something special or new. In fact, this is already true for the generation of children growing up now.
“Businesses like Essential Solutions will be more and more necessary, just as plumbers, electricians, and HVAC repairmen became important to our parents. The new world has arrived!”