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Brad Berry wears several hats at Delta Diversified Enterprises, Inc., a privately owned electrical contractor that has been growing steadily. Not only is he EVP and Chief Financial Officer, he also takes care of much of the company’s information technology. His IT knowledge isn’t surprising. With an electrical engineering degree from Arizona State University, Berry has tackled the company’s IT matters since a business partner put him in charge of Y2K preparations in 1998. Recently, Berry realized that between IT advances and increasing workplace demands, his business required he seek an outside vendor.
A top concern for the business is application availability and security of its data. Berry was aware that an unplanned event could jeopardize his IT operation at Delta Diversified. “I always worried about our servers going down if we had a break-in or a fire or a tornado,” he recalls. “The work it would take to go to our tape backup could take a week.” He needed assistance to watch over his IT operations, particularly from a secure data facility that could handle day-to-day operations.
Partnering for business results
Fast forward to October 2012, when Delta Diversified was helping Sungard Availability Services with its electrical needs in Scottsdale, Arizona. Around the same time, Delta Diversified had reached a point where it needed to update and refresh its technology infrastructure. Berry, leading the charge, had to find an outside IT partner and knew Sungard AS was a great starting point. Berry connected with a Sungard AS representative, looking for secure solutions that would allow him to avoid the need to purchase and house new hardware. The conversations advanced, Berry took a tour of the Sungard AS data center, a system architecture plan was drawn up, and Darren DeVito — Regional Vice President of Sales at Sungard AS — had a suggestion.
Why not go with Enterprise Cloud Services with Sungard AS handling the 24-7 management duties?
Berry liked the idea of not having to constantly update the company’s technology infrastructure. Two weeks before Christmas, both companies decided Cloud hosting would be the best fit for Delta Diversified. Then Berry had a thought: Could Sungard AS handle the conversion with its own engineers and other IT support personnel? The Sungard AS transition team, alongside Sungard AS Consulting Services — a group of veteran specialists who understand the intricacies of IT — determined what would be required. Berry approved the deployment plan with Sungard AS personnel.
When the work was completed, Berry says he received more than his money’s worth with the implementation team. “I was surprised at the level of detail the team members provided me. They were very proactive.”
He describes Sungard AS expert technician Leonid Volkovinsky as “one of the smartest guys I ever worked with.” Volkovinsky worked around the clock for three days on-site to make sure the transition was going smoothly.
“Leo did so much work behind the scenes, and that made the transition go very smoothly,” he says.
Berry was particularly concerned about Delta Diversified’s emails being migrated successfully to Sungard AS’ management. Delta Diversified has nearly 200 users on email and handles everything from billing to notification payments and shop drawings by email, among other tasks. “I had enough experience with exchange servers to know they can be an absolute nightmare,” he explains.
The Sungard AS team “put me at ease and showed me how it would all work.” The email transfer went smoothly; only two people couldn’t get their emails to work, but it was merely a configuration issue that was quickly resolved, he says.
His second major concern pertained to migrating Delta Diversified’s accounting system with its huge software program “and lots of moving parts,” as Berry describes it. But Sungard AS worked with Delta Diversified’s accounting software representatives and the migration took a few hours on an early Friday afternoon, with no issues.
The Sungard Enterprise Cloud environment enables Berry and his IT team to work from practically anywhere, a capability they didn’t have before. For example, he was in Europe last summer and, from his laptop, could access his accounting, email and other functions via the Cloud.
The speed of Sungard AS’ IT solutions moves Delta Diversified’s heavy load of data back and forth very quickly; “it’s amazing how fast it works,” he says. Berry says he wasn’t necessarily looking for faster speed, rather seeking security and managed services — but he’s getting speed as well as the protection and maintenance services.
In addition to Enterprise Cloud Services, Sungard AS helps protect Delta Diversified’s data by housing its data centers in diverse geographic locations. Between the daily backups, tape storage and server monitoring, Berry notes that Sungard AS “makes you sleep a lot better at night, knowing they’re watching the computers and taking care of your data.”
Prior to working with Sungard AS, he notes, he spent 30 percent of his time on IT responsibilities, with 70 percent on financial and other duties. That IT workload has shrunk to five percent of his time, he estimates, allowing him to focus on CFO responsibilities and other pressing issues. In other words, he wears fewer hats now.
Delta Diversified has been growing rapidly — its annual revenues more than doubled to roughly $125 million over the past decade. Berry knows that with Sungard AS managing his Cloud environment, he can scale up (or down) based on company need and Sungard AS will handle it.
Berry describes Sungard AS as a team that smoothly handles the expanding electrical contractor’s IT needs. In a letter to Sungard AS, Berry put it this way: “I can’t thank you enough for the most skilled and professional people that you sent to me!”