“We want to become more nimble and update our technology,” said Ted Pibil, Harford County Government’s Chief Information Officer. “But as we work to modernize our legacy systems and progress toward more cloud applications and services, we need to manage both our short-term budget and long-term pension costs.” With a backlog of projects to tackle and new initiatives to pursue, Harford County’s IT staff needed help. After evaluating their options, they decided to bring in outside talent to supplement their internal team and turned to ePlus for assistance.
Experience Makes a Difference
“Our email migration is a good example of a short-term project where supplemental staffing helped us,” said Ted. “We were experiencing issues with our on-premise Exchange environment and needed to make a change. We have a cloud-first strategy at Harford County, which means that when we are looking at new systems, we first look at cloud solutions before anything else. If we find one that is viable and will meet our needs, then that’s the one we select.”
That process led them to select Office 365. According to Ted, “Going to Office 365 was a no-brainer for us. The product met our needs and fit our cloud-first approach. But no one on staff had ever migrated from on-premise Exchange to Office 365.”
That’s where staffing services from ePlus were able to help. “We brought in ePlus,” Ted said. “They had experienced staff to help us, people who had done it before and knew the pitfalls to watch out for. We spent 30 days planning and preparing together. We didn’t just flip a switch and risk a disaster. When the time came to migrate to the new system, we were ready. And the migration went well.”
In addition to short-term help, Harford County uses ePlus Staffing Services for long-term projects as well. “We need to monitor and manage our network 24/7,” said Ted, “but staffing engineers around the clock is expensive. So we hired ePlus. They have the network engineering expertise and resources to continuously monitor our network for issues. They handle network upgrades and changes. Plus, they make sure our devices are patched and up-to-date and notify us about cybersecurity risks so we can address them.”
Harford County even engages ePlus for help desk services. “To be honest, I didn’t think ePlus provided help desk support,” said Ted. “But we needed 24/7 coverage to support public safety, and it was too expensive to do it ourselves. So we reached out to them. And they have done a nice job.”
Keys to Success
Relationships are important for any partnership to work. After all, strong relationships are built on trust and mutual respect. “We have developed a really good relationship with ePlus,” said Ted. “We have been very satisfied with the work they have done for us. They bring a wide variety of expertise to the table, and that has helped us tremendously.”
But the true mark of a trusted relationship is what happens when the unexpected occurs. “We had a network outage once,” Ted explained. “We called one of the ePlus engineers, and he dropped what he was doing and spent all day working with us to resolve the issues. Having confidence that I’m not going to be left high-and-dry helps me sleep at night.”
Another factor for success is internal communication. Managers need to prepare their teams so they understand what is expected of them. According to Ted, “Managers need to let their people know why they are bringing in people from the outside. They need to reassure them that they still have an important role to play and let them know that bringing in outside talent doesn’t lessen the importance of their own skill development.”
Not to be overlooked is the role of project management. When supplemental staff is involved, managers need to pay extra attention to schedules and communicate clearly. “Managers need to instruct their teams on managing contracts and working with outside firms,” said Ted, “especially when it comes to communication.” All projects run smoother when everyone on the team, including those from outside firms, understands their responsibilities and are on the same page regarding schedules and expectations. Even with strong relationships, project management can’t be taken for granted.
Staffing can be a challenge. Technology changes rapidly, and finding the ideal mix of internal and external resources can be elusive. But combining staffing services from a strong partner with good communication and project management discipline can overcome many of the issues.
For more information on how ePlus can help you address your staffing challenges, click here.