Submitted by Buchanan Technologies
Janitorial Supply Company Migrates IT Solution to the Cloud
Founded in 1968, Lafe T Williams & Associates, Inc. – or more commonly known as Williams Janitorial Supply – is a janitorial and sanitary supplier and distributor located in Wichita, Kansas that specializes in providing cleaning and maintenance products and education to a variety of commercial and industrial customers across the state of Kansas. Their products are also available for purchase by the public.
From their early beginnings of selling door-to-door to their current location with over 35,000 square feet of office, showrooms, and warehouse space, Williams Janitorial’s primary goal is to provide the very best in customer service with quality cleaning products, technologies, and certifications.
Limited Resources And Infrastructure Pose Challenges
Williams Janitorial is a third-generation family-owned-and-operated business, and while company president, Kimberly Hobbie, loves what she does, she can admit it can be difficult at times.
“I am proud to be a third-generation business owner for a company that has been operating for over 50 years,” Hobbie said. “However, running a business does come with its own set of challenges, one being that we do not always have the resources on staff to complete various projects.”
One particular project that required attention was the company’s IT solution.
Williams Janitorial had been using a local company for both their accounting software and hardware setup and support since 1985. Recently, the owners retired, and the hardware and IT components of the business were sold to another company. It was then that Hobbie decided that rather than sticking with a solution they were familiar with, it was time for a change.
“We realized we had the opportunity to update our systems and become more efficient in the way our current IT infrastructure was configured,” said Hobbie. “Our long-term IT goal was to upgrade our on-premise server or transition it into the cloud, as this would save us from allocating capital expense on a new server every five to seven years and pay someone to completely rebuild our environment.”
Finding An Effective And Future-Proof Solution
Once Hobbie decided to seek a new IT vendor, she began researching providers in the area and came across Buchanan Technologies.
It was not long before the Buchanan Technologies team was in Wichita at the Williams Janitorial offices to discuss options. Since Buchanan is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Tier 1 Cloud Service Provider, they could easily equip the Williams Janitorial team with the technology and support they would need for a modernized IT solution.
Hobbie agreed. “We felt Buchanan’s pricing was in line with other IT companies, but their staff was very knowledgeable and friendly, and they really listened to our needs and wants,” she said. “They made several great suggestions that made us excited to have a new partner for our IT.”
After seeing Williams Janitorial’s current IT setup, the Buchanan team ultimately offered a solution to replicate their directory services and migrate their existing Exchange server to Microsoft Office 365 in the cloud, leaving only a small footprint server on-premise. They also recommended migrating their accounting software to the cloud, as their vendor already had a fully matured cloud solution available.
IT Improvements Yield Impactful Results
With the new cloud solution, Williams Janitorial employees have a much more flexible and secure IT environment.
“One of the biggest benefits of moving our IT systems to the cloud is our ability to access our email, important documents, and software from virtually anywhere with a stable internet connection,” notes Hobbie. “This alone has tremendously improved our productivity.”
Also, Williams Janitorial no longer needs to worry about time-consuming backups of email or accounting files, as this function is automatically performed in the cloud.
Hobbie also credits the cloud for future cost savings for the company. “I did realize I would spend a little more money implementing the solution and getting it off the ground, but I looked at the long-term savings this solution would offer,” she said. “Not only do we not have to invest in a new server, but we also save money on the associated hardware and licensing.”
With their new solution in place, Williams Janitorial now leverages a simplified licensing structure through Office 365. This allows for efficient and cost-effective onboarding of new employees and simplifies accounting processes. Additionally, Buchanan manages Williams Janitorial’s licenses to ensure they are only paying for what they are using, potentially offering additional cost savings.
Another notable result from the new solution is the ongoing support Williams Janitorial receives from Buchanan.
“As a small business owner, I was spending much of my time working to resolve IT-related issues,” said Hobbie. “With Buchanan’s help, I would estimate I’ve gotten at least 20% of my time back to focus on growing the business.” She added, “Their ongoing support has been instrumental in the success of our company.”
Today, Buchanan provides Williams Janitorial with remote and on-site IT support for any issues that arise within their IT environment.
“When I submit a service request, I get a quick response as well as the anticipated time a technician is expected to begin working on my request,” said Hobbie. “Knowing whatever questions or concerns we have will be addressed very quickly and that issues will be resolved to our satisfaction is an amazing feeling.”
When asked about plans to expand their IT solution in the future, Hobbie said, “We are always looking to improve the way our system works by doing things better, smarter, and faster.” She continued, “Technology changes so quickly, but having someone like Buchanan on our team, suggesting items to upgrade or make changes to our IT, helps our company stay on top of current trends to keep our technology working for us.”