Agriculture IT Case Study

Managing Technology at Big Gain Was a Big Challenge

IT for the Agriculture IndustryWith over 235 people in five states making up their network of dealers, retail outlets, sales staff and administration, managing Information and Technology for Big Gain was a big challenge for Doug Jackson.

Although he had contracted with an IT company to take care of the business’s needs for technical support, it fell on his shoulders to field incoming requests for support from every location and remote employee when they had an issue. While Doug felt like they were getting by on a day-to-day basis, he worried that a major blow up would be disastrous for business operations.

The CFO Wanted To Focus on the Business, Not the Technology

Big Gain manufactures and distributes livestock feed in the upper Midwest, including the states of Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Doug Jackson is the CFO. While Doug has a solid grasp on the technology needs of the company, he would rather spend his time on the financial and operational aspects of the business instead of fielding support calls. When he was introduced to Thriveon, he was eager to learn about a different approach to IT Managed Services that would make life easier for everyone and take the load of IT management off his plate.

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Meeting Business Needs with a Forward Looking Plan

Onboarding work by Thriveon engineers included thorough assessments of the condition of the networks, servers and workstations, and installation of monitoring tools. At the same time, strategy sessions took place so that Big Gain’s Virtual CIO at Thriveon could thoroughly understand the business in terms of operations, needs for information, and overall objectives. The customized Information Technology Strategy (ITS™) that resulted included a forward looking plan with a schedule to update hardware and software.

“Before working with Thriveon, we would just fix something when it broke,” says Doug. “We had a lot of issues to deal with because of that. Now we’re getting on a cycle for workstation refreshes.”

As a financial professional, Doug appreciates the ability to budget and control costs through IT strategy while enhancing the productivity and efficiency of employees with technology tools that work with minimal interruption. In addressing the productivity of some remote sales staff, Thriveon stepped in to work with internet providers to improve connectivity. Initiatives for updating Big Gain’s network infrastructure are underway. While these represent significant investment, they reflect confidence in the ability to get positive ROI from the Thriveon’s proactive approach to IT strategy.

Predictable Technology to Run Business Operations

Big Gain is headquartered in Mankato, MNThe result of Thriveon’s work with Big Gain is that Doug Jackson gets a lot less phone calls these days. Employees use the Help Desk when they need something. Remote monitoring and response by Thriveon behind the scenes keeps operations humming along. Sure, things are going to happen, but Doug doesn’t need to own IT by himself anymore. He has confidence that now he can take a day off or go on vacation without worrying because the technology that runs business operations is a lot more predictable. If something does happen, Thriveon will take ownership of the issue and has the expertise to get to a quick resolution.

Looking back on how the working relationship with Thriveon progressed, Doug says “They did everything that they said they would do.” And recently when an employee asked for approval for a new laptop, Doug responded, “Whatever Thriveon says, that’s what we’re going to do.”

The people at Thriveon couldn’t ask for a better expression of trust and confidence than that.

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