Expanding IT Access Into Rural Montana

FERGUS COUNTY

Fergus county is geographically the most central location in Montana serves a primarily rural population of approximately 12,000 spread across 4,350 sq miles. It has a full range of municipal services including county law enforcement, land management and planning, health services, transportation and civil engineering, legal and judicial services, agricultural extension, transportation and local government leadership.  The County is partnered with First Call Computer Solutions to augment the County’s in house IT resources with help desk and IT infrastructure management services.

Industry: Government
Company Size: 65+ Employees
Location: Lewistown, MT

THE CHALLENGE

 

As a rural county in Montana, it is incumbent upon the county government to leverage every staff member to the fullest and provide the IT infrastructure and assistance the county requires to keep it running well, while maintaining fiscal responsibility.  In addition, some departments are funded solely by the county and others have budgets augmented by state and federal grant funding. This means funding management and budgeting can be challenging.  Add in each department’s regulatory requirements, i.e. the Sheriff office and the Health department have very different security requirements, and things can get pretty tricky.  Fergus County’s Internal IT consists of 2 members of the current staff that are also dedicated to other roles, Planning, GIS and Flood Plain Management and Finance, with IT as an ancillary duty.

STAY WITHIN BUDGET

Regulatory Requirements

Some Departments funded solely by the county

Keep things running while maintaining fiscal responsibility

THE SOLUTION

First Call’s Managed IT is a “right sized” solution that provides:  

Infastructure Services

Backup Solutions

Remote Monitoring

Virus & Malware Protection

Patches & Updates

Spam Filtering

*All of this with on demand access to a help desk staffed with technicians that have a wide variety of experience to quickly solve issues as they arise, and provide an escalation point for issues that require expertise beyond the the County’s internal IT resources.

THE RESULTS

Consolidating Technology Assets:  “One of the first things we were able to do when First Call began working with us was to get our arms around the technology we owned and consolidate in a way that we could make better use of county assets and equipment and budget better because we knew what we had, what the needs were and managed it under a single budget umbrella”  Duplication of effort and purchasing was eliminated

 

Budgeting: The technology budget reduced in size when the duplication occurring in separate county departments was traded for more shared resources allowing Fergus County to evaluate more robust and durable equipment, particularly with printers and copiers. “First call is really great about understanding our fiduciary concerns and balancing them with getting the best technology solutions we can have.

 

Planning and Strategy:  First Call’s methodology created a view into Fergus County’s network and IT practices that allowed the County to take a holistic approach to planning and IT spending. This was able to assure that all county staff and elected officials have the access and equipment they need to be optimally productive. “We take advantage of First Calls full array of technical expertise from our vCIO, to entry level technicians, it’s like having our own full IT department.  They help me with anything from figuring out printing issues to helping me prepare presentations where I explain needed technology and strategy.  They really have my back!.”

 

Peace of Mind:  First Call actively monitors critical IT functions assuring that the little things are done right.  Backups, server equipment and network infrastructure equipment are monitored such that First Call knows there is an issue or potential issue before Fergus County does.  “It really helped with my peace of mind. First Call just helps me make sure things work.  I don’t have to work nights and weekends, they are always taking care of things and monitoring everything, so I get alerted by First Call, not by a user that has a problem.  There is a constant conversation happening with the monitoring, so I have more of a life.”

*Quotes from: Pam Vosen

Planning, GIS and Flood Plain Manager, Fergus County

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