IT Questions? Call ‘Artie’

Oconomowoc-based Paragon Development Systems (PDS) is using the experience and expertise it gained while working with large companies to provide products and services on a smaller scale that benefit small to mid-sized businesses. PDS is a personal computer manufacturer and reseller that implements and manages information technology (IT) for businesses beyond the day after implementation, said Jason Dvorak, vice president of sales for PDS.
In September, PDS opened a customer support center in Madison and launched its MidMarkIT Suite to help businesses grow and expand through information technology (IT) innovations, said Gareth Harwood, executive director of marketing for PDS.
The customer support center is located in the former Heroes Fitness Center building at 361 Blettner Blvd. in Madison. The new location replaced PDS’ former Madison location at 7633 Ganser Way.
PDS calls its customer support service "Artie." Representatives are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week for customers in need. PDS named its support service to both personalize the experience and to create the idea of a single point of contact, Dvorak said.
"We want to get across to people that if they have a problem, just call Artie," Dvorak said. "We have always had a managed service desk, but Artie personalizes something that is normally so impersonal."
The MidMarkIT Suite has all of the capabilities that high-end products and services designed for large companies offer but at a more affordable price, Harwood said.
With one monthly fee, business owners can have products, support and consistent implementation so that their IT departments can grow as their company grows, Dvorak said.
"Our experience working with large organizations has given us the expertise and the ability to recognize a serious demand in the industry," Harwood said. "We are taking this expertise and applying it to the mid market."
Companies also will be prepared for future technology adaptation and implementation when in the hands of PDS, while owners and employees can focus on their industry, Dvorak said.
"Organizations do not have the resources or time to invest in technology," Harwood said. "Businesses with between 50 and 250 employees need support, and most have only one person to do the job."
An ideal small to medium-sized business for PDS to work with has between 50 and 1,000 employees, Harwood said. PDS also targets companies with a technology-rich environment, or with a goal to have one, Dvorak said.
"We want to make small organizations scalable," Harwood said.
PDS offers a technology assessment program in which IT professionals look at a company’s current IT environment and determine if they can build the framework through integration or if they have to build from the ground up, Dvorak said.
The PDS MidMarkIT Suite offers business owners services for infrastructure and support and product services to supply the infrastructure for a company, Harwood said.
Infrastructure services span from business collaboration services that include integrated communication and shared workspace; voice over Internet telephony services; identity based security that includes remote access and access provisioning and management; storage and server infrastructure and data protection that includes data back-up and recovery.
Artie offers business owners and their employees end-user support with the Artie service desk, managed anti-malware and desktop and printer services; deployment services; asset management and device monitoring and response.
When business owners choose to adopt the MidMarkIT Suite in their company, PDS becomes their IT department and consultant, Dvorak said. If a company already has an IT department, PDS works alongside it.
Artie can be customized and branded internally if a company wants, Dvorak said. That way, when an end-user calls for support, the individual is not aware that he or she is calling PDS instead of IT.
"At the end of the day, customers need to see us as a trusted advisor," Dvorak said. "We believe in improving the client and user experience."
Those who sign on with PDS for the MidMarkIT Suite are signing on to a long-term relationship, Harwood said.
Harwood and Dvorak declined to disclose a base price for the service and products but said that the monthly fee depends on the number of users and the number of employees in a company.
"One reason we are convinced that we can help the mid-market is because we are a mid-market company," Harwood said.
PDS has a third office location in Brookfield and a total of 215 employees in Wisconsin.
In 2004, the company reported $85 million in revenue and expects to achieve $100 million in revenue for 2005, Harwood said.
PDS plans to focus on the Wisconsin market with its MidMarkIT Suite for the next few years and then turn the entire company’s to a focus on the Midwest, Harwood and Dvorak said.
"Our job is to find those that buy into the concept of IT but are willing to go down the same path," Dvorak said. "They see the package, they see our ability, they see our expertise and we allow them to focus more on their business."

Small Business Times, December 16, 2005, Milwaukee, WI

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