Moving to the Big Leagues with Data Center
JLG Architects is in the business of dreaming big for its clients. For a team of 120, achieving those project goals means pushing the limits of their own capabilities. Since its founding in 1989, the firm has grown from one office to 12 locations placed strategically throughout South Dakota, Minnesota and North Dakota.
Thanks to data center-supported technologies, such as telepresence and cloud data storage, physical distance is no longer a barrier to doing business. The JLG team can interact face-to-face, and share information in real time, wherever they are.
"So we've really had to leverage video technology," said JLG Director of IT Casey Hammer. "We do a lot of room-to-room communications. We bring everyone together monthly for an all-office ownership meeting, and it really helps us maintain our culture across all sites. You don't have that same effect with a regular phone call."
Moving In and Moving Up
JLG moved its backroom, on-premises servers to a Midco data center – creating a variety of team and company efficiencies. Because the JLG team has direct access to the Midco network, they get a dedicated internet pipe that ensures seamless connectivity for video calls from the field, as well as the ability to pull up large files at a moment’s notice.
"We store video and marketing content – and then on top of that would be all of our 3D and 2D models we use in the design process. Everyone who works on those projects needs to be relatively close to a very large set of data," said Hammer.
"Now, do we try to distribute that data among offices and put it closer to them? Well, that causes its own issues and concerns, and there's more equipment to manage. So we've really pushed for a very centralized model in bringing all of our servers and technology infrastructure back to a data center," he added.
Layers of security and environmental controls, such as temperature monitoring, specialized fire suppression and redundant power backups in Midco’s data centers, help JLG’s IT team sleep a bit better at night. The fact that JLG and Midco share much of the same Midwest footprint was a plus for Hammer, as well. JLG was already a longtime Midco internet customer when he began exploring data center options.
"We were already very successful in having so many locations on the same provider with Midco – and usually, when you find a good one, you stick with it. Midco really worked with us on cost, and that made it a no brainer," said Hammer.
"We were worried about some of the things we couldn't provide for our system, and we were calculating how much it costs us to be down, even for an hour. It was stressful not to have some of those backups. So for Midco to provide those to us without having to spend all that money upfront, it was an easy sell to my board. We're always trying to be as efficient as possible with our resources," he added.
Playing in a Whole New League
JLG looks like a medium-sized business on paper, but the team’s innovative mindset surpasses that distinction. The seamless communication and data capabilities made possible through colocation in a Midco data center allow the firm to operate at the enterprise level – and JLG’s growing portfolio proves it. The firm continues to evolve and pursue larger, more ambitious projects with the confidence that business-critical data will always be accessible – and the lines of communication will always be open.
"It’s allowed us to rely less on travel and be very efficient in the way our technology works. We now have a centralized model, which really opened us up to mobile. We want our team members in the office, because that's what supports our community and our culture. But if we need to, we can work from anywhere in the world – and we’d only be able to do that with good service in the sites that are serving the information," Hammer said.
"With Midco, we’re can pursue our goals and meet them, while also saving money and improving processes, and then also implementing new technology that wasn't there before," added Hammer.