More than an IT Provider

The City of Eustis relies upon Verteks for help with a wide range of projects, ongoing maintenance and expert support.

While Americans’ confidence in federal and state government has declined in recent years, our faith in local government has remained steady. A 2014 Gallup poll found that 72 percent of Americans continue to trust their local governments, the same as in 2013 and only a few percentage points off the historical average.

This can be explained, in part, by the proximity of local government to the average citizen — it’s easier to see the impact government has on the community. But many local governments are also using technology to bring services even closer to their constituents. Web-based and mobile applications coupled with IP communications platforms make it easier for citizens to report problems, gain access to information, pay taxes and fees, and apply for permits, licenses and services.

The City of Eustis, Fla., has long taken a forward-thinking approach to IT. Among its goals is “to provide quality, cost-effective public services,” and it supports that effort through commonsense technology investments.

Verteks Consulting serves as the city’s partner and guide. Since 2002, Verteks has provided sound advice, comprehensive support and expert assistance with a wide range of projects.

“We’ve had continuing services agreements with Verteks for many years, and I can’t place enough emphasis on how important that relationship is,” said Tracy Jeanes, Purchasing
Director, City of Eustis. “I’m not a tech person, but the Verteks engineers will sit down and explain everything in layman’s terms and point out the pros and cons of all possible solutions. They help me understand what's going on so I never go into a project feeling like I'm behind the eight ball.

“I’m not a tech person, but the Verteks engineers will sit down and explain everything in layman’s terms and point out the pros and cons of all possible solutions. They help me understand what’s going on so I never go into a project feeling like I’m behind the eight ball.”

Staying Up-to-Date

Most recently, Verteks replaced the city’s aging 3Com NBX phone system with a ShoreTel Unified Communications solution. The old system was obsolete and no longer supported, putting the city at risk of downtime if it failed. The ShoreTel platform provides modern, productivity-enhancing features in a highly reliable solution with N+1 redundancy and a flexible, modular architecture

“One of the most attractive features of the ShoreTel system is the redundancy,” said Greg Barron, IT Manager, City of Eustis. “Yet it functions like one system across all our locations. It’s also a lot easier to manage than the 3Com system. I do as much of the administration as I can and whenever I can’t figure it out I can call Verteks support.

“As far as functionality, I love the new ShoreTel system. It’s definitely easier to use and provides the performance and capabilities that we need.”

Verteks worked with Barron to install the ShoreTel platform, with a smooth cutover from the old system. Administrator and end-user training helped the city see immediate value from the system.

“Even before we put out an RFP for the project, Verteks came in two or three times to familiarize our staff with the capabilities of the ShoreTel system,” Jeanes said. “After the system was installed they spent a whole week here training all of our staff. Everybody was very comfortable and it was a very easy and successful transition. Our staff seems really happy with the ShoreTel system.”

Verteks helped maximize the success of the project with a complete network overhaul. The Verteks team worked with Barron to upgrade switches and set up a virtual LAN (VLAN) to optimize the network and ensure quality calls.

Part of the Team

Over the years, Verteks has completed a number of other upgrades for the City of Eustis. Verteks engineers assisted with Windows Exchange Server migrations,and is helping to replace the city’s Windows Server 2003 systems prior to the end-of-support date.

Verteks’ relationship with the city goes beyond special projects, however. Verteks serves as an extension of the city’s IT team, providing managed services and help-desk support.

“When we first started with Verteks we didn’t have a bona fide IT department so we relied upon them a lot more. Now we have IT staff but we still count on Verteks for remote and onsite support when needed,” said Jeanes. “In fact, when we were able to hire IT staff, Verteks worked with the finance director to determine the selection criteria for our IT manager and support staff.”

As the city built its IT team, Verteks also helped develop processes for keeping up with software patching and assisting end-users. The city even uses Verteks’ remote control software.

“I use it every day — it’s a lot better than using remote desktop for system support,” Barron said. “We also apply patches through the remote control software, and use the Verteks ticketing system to track issues.”

The City of Eustis is a small community of fewer than 20,000 people, but the local government relies heavily upon technology to communicate with constituents and ensure that city services are delivered efficiently and cost-effectively. Verteks is a core component of its IT strategy.

“They are the ultimate professionals — one of those companies that goes above and beyond,” Jeanes said. “They recommend solutions, and have given us lots of great ideas about how we can save money. I know they will always provide that value-added service that is so important. I can honestly say they care about the customer.”