The Charlotte Chamber is a membership- and sponsorship-driven organization whose mission is to create a competitive advantage for Charlotte by helping to grow its economy, advocating pro-business public policies and delivering innovative programs and services. The Chamber includes economic development, public policy and membership engagement divisions, each providing a variety of services and resources to help strengthen Charlotte’s position as one of the leading places in the United States to do business.
The Charlotte Chamber focuses its efforts on providing services and value to its stakeholders through a diverse range of initiatives — from fostering sustainable
practices within the local business community to helping cultivate a diverse workforce. That doesn’t leave many resources for handling the information technology (IT)
infrastructure to support these programs. In fact, the IT department has always basically been a one-person operation.
Mike Montagna has served as the vice president of information systems for the Chamber for over 20 years, handling everything from the phone system, copiers and
help desk to all the network and backend technologies. When he began working with Peak 10 in 2003, it was simply a mutually beneficial partnership. Peak 10 enjoyed
the benefits of Chamber membership while the Chamber — and Mike — looked to Peak 10 for support for its website and various events.
The Chamber’s servers at the time were outsourced to a colocation facility in Texas. It was not an efficient, convenient or cost-effective arrangement. Equipment had
to be shipped back and forth between the Chambers’ Charlotte offices and the Texas facility any time there were major issues. Even smaller issues, such as minor
upgrades or repairs that Mike could have easily handled himself, required large expenditures to have someone in Texas handle them. It also wasn’t a relationship that
lent itself to uncovering ways to help the Chamber better leverage technology.
In addition, the growth of the Chamber’s membership base, along with the number and complexity of its programs, was putting more pressure on Mike. He needed to
find a way optimize both his time and resources.
The Peak 10 Solution
Mike reached out to his Peak 10 account representative for assistance in identifying options to help him reduce IT expenditures while keeping pace with the Chamber’s increasingly demanding IT needs. It was determined the best all-around solution would be to move the Chamber’s servers to a Peak 10 facility in Charlotte in close proximity to the Chamber’s offices. This allowed Mike to handle more of the regular maintenance himself because he could simply go ver to the Peak 10 data center. There was no need to pay large shipping fees for transporting equipment or having a third party handle the required tasks. Yet Mike knew if he needed assistance with anything more complex, Peak 10 had the expertise and experience he could call on any time.
“Technical support was always just a phone call away, any time of day or night,” Mike explained.
As the Chamber has grown, Mike has counted on Peak 10 to support that growth with more services and expertise. In addition to colocation space, the Chamber now utilizes Peak 10 for public cloud services — which are designed to handle production workloads — and storage for its accounting systems, along with data protection, managed security and a number of other managed services. The Chamber plans to continue moving to more of a hybrid IT environment, relying increasingly on Peak 10’s robust, secure and tailored cloud solutions for handling more of its IT requirements.
“As fast as the Chamber has grown, Peak 10 has always grown even faster — expanding its service offerings and expertise; staying on top of the emerging technologies; and ensuring they can provide whatever we need,” Mike said. “Peak 10 has never been afraid to make recommendations about how our IT assets could be handled more efficiently.
“What’s been the greatest thing for me, however, is knowing that Peak 10 is always there for me. They are the IT staff I don’t have but sometimes need. I can call on them for anything, and they get it done.
“I can do a lot, but I can’t do everything. For example, we had an Exchange server go down. There wasn’t anything I could easily or quickly do to bring it back online. I called Peak 10, they devoted the necessary resources to the problem and had the server back up right away.”
According to Mike, the benefits of the Chamber working with Peak 10 go far beyond quantitative measures. The fact that the Chamber has remained a Peak 10 customer since the relationship started in 2003 attests to its high level of satisfaction.
“In the entire time I’ve worked with Peak 10, there have never been any major issues,” Mike said. “There were some personnel changes on the Peak 10 side, but I’ve always been impressed with how smoothly the transitions have gone. There’s a tendency to worry that you won’t get the same level of service or that the next person won’t understand your business or approach it with the same level of enthusiasm. The service levels just keep getting even better.”
While Mike admits he likes to maintain close contact with his vendors and “increase the touches” he gets with the various aspects of the Chamber’s IT resources to stay on top of things and prevent problems from arising, he doesn’t have to with anything handled by Peak 10.
“With some systems, I might be in touch with the relevant vendors weekly,” he said. “I can go a month without any issues because Peak 10 provides such highlevel,
24-hour monitoring on our IT systems.
“Peak 10 offers us the security, redundancy and other IT requirements that the Chamber just couldn’t provide on its own. And there’s that peace of mind that
you just can’t put a price on.”