Sunday, October 25, 2020

Total Networks: Turning IT into a Partnership

Total Networks
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Building a reputation for prompt, capable and reliable service is a challenge in any industry. Staying on top in the rapidly changing field of information technology takes an enormous investment of time and resources learning about and evaluating the many IT options available to business owners. Total Networks owners Dave and Stephanie Kinsey are meeting the challenge on a daily basis, much to the delight of their customers.

Dave and Stephanie Kinsey met as freshmen at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Dave Kinsey graduated with a degree in computer science while Stephanie Kinsey earned her degree in civil engineering. They married 20 years ago in the University Chapel and have two daughters, ages 12 and 15. Their partnership in life extends to their business, but it didn’t start out that way.

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After college, the Kinseys started their careers in Chicago with an eye towards moving to a warmer climate. Motorola transferred Dave Kinsey to Phoenix in 1994, where Stephanie Kinsey joined a civil engineering firm and soon became one of the six owners of the firm. Dave Kinsey then began a successful tenure at global telecommunications company Inter-Tel, where he managed the company’s technology as the firm grew to nearly a half billion dollars in annual revenue and over 2000 employees. Remarkably, he required only 25 people and a $6 million annual IT budget, or less than 1.3 percent of both company revenue and headcount, to achieve these results.

In 2007, Mitel purchased Inter-Tel, prompting Dave Kinsey to leave and establish his own company. He was confident that he could apply the principles and practices he learned to provide more efficient and effective IT services to smaller companies. Less than a year later, Dave Kinsey acquired Total Networks from the retiring founder who started the company in 1986. A year later, Stephanie Kinsey left her civil engineering firm to work full-time at Total Networks. Already recognized as a first-class provider of IT support and document management services for the legal industry, the Kinseys saw an opportunity to grow Total Networks into the market leader for professionally managed IT.

“Our company motto is ‘IT done right’, which is a lot less commonplace than you might think. Properly managed technology must deliver efficiency from both a cost standpoint and from a reliability and productivity standpoint,” Dave Kinsey said.

He strongly believes that businesses with less than 75 employees benefit by outsourcing their technology. When Total Networks is brought on by a company, they manage their IT systems at both a lower cost and lower risk. Larger companies often keep a limited in-house IT presence and count on Total Networks for their technology planning and strategic assistance. Either way, Total Networks’ clients are able to optimize IT efficiency and minimize headcount and costs.

“IT outsourcing is the core of our business and we excel at this. We are also somewhat unique in our ability to go into much larger environments and increase efficiency by getting more out of a company’s in-house IT,” said Kinsey.

Total Networks operates primarily on a fixed-fee model, which makes it easier for their clients to budget. “A fixed-fee approach to technology management provides an ideal alignment with our clients. Fewer system issues for my clients means a better bottom line for me,” Kinsey explained. “If we need to spend extra hours to fix a system so that it runs efficiently for years to come, we just do it. A billable hours model rewards the wrong things; we don’t want a client to have problems just so that we can bill to fix them,” Kinsey explains.

A good example of this approach is anti-virus protection. “We have zero tolerance for malware. Infections are largely preventable with proper defenses (you need more than anti-virus software), so Total Networks’ plans include that protection for no additional charge,” Kinsey notes.

Data backup and disaster recovery is another key priority for Total Networks. “When it comes to preserving client data, you can’t mess around. Our standard solution to backup client’s servers is simple, complete and reliable. Some companies we talk with are shocked when they compare their current backup and disaster recovery capabilities with what’s possible for a very modest investment,” Kinsey explained.

While most Total Networks services are proactive, the company is always available for clients that need senior-level troubleshooting assistance in an emergency. Total Networks client Renaud, Cook Drury & Mesaros, for example, called upon Total Networks to assist a legal client of theirs who ran a dental practice. The dentist’s systems upgrade managed by another IT company had gone terribly wrong. All of the office’s data appeared to be lost and unrecoverable, and the office had been without their computer systems for over a week. Total Networks was brought in to analyze just what went wrong and assist in determining legal liability. In less than an hour, the Total Networks technician surprised everybody by not only identifying the problem, but by completely restoring the data. “That dentist was thrilled,” Stephanie Kinsey exclaimed.

The cost of technology is influenced by key factors such as system complexity and IT headcount. “We often find that companies have way too many servers,” Dave Kinsey noted. “Inefficient IT design is extremely common. We work with business owners to simplify, improve performance, increase efficiency, and reduce cost.”

“We believe Total Networks is the ideal sized company for people to work with,” Kinsey said. “We are a small, local firm of 14 people. We have enough resources and processes to provide really good personal service. Our clients never have to wait to reach us; we’re available 24/7,” Dave Kinsey said.

The Kinseys are very proud of the team they have built. “Over my 13 years at Inter-Tel, I assembled a tremendous team. I was able to recruit the best of them to grow Total Networks,” Dave Kinsey explains. “Tony Fiorentin is our vice president of technical service and Bill Fox is our vice president of customer service,” Stephanie Kinsey said. “We consider them both leaders in our company. Even though we bought the business five years ago, we have had working relationships with Bill and Tony for more than 15 years.”

“Technology changes, but the fundamental principles of efficient and effective IT remain constant,” Dave Kinsey said. The company strives to meet its customers’ changing needs while maintaining a high standard of service. Dave Kinsey cited cloudbased technology and fixed-fee service delivery as two significant changes he has seen in the past five years. Stephanie Kinsey noted that there are “more mobile devices and issues surrounding keeping them secure for work and personal use.”

With strong Inter-Tel ties, unsurprisingly, Total Networks sells computer-integrated phone systems. “We offer a business phone system in order to be a more complete partner to our clients. The Fonality system has all of the capabilities and features of a Cisco system, but it is less expensive and easier to use,” Stephanie Kinsey explained.

Total Networks provides services to companies of varying sizes and disciplines. The law firm of Davis Miles McGuire Gardner PLLC employs 150 people, yet they retain only one in-house IT administrator who is managed by Total Networks. CFO Financial Services, LLC employs 10 people. The firm provides payroll, accounting, tax and financial consulting services for small businesses. Total Networks provides the firm with complete data support and management, making it possible for the firm to reliably deliver payroll services to its clients.

Kathleen Trejo, the firm administrator of Aiken Schenk Hawkins & Ricciardi PC, recognizes Total Network’s mission to become a partner with their clients. “Dave Kinsey and his team take a business-oriented, proactive approach to managing technology. Rather than simply reacting to problems or telling us that we need to upgrade this or that, Total Networks is a much more effective business partner. They take the time to meet with us in a consultative fashion allowing us to jointly prioritize and develop a solid technology plan for the future,” Trejo said.

“We see ourselves as a business partner, not a technology company, and it’s built into everything we do,” Dave Kinsey said. “At the heart of our service is what we call the business technology review. We work together with our clients to jointly ensure that their technology is best supporting their desired results. Our business is about building relationships with our clients and helping them improve their bottom line.”

For more information visit, http://totalnetworks.com/

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