Registered training organisation Churchill Education have relied on Grassroots IT for Managed IT Support and Cybersecurity since 2008. Randall Smith, CEO of Churchill Education, said he appreciates the proactivity shown by the Grassroots IT team. “They fix things that I didn’t even know were broken, so that I don’t have to try and be across every detail,” he said. “I know Grassroots IT will have it sorted ahead of the game.”
“The team at Grassroots IT are great at adapting systems to work with us, rather than forcing us to fit the systems,” he said. “They also conduct regular cybersecurity reviews – in fact, we have one underway at the moment.”
Of course, cybersecurity is not a “once and done” proposition. It’s an arms race between IT providers and cyber criminals to stay ahead of the game, continually requiring new tools, techniques and strategies. In March 2022 Grassroots IT are delivering a cybersecurity assessment for Churchill Education to ensure their systems are as secure as needed.
Randall said that Grassroots IT set Churchill Education up with Microsoft Sharepoint, a system that works very well. “We have some specialised software but Grassroots IT has made everything integrate correctly,” Randall said. “We had a hybrid model with some data in the cloud and some in the office but the transition to the cloud went very smoothly.”
“We have remote workers and Grassroots IT have set up their systems so that everything is secure and runs well,” he said.
“We had a server room that cost us money, so we moved into the cloud — including moving historical files so that our business could continue seamlessly. It was a well-planned transition.”
Randall said he appreciates the responsive service he receives. “Everyone wants to feel like the number one client, and Grassroots IT do treat us that way,” he said. “They’ve grown with us but you never feel like you’re stuck in online chat or just a ticket in the system.”
“They have the personal touch and you can always just pick up the phone and talk to someone,” Randall said. “I don’t even buy a laptop without contacting Grassroots IT to get things set up properly.”
“From day one we have had a strong trust in what Grassroots IT are doing, and they’re yet to let me down,” he said.
Grassroots IT has worked with Northrop since 2017, initially providing Managed IT Support for their Brisbane office before expanding to provide project, digital transformation and support services for all staff nationally. The team provides advice and guidance directly to Northrop COO Justin Davies, which influences their company-wide IT strategies. We also help with ongoing Digital Transformation projects using Microsoft Power Apps & SharePoint.
Justin Davies said Northrop values Grassroots IT’s proactivity. “IT is an ever-evolving landscape, and Grassroots identify things on the horizon and draw it to our attention early for due consideration,” he said. “They assist with the decision making process by doing initial research about the value any proposed changes may bring to the business. It helps us to see the whole picture.”
Mr Davies said Grassroots IT take the time to understand Northrop’s business, ensuring they appreciate how different IT solutions may or may not work for the company.
“Grassroots IT have been involved with some project deployments off the back of Office 365,” Justin said. “It’s clear that they know the products well and how to get the best from them.”Mr Davies said that rather than employing an expensive, “best practice” solution in every situation, Grassroots IT instead suggest and implement solutions that are practical and fit for purpose – while never compromising on quality.
“At Northrop we are a consulting firm ourselves, and we work hard to be a trusted partner,” Justin Davies said. “That’s what Grassroots IT are for me.”
“They have a vested interest in helping me in my role, and I have confidence that they genuinely want the best outcomes for us,” he said.
Natalie Butler, Northrop’s Business Support Manager, echoes Justin Davies’ comments. “In my experience with IT suppliers, Grassroots are the cream of the crop,” she said. “They are our go-to because they have won our confidence as experts who are always ahead of the game.” Again, Natalie emphasised that Grassroots IT conform to their clients’ needs, rather than the other way around. “They have been incredibly adaptable with us,” she said.
“They don’t try and make us fit their IT solution – they listen, understand and make sure their solutions work for us.”
Natalie said Northrop and Grassroots IT share the same ethos on how to look after clients. “We throw a lot of challenges at Grassroots IT but they’re always very flexible. They always look for the best outcome and find ways to make things work,” she said.
Just as Northrop’s COO values Grassroots’ proactivity, so too does Natalie. “They aren’t limited just to their internal knowledge. They ‘rub shoulders’ with the outside IT world, so they often bring us opportunities to save money and capitalise on what’s new,” she said. “David is super-proactive and well and truly across things. We feel there are no missed opportunities thanks to Grassroots IT.”
Grassroots IT’s strategic viewpoint is another area that adds significant value for Northrop. “They have an ability to look at the broader horizon, and encourage us to look at things over say the next 5 years before we make a decision, rather than just focussing on what’s important today,” she said. “We find that so, so valuable.”
“In terms of high-level project work, we work closely with Rowan, Tony, and David,” Natalie said. “They are always happy to share their insights and expertise at all levels of our business.”Natalie said that Grassroots IT’s ticketing system works well, but never gets in the way of human interaction. “It’s not a barrier to our relationship at all. We work closely with the support team, and Grassroots have even refined their processes so they work for us – not just for the sake of a system,” she said.
As with any long-term relationship, there are bound to be a few minor hiccups along the way. But it’s the way they are handled that really counts, Natalie said. “If ever things don’t work, Grassroots fix it so it won’t happen again,” she said. “They obviously have very good internal training and a good balance between the tech people and the client-facing account managers.”
George Blake, the IT Manager at Westside Corporation, has worked with many MSPs over the years. But he says there are few that deliver like Grassroots IT. “Grassroots IT are second to none with their knowledge of systems,” George said. “They have skilled staff – not people learning their way on my time. Their high end employees are very good.”
“They understand that I want a pre-planned approach to get my staff involved, not just leave it to people to figure it out themselves,” he said.
“They are responsive and they help me to keep IT under control.”
“Grassroots IT have an interest in our business, and they take the time to understand our strategy,” he said. “They then implement accordingly with the end goal in mind.”
George said that in his experience, IT must be a partnership between the MSP and the client. That’s exactly what he gets from Grassroots IT.
“Grassroots IT are an extension of our team,” George said. “Actually, it’s more like they’re a part of our team.”
“You know IT is working if no one is talking about it,” he said. “With Grassroots everything runs well; they take the time to understand what I need.”
“It’s definitely one of the better engagements I’ve experienced. “
Installing new IT solutions is another area where Grassroots IT have shone. “You can’t just leave it to someone who isn’t engaged and expect a good outcome,” George said. “How the installation is managed is critical — you need people who will engage with the business for implementation and Grassroots IT do that.”
Commercial & Industrial real estate agency Madsen Property have relied on Grassroots IT for Managed IT Support for many years, also recently working with Grassroots IT to migrate from legacy in-house systems to Microsoft 365. Madsen Property Principal Ken Madsen said Grassroots IT made sure that Madsen Partners’ IT works all the time, when they need it.
“In our business, IT is crucial, since a lost opportunity can be very costly,” he said. “We’ve worked with Grassroots IT since 2009. They handle everything to do with our IT, I don’t have to worry about it.”
“You could say that technology and I are ‘difficult friends’,” Ken laughed. “But Grassroots are serious about making it easy for humans to have seamless reliable IT.”
“Ben has cut through the nonsense and he and his team look at the problem, and tell me ‘This is what you need’. That’s very valuable,” Ken said.
With their ageing in-house servers approaching end-of-life, Grassroots IT recommended making the move into the Microsoft 365 cloud platform. Not only would this move save money by not having to replace the ageing servers, but it would enable a whole new way of working.
“We weren’t in the cloud, so we needed to change,” Ken said. “Grassroots IT helped us with a migration to Office 365.”
The move to Microsoft 365 would prove timely, allowing Ken and his team to embrace a remote working model that enabled them to continue working without disruption through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The last two years of the pandemic with Madsen Partners working as a distributed team has reinforced that everything Ben said was correct,” Ken said. “Very rarely are we down. Actually in the last few years, we’ve had no problems whatsoever.”
“Partnerships are important to us, and Grassroots IT have given us absolutely no reason to change,” Ken said. “I’ve met some of the team personally, and they all feel reliable and trustworthy.”
“I’d definitely recommend Grassroots IT. It all just works smoothly.”