Delphi Construction is a well-respected, Massachusetts-based company that specializes in construction management. Delphi has been in business for over fifteen years and has extensive experience implementing complex construction projects in challenging or sensitive environments.
For example, two major clients —Emerson Hospital and New England Deaconess Association—are in operation 24/7/365. In addition to its many commercial clients, Delphi manages medium- to large-scale projects throughout New England.
Delphi’s business is different from that of a general contractor. The company manages a one-stop, seamless construction process for its clients whose projects are 85-90% subcontracted. Much of the company’s work involves the intricate details of project management—contracts, communications, budgets, timelines. As a result, a significant portion of Delphi’s employees rely heavily on technology, using a keyboard and mouse more frequently than they use a saw or hammer.
In the early days, Delphi’s computer needs and its systems were simple. “When I started in 1997, our server was a 286 desktop computer,” recalls Delphi’s project controller, Ken Brooks. The technology-savvy Brooks supported the company’s computer needs for many years in addition to performing his regular job. But by 2002, with Delphi’s continued expansion and growth, the systems were becoming outdated and a time-consuming “second job” for Brooks. The company hired a small, one-person IT firm to take care of its system needs.
But it didn’t take long for the company’s business once again to grow ahead of its technology—and the small IT company. Brooks explains, “We were calling our [previous] IT provider two or three times a week because of major system problems…it was very painful because it was all reactive."
Mark Paronich, the company’s chief financial officer, observes the business impact. “We are so reliant on technology that if our computers are down, we are at a standstill. And that means lost productivity, lost revenue.”
By late 2006, in addition to an overwhelming number of system reliability and performance issues, Delphi was planning to open a satellite office 40 miles away in Plymouth, Massachusetts which needed to be networked to the home office in Waltham. “That’s when we started looking for another IT provider and found iCorps,” says Brooks. iCorps’ size, breadth and depth of expertise and knowledge, and non-“canned” approach to aligning technology with business objectives made it an appealing choice as a technology partner.
Since being brought on board in early 2007, iCorps has stabilized the construction company’s systems, resolved chronic reliability and connectivity issues, implemented two phases of upgrades, set up seamless networking operations with the new Plymouth office and multiple on-site trailers, and implemented an effective disaster recovery solution.
iCorps’ Encompass program not only has provided Delphi with much-needed, strategic technical guidance; it has supplied Delphi with a dedicated team to implement, maintain, and support its systems. Says Paronich, “With iCorps’ help, we’ve been able to make sound technology decisions. In 12 months, iCorps has set up our system the way we need it, improved our productivity, and provided us with a technology strategy that we can grow into.”
The positive changes have been particularly evident to Brooks who has been able to get back to performing the job that he was hired to do.
“Today, the only time I ever deal with IT issues is when [iCorps] comes in for its regular hardware review, because everything just runs the way it should. All of the constant failures, things getting hung up, that just doesn’t happen anymore.”
As far as benefits that the relationship brings to the table, Brooks sees the help desk component of the iCorps’ Encompass solution as a real advantage. “That kind of ‘right there when you need it’ support is something that we never had before. It keeps us from getting hamstrung so we can continue to provide our services to our clients.”
The broad expertise that iCorps provides also has proven valuable for Delphi, which has helped integrate multiple, more current technologies such as VOIP “to work with our systems flawlessly,” says Brooks.
iCorps’ Encompass reporting is a powerful, proactive tool that Brooks dives into each month. “I’m more of a techno-geek than Mark is,” he laughs. “I do look at the reports. I want to see the activity, the server availability, downtime, how resources are being used, and the level to which the system is being strained.”
“If we’d had something like that over the last seven or eight years,” says Brooks, “we would have seen some of the problems coming.” He adds, “Down the road, these reports will help us identify any potential weaknesses in the system, or where we may need to do some upgrades—well before we run into any problems.”
The dedicated, ongoing and proactive support that Delphi receives through iCorps’ Encompass program has stabilized the company’s technology and has prepared it for growth that is aligned to support Delphi’s short- and long-term business plans.
With iCorps taking care of the technology day-to-day, Delphi—and especially Brooks—can focus on the business of construction management. Brooks is confident, “The monthly reports confirm that we’ve put the right system in place and that it’s working the way it should.”