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Case Study March 26, 2019

Connectria Helps PohlmanUSA Web Developers Do What They Do Best

Challenge
PohlmanUSA needed to find a managed service provider who could maintain a secure, HIPAA-compliant AWS environment so their web developers could spend their time developing software instead of managing their infrastructure.

Selection Criteria
• Responsiveness
• HIPAA knowledge
• Security

Solution/Platform
• Managed AWS
• Private hosted cloud

Results
PohlmanUSA’s web development team can now focus on what they do best: developing client-facing web applications. In addition, by engaging Connectria to manage DevOps, PohlmanUSA can get its web apps to market even faster.

PohlmanUSA Court Reporting and Litigation Services is recognized nationwide as the leading provider of technology-driven court reporting and litigation services. For over 28 years, PohlmanUSA has specialized in complex multiparty litigation by creating innovative products and customized solutions for its clients.

The Challenge
As part of its comprehensive portfolio of services, PohlmanUSA has developed several client-facing web applications which reside in an Amazon AWS environment. This environment was maintained by PohlmanUSA’s web development team, primarily their senior developer. “We wanted someone who could take as many of those roles and responsibilities off of my web development team as possible,” said Alicia Hart, Executive Director of Litigation Support and Technology Services at PohlmanUSA. “Really, most of them landed on my senior web developer, and it was way too much for one person to handle on top of a full web development plate.”

Due to the nature of PohlmanUSA’s business, the information being handled is extremely confidential. Security of its online systems was a core concern for the organization, and they also wanted to partner with a cloud provider that understood regulations like HIPAA.

Finally, like all customer-driven businesses, PohlmanUSA is focused on developing cutting edge applications and getting them into the hands of its clients as quickly as possible. “Our developers aren’t trained to set up and maintain a cloud environment, so while they can get things up and running as needed, it isn’t always in the best way possible. Since they’re developers, they don’t have a lot of time to go back and do upgrades or monitor the environment either. It really is a different skill set.”

The Solution
According to Hart, she and her team evaluated just about every provider in the area before selecting Connectria to manage their AWS environment. Responsiveness was high on her list of priorities. “We steered away from anyone who talked about tiered support levels,” said Hart. “If we have to go through multiple escalations, it drags out response
time. We like knowing that we’re going to get the engineer who knows the answer right away.”

After working with Connectria to manage their AWS environment for about a year, PohlmanUSA expanded the relationship to include its core business infrastructure. “We were comfortable with Connectria because they had already exhibited a level of professionalism that you don’t find a lot of places. I don’t know if it’s Connectria’s ‘No Jerks Policy’ that makes the difference, but their people are extremely talented, and we really enjoy working with them. When we call, we never get the grumpy IT guy that seems to be so common elsewhere.”

PohlmanUSA is also working with Connectria to manage DevOps. While PohlmanUSA’s developers focus on developing applications, Connectria engineers have taken on core responsibilities like version control and keeping the configuration of the AWS environment in sync. “It’s not like we’ve given up total responsibility for this area, but the engineers at Connectria understand the environment so much better than we do,” said Hart, “It makes sense for them to take the lead. If my people don’t have to spend their time managing servers, they can focus on what they do best. In the end, it’s a collaborative effort where everyone works together to speed up our development process and meet the service expectations of our clients.”

The Results
In addition to maintaining a secure, HIPAA-compliant AWS environment, PohlmanUSA has realized some additional benefits the organization hadn’t expected. The DevOps relationship is working particularly well. “Our senior developer no longer has to spin up servers, upgrade software, research performance issues, or things of that nature. He’s a web developer, and that’s
what he spends his time doing now.”

Hart has also been particularly pleased with the level of documentation Connectria provides. “Connectria documents everything they do. I was on the phone with the AWS team just this morning, and they were talking about how they are documenting the complete configuration of this new environment they’re building. If someone new were to come into our organization, they could get a snapshot pretty quickly of our IT environments. We also have documentation for all issues and how they were resolved, so the next person
will know what to do should it ever happen again. Prior to working with Connectria we had limited documentation.”

Uptime has improved as well. Though Hart was unsure exactly how much downtime they had experienced over the years, it did happen. Since working with Connectria, there has been zero unplanned downtime for either the AWS environment or the core business infrastructure. However, should the unexpected happen, Connectria has also set PohlmanUSA up with a failover recovery site in its Dallas data center. PohlmanUSA considers Connectria to be a core part of the team and key to future success. According to Hart, “We contact Connectria whenever we’re considering any major business project. They’re always willing to talk through it with us, so we can be sure we have the infrastructure in place to support it.”

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