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Troy Life & Fire: Case Study

A Managed Services Partnership Story

An enduring partnership: Since 2007, Troy Life & Fire Safety has relied on WatServ
to manage them through every technology-related transition

Troy is a leading provider of integrated building life safety systems and services.

From its headquarters in Owen Sound, Ontario, and satellite offices across Canada, Troy provides complete life safety solutions, including 24-hour service backed by factory-trained technicians and sprinkler fitters, engineers, contractors, and facility managers. Troy is an Edwards Authorized National Partner and industry leader that has been providing exceptional customer service and a comprehensive lineup of fire alarms, fire suppression and security products since 1979.

In long-term relationships, people count anniversaries, trips taken together, and special occasions they’ve shared along their journey in life. In 2007, Troy became WatServ’s first true love – well, first hosted data centre customer. And it’s been a solid partnership ever since – one built on trust, good service, clear communications, and excellent IT.

Troy - Life & Fire Safety logo
Various fire alarm related technology
Daniel Armstrong headshot
"Working with WatServ is one of the easiest parts of my job. They provide the stability to be able to set it and forget it so that I can focus on other initiatives, and they provide the expertise I need to ensure Troy is always secure and on the leading edge of technology"
Daniel Armstrong
IT Manager Troy Life & Fire Safety

To mark a WatServ partnership, different numbers are tracked and consistently celebrated. Over the past 15 years, Troy has signed four multi-year contacts with WatServ. Each time, Troy could’ve chosen a different partner, but they didn’t – they chose WatServ.

Over that time, WatServ has actioned more than 2,400 customer-submitted tickets and over 16,000 WatServ maintenance tickets. This represents an average of 17 customer-submitted tickets and 110 maintenance service tickets per month. 

“I love my job,” says Daniel Armstrong, IT Manager at Troy Life & Fire Safety. “I also love my evenings and weekends; WatServ frees me to be able to enjoy them. The last service interruption that we had was a SQL Server drive failure. This can be catastrophic. But thanks to WatServ being actively on it, we had less than an hour’s worth of data loss – and all I had to do was answer an email. That makes me happy. It also keeps our customers happy because WatServ’s stability and fantastic service enables Troy to always be on and ensures we can respond quickly to our customers.”

The “Meet Cute” and the Milestones

The partnership began when Troy came to WatServ for managed services of its IaaS and Great Plains ERP environment. Since then, Troy’s technology has evolved and WatServ has supported them through every transition.

“I think the biggest benefit of our partnership over the years is the sharing of knowledge and skills,” says Armstrong. “I have learned a great deal from the WatServ team. I started here as a developer and have climbed the IT ladder to become the highest IT professional at Troy Life & Fire Safety. Not everything was laid out on that climb. I had to basically start from scratch and build out a lot of the technologies that we have, and WatServ has been there along the way to provide expertise and suggestions. WatServ has been very open to helping with my questions and is always able to come up with an answer for me. That guidance and expertise is priceless.”

In 2015, Troy Life & Fire Safety decided to move from the Dynamics GP platform to Vista by Viewpoint to run its financial and operations. The new solution was an integrated suite of finance, operations, and project management applications.

In the switch from GP to Vista, Troy chose to engage another vendor for hosting the Vista

application as WatServ did not have experience with the new application. However, after a short period of time and 2 attempts later, Troy came back asking WatServ if they would consider hosting the application under an IaaS agreement.

In 2018, WatServ completed the Viewpoint implementation, supported Troy’s transition and then moved the GP solution to an archive environment. In 2019, WatServ supported Troy as it went through a complete migration of Office 365 users from a U.S. tenant with a previous vendor to a WatServ Canadian tenant and took over managing Office 365.

Worker observing circuit box
Daniel Armstrong headshot
"Throughout the years we’ve always had monthly or bi-weekly calls. It’s been very nice to have someone on the pulse of what’s going on, tracking issues and projects. We’ve found that some vendors, not IT vendors specifically, become complacent and don’t work actively or proactively with us. That’s usually when we end up switching vendors. That’s never been the case with WatServ."
Daniel Armstrong
IT Manager Troy Life & Fire Safety

A Continued Focus on Value

Sometimes, as noted above, the best partnerships take a break from each other. At one point, Troy decided to explore other options, going to a different vendor. They thought they saw greener pastures and bigger savings elsewhere. In the end, the break turned out to be short lived.

“What we quickly found was that what we were paying for at the other data centre was ‘here’s your environment, have fun’, with no expertise, no assistance, no support,” says Armstrong. “It was very much just ‘here’s your hardware, you deal with it’. At that time, we were three IT professionals for all of Troy. We were very tight for development and support. We didn’t have the expertise or the resources.”

“I remember we received an email from Troy Life & Fire Safety’s IT Manager at the time,” says Tyler Doerner, VP of Sales, WatServ. “In it, he said that he missed the level of service that WatServ provides and asked to reinstate their contract. He also said that they now recognized all the additional value that WatServ provides.”

Of course, WatServ welcomed them back.

“Through the years, WatServ has been exceptional to work with,” says Armstrong. “Their service and knowledge sharing goes above and beyond. At one point, they hired an independent contractor to come in and do a full analysis of our Citrix environment. From that expertise, we were able to make some changes and updates that made a significant impact, improving performance and functionality in our environment. WatServ did that at their cost, no cost to us. That’s incredible service.”

53% of businesses believe ERP is one of the priority sectors for investments1

Globally, the most popular managed services are hosting, storage/backup, and managed security services, each of which serves to provide clients with the benefits of extensive IT infrastructure without the need for large amounts of in-house hardware.2

Two outdoor surveillance cameras

An Evolving Relationship

In 2020, Troy Life & Fire Safety made the decision to upgrade Viewpoint to a SaaS model and will therefore no longer need WatServ IaaS managed services. “It was tough choice,” says Armstrong, Troy Life & Fire Safety. “We were hesitant to make the change because WatServ has offered such great service and guidance to us over the years, and we really lean on their expertise. It really did come down to the application itself and the business need for it.” However, the Viewpoint platform has its own features and functionalities that Troy wanted to take advantage of. So, the split was inevitable.

But that doesn’t mean the partnership has ended.

“We’re working proactively through this transition with Troy Life & Fire Safety to identify and enable cost savings as they decrease workloads,” says Sandy Low, Service Delivery Manager, WatServ.  “Even though we know the services are getting turned off, we are doing our utmost to save them money by turning down components of their environment. Doing that is outside of the contract terms, but we’re allowing that flexibility because we know it’s the right thing to do. This has been a very long running and trusting partnership. We will continue to be that trusted partner through the transition.”

Numrah Ifran
"We’re proud to work with a Canadian company that’s serving a very important need out there. Troy Life & Fire Safety has a great environment, great leadership, and a mission and vision that’s critical for public safety. We’ve learned a great deal from each other over the years. It’s very much been a mutually beneficial partnership."
Numrah Irfan
VP of Client Success WatServ

Troy will continue to keep its GP solution archived with WatServ and employ managed services for its Office 365 environment. “Any piece of business that they’re able to keep with us, they’re still keeping with us,” says Low. “As their needs change, and our offerings grow, so too will our partnership.” In addition, WatServ is providing thought leadership on various IT modernization activities as Troy’s Microsoft partner, including moving other workloads, such as the GP Archive, into the Azure cloud.

“We are still working with WatServ for our Microsoft 365. We know that WatServ’s door is always open to us for whatever support we need, and I would not hesitate to walk through it for other services,” says Armstrong. “If circumstances change, we’ll be back again in a bigger way.”

If you’re interested in learning more about a partnership with WatServ, reach out – we’d love to hear from you. 

Select Business Outcomes

Integration of multiple business solutions enabled Champion to improve financial planning, gain better visibility, consolidate reporting, improve customer relationship management and more.

WatServ hosted regular status calls with Champion and their VAR partner to ensure transparent communications with all parties. These calls ensured both a proactive and reactive focus on performance, technical tuning and application optimizations. Over the years of working together, this amounted to more than 225 status calls.

Services Provided

Digital Transformation Planning

Cloud Consulting & Engineering

Technical Consulting

Infrastructure Design & Support

M365 Managed Services

Professional Services

Security Best Practices & Solutions

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