“With eMazzanti’s help, we’re more collaborative, we’re able to solve problems faster and provide better customer service. That’s our bottom line.”
Robert Hoffmann, Township Administrator, Chatham Township, New Jersey
Chatham Township (Chatham) is a suburban community located in Morris County, New Jersey. When he joined Chatham in early 2019, Township Administrator, Robert Hoffmann, brought a history of administrative modernization but found an outdated technology infrastructure.
“Our previous IT consultant had decided to specialize in voice over IP,” related Hoffmann. “So, they were doing us a favor for a couple of years, waiting for us to find a successor.”
Chatham did not have an IT plan, backbone or even a good backup. They had two servers and a hodgepodge of software comprised of several different versions of Microsoft Office, including 2010, 2013, and versions that weren’t supported. A couple of staff still worked on Windows 97.
Chatham also experienced email delays and problems with attachments. Sometimes they wouldn’t receive e-mails because of problems with their e-mail exchange and people on different email platforms. And Hoffmann wanted a better firewall.
“We had looked at Google Docs and other Google products, but each time we did an evaluation, we found that Microsoft products allowed us to do more,” Hoffmann said. “Microsoft helps us analyze things better because we can do a deeper dive with data mining.”
Looking for a Long-Term Technology Partner
Determined to stay with Microsoft, Chatham sought a capable and reliable Microsoft Partner to upgrade the Township. The evaluation process, which employed a team approach with department heads, took the long-term view.
“We needed a technology partner that could help us grow strategically, upgrade and migrate our systems properly, and then provide training as well as cybersecurity,” reported Hoffmann.
“I wanted a collaborative process, so all our departments were comfortable with the selection. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we would not be able to solve all our technology problems in one budget year.”
Chatham issued an RFP and eMazzanti Technologies responded along with many others. “Based on all the criteria, eMazzanti provided the Township with the best overall value,” reported Hoffmann. After a December meeting to get the ball rolling, Chatham began its formal relationship with eMazzanti in January of 2020.
Initially, eMazzanti’s engineers helped Hoffmann conduct assessments of what was needed, both in terms of hardware and software. Most of the Township’s computers were closing in on ten years old.
“eMazzanti’s technology people like Aroja are really good!” stated Hoffmann. “And they have 24-hour help, which we didn’t have before. Gabrielle Taylor, their account rep, is extremely helpful and a delight to work with.”
eMazzanti was instrumental in helping Chatham put in new firewalls, update old ones, and made sure that its Police servers and vehicles had the proper cybersecurity protocols. They helped with Wi-Fi issues and relocated servers so staff would be able to work remotely if there was a problem with the building.
“They helped us change our 12-year-old platforms to modern Microsoft technology,” added Hoffmann. “We now have up-to-date software licensing and a plan to replace our computers.”
Standardized on Microsoft 365
After a thorough evaluation, eMazzanti migrated the entire Township staff to Microsoft 365 and installed four new servers.
“Now we’re all on the same software platform,” explained Hoffmann. “When I send a spreadsheet to the CFO or the Construction office, it’s not being read by an Excel program that’s at a different level. We’re confident that the formulas and margins will remain the same.”
“Because we’re a Microsoft Shop, they’re helping us build the right foundation so that our house will be strong. We don’t have in-house IT, so we rely on eMazzanti.”
Prior to emazzanti, Chatham did not take advantage of all that Microsoft has to offer. Now, they’re on the road to doing that with everyone on Microsoft 365 and the latest version of Microsoft Office.
“This enables us to share screens and share files properly, and do more webinars, things that we were not able to do before,” reported Hoffmann. “We are still working hard but we’re working smarter and making more informed decisions.”
Having the current Microsoft tools has boosted staff efficiency to a new level. “This means that we’re able to find in minutes information that used to take us days or weeks to find, particularly in the Construction office,” Hoffmann confirmed.
Digital Building Plans Save $10,000+ Per Year
Because they’re now on the current Microsoft platform, Chatham has reached a point that they can receive building plans electronically, eliminating 22 sets printed on 72-inch paper.
“This is going to save us a minimum of $10,000 a year and save the applicant $2,500 for each set of plans that don’t have to be printed,” explained Hoffmann. “We’re saving trees and reducing the cost of special folders as well as fuel and man hours to deliver plans.”
Trucks Repaired Faster
Because of the Microsoft upgrades, the DPW mechanics now download specifications for their trucks so they can see what parts are needed and an estimate for the repair time.
“The software was available,” explained Hoffmann. “We just didn’t have the capacity to use it. We had a 48-hour snow event. Equipment gets back on the road quicker because there is access to the diagnosing software that we now run on the Microsoft platform.”
Increased Accuracy, Productivity and Security
Now standardized on Microsoft 365 and Outlook, the Township has more staff using Microsoft email.
“And because we’re now using the most up to date versions of Microsoft products, we’re able to do more work with the same number of people,” stated Hoffmann. “We also have fewer errors because the formulas are not getting blown up going from one version to another.”
With its firewalls up to date, Township leadership worries less about cyber security threats. “Now, we have peace of mind because they are helping to protect our data,” confirmed Hoffmann.
Remote Work Enabled
When COVID struck, the updated Microsoft software allowed staff to work remotely. “That’s important because we didn’t lose a significant amount of productivity,” related Hoffmann.
“From mid-March through the end of May, we had a rotation with half the staff working in the building and the other half working from home on the same Microsoft platform.”
COVID Protocols Implemented Faster
Over the past year, Chatham received and implemented many State-mandated COVID Protocols. “Due to upgrading our Microsoft platform, we we’re able to look at the latest executive orders right away because our e-mail was faster,” reported Hoffmann.
“We were able to receive an increased stream of data, analyze it, and then figure out what we had to do to keep our people safe.”
Fixed Systemic Communication Problems
With its hardware and software foundation upgraded, Chatham staff members are communicating more effectively.
“When I need to communicate with the sewer plant operator, he and I can e-mail information back and forth without a delay or it getting lost,” reported Hoffmann. “Our information is protected, and we can share it with all staff members full and part-time.”
Overall, Hoffmann is quite pleased with eMazzanti and Microsoft. “Their systems folks are great!” he confirmed. “They helped us fix some difficult systemic issues, and they stuck with us.”
Best Overall Long-Term Value for Chatham Township
According to Hoffmann, many other municipalities are going through a similar process. “If eMazzanti responds to a Request for Proposal, it would be prudent to evaluate their response,” he advised.
“eMazzanti’s level of technical expertise is very significant and up to date,” he concluded. “When we call them to fix something, it stays fixed so we’re not paying for the same repair four times. Plus, they’re good at helping us plan for our future needs.”