Conversations with CPA Leaders: Friedman LLP

NetgainCloud Computing, Financial IT, Performance & Availability

Recently, we sat down (remotely) with Donald Logan, CIO at Friedman LLP, an accounting, tax, and business consulting firm serving public and private companies since 1924. We chatted with Don about his decision to partner with Netgain to support their technology strategy. To watch the video interview, click here.

I understand that prior to your arrival, Friedman used to have an on-premises environment. Tell me a little about it.

Friedman had been 100% on-prem everything when I arrived. I spent 12 months getting us in the cloud – now we’re 95% in the cloud.

Moving from a private infrastructure housed on premises to a public cloud infrastructure was a huge win for us. We used to have to worry about the maintenance, the upkeep, the licensing, the hardware itself, keeping that environment cool, backed up, and always available.

We no longer had to worry about the environmental costs, about backing that infrastructure up and renewing it, about maintaining it and worrying about that day after day. All that was eliminated and handled by Netgain right after we cut over. We rolled right into Netgain’s infrastructure and hit the ground running. We found that the performance was just outstanding from the very beginning.

What were the main issues Friedman LLP had managing your IT needs?

We had an environment that was very old, with a lot of decentralized data, including applications. We had a lot of issues with collaborating with clients, for example, clients trying to send us large QuickBook files that couldn’t get them to us. They would be stopped in email due to email limitations. So it was pretty difficult to get anything back and forth from the clients, and the applications throughout the firm were a bit disconnected.

We had eight, 10, 12 versions of a specific application. We had QuickBooks licenses throughout the firm, either purchased by the firm or purchased individually and expensed. We had a lot of shadow IT happening at the time. So when I came to the firm, we recognized this as an issue and felt that it needed to be addressed.

What were you looking for in a technology partner?

Similar goals and commonalities between the two organizations. It’s important to have a lot of synergy between the two companies, because it gives us a great opportunity to partner up and utilize their experience and their services to make Friedman a better company through having a better technology position: increasing efficiency, decentralizing our data and applications, and having more uptime.

What has Netgain enabled for Friedman?

As a result of Netgain, we’ve increased efficiency. We’ve also seen a centralization of application data. We’ve seen more collaboration between us and the clients. There’s less confusion of what version of QuickBooks to use. There’s less confusion on the client side, where to go, how to send us things. There is a cost effect as well. It turns out we were over licensing the product, and through this process, we found that we actually decreased our costs for licensing and increased efficiency because it’s one place to go for us and our clients.

What’s the biggest benefit of working with Netgain?

The service with Netgain is outstanding. There have really been almost no issues. The only time we’re contacting them is either to add service, onboard a client, add more users and so forth. I like having the ability to reach out to someone if I need something or something goes wrong, which is far and few between.

We’ve seen an increase in productivity and a decrease in costs, whether direct or indirect, that has equated to upwards of six figures.

Now that we are seeing more people work from home, it’s also great that the platform Netgain provides is extremely stable, very fast. We had an older infrastructure that needed to be replaced, and we found that going to Netgain’s platform increased the performance tenfold and enabled us to not renew and buy new equipment and have that capital costs and even the expense of replacing that entire environment, we didn’t have to do that.

I would say 90% to 95% of the time spent from home or working remotely is spent on the platform and the increase in productivity alone and the fact that it’s always on and available is a huge win.

What have been the advantages of working with an MSP over internal or contracted solutions?

Their direct partnership and availability with Microsoft and other vendors. Their relationship is extremely strong. They’re in contact constantly and they have go-to people and escalation points. So that’s a huge deal, especially if you’re a smaller, even midsize to large organization.

How does Netgain support your cyber security strategy and do you feel like your team is insulated against security risks?

The cyber security strategy that Netgain provides us is extremely well thought out. They find things that you should be worrying about and they take care of them, and then go through them with you. They take care of not only your infrastructure and data, they take care of your perimeter as well.

How does Netgain compare to other vendors you’ve used in the past?

They take a personal approach in the way that they partner with you. They take your side and they care about you and your clients, as well as your data. They walk you through the process, constantly in communication with you. They have meetings and communicate things with you during even the sales process and the implementation process. They seem to have bridged the gap between consultative advisory and personal touch, and you can’t find that formula in any other company that I’ve used in the past.

Would you recommend Netgain and if so, to whom and why?

I would highly recommend Netgain to any company out there that’s looking to improve their technology stance. Anything in the technology area, Netgain has a very strong handle on and partner with the right people and have the right people within their organization. In Netgain’s case, I think they flip everything on its head and they care about you and they care about your company first, and will deliver a solution to you that makes sense.

They work with you every way they can to make it a win for you and not so much them and that makes the difference between them and another vendor that you’re looking at. And for any of my peers out there, I’m sure that they would appreciate any advice on looking at a company like Netgain and how easy it is to establish and build a relationship with them and the trust factor with working with them on a daily basis.

They deliver a true client experience where you have your applications in one place delivered to you very securely and quickly. They also provide a high-level of service and support. They have partnered with the best vendors in the industry to provide you a great solution at a great cost and a vendor that you can trust and build on a long-term relationship with.

And I think that’s extremely important as an IT professional to have someone that you can rely on and trust, and their infrastructure is extremely solid and has a 99.99% uptime as well, and have another large vendor behind them. And I find that it’s extremely important. It’s extremely valuable.