HOW A GEOMATICS FIRM PARTNERED WITH SHAW BUSINESS FOR SPEED, SECURITY AND RELIABLE CONNECTIVITY
GeoVerra, one of Canada’s largest geomatics firms, carries out surveying, mapping, GIS, forestry and environmental services across diverse industries throughout the country. With over 650 employees and 25 locations from British Columbia to Ontario, they traffic in big data for even bigger clients in order to improve efficiency and safety using traditional surveying, coupled with geospatial solutions.
“For virtually anyone looking for a survey, we can do it and we do,” says CEO John Nielsen. “There’s not a situation or condition that we look at that we can’t solve.”
However, one situation that needed solving internally was an upgrade of the systems that handled all the important and increasingly large files they were gathering. “We look at the processing of big data so it’s visual to the client,” says Nielsen. “We give them another way to see their data.”
GeoVerra needed speed, security, flexibility, and control over their systems. In short, they didn’t just need a solution, they needed a partnership.
That’s where Shaw Business came in to provide Managed Security using broadband SD-WAN, which acts as GeoVerra’s own private internet, providing highly secure and dynamic capabilities while engaging multiple connection types across multiple offices using Cisco Meraki solutions.
“With more of our key business processes moving to the Cloud, it’s a more appropriate network architecture,” says Matt Stambaugh, Director of Information and Geospatial Technology. “We have a very large, mobile workforce across the country so we needed a provider with a large geographic reach and footprint, and we needed a responsive solution.”
“Shaw Business created a simplified, easy to manage, and scalable solution that we needed,” adds GeoVerra IT Manager Michael Chan.
Shaw Business’s sense of simplicity with an eye towards helping GeoVerra become “future-ready” was an important key to being able to deliver on the company’s needs. “Rigid telecom doesn’t work for us,” says Stambaugh. “Shaw Business came to us with a responsive partnership.”
That partnership served GeoVerra in some of the following key areas.
Security and Speed
As the name suggests, Shaw Business’ Managed Security takes the safekeeping of data seriously. Intrusion detection and prevention is one of the key features of Managed Security.
“Meraki is a next generation firewall, so from a cybersecurity perspective, if there were threats out there, this system has the capabilities to release fixes throughout our whole environment with relative ease,” says Chan. That kind of reassurance not only gives GeoVerra’s existing clients peace of mind, but helps engender trust between the company and prospective clients.
“It’s not a nice to have,” says Stambaugh. “It’s business critical.”
Similarly, a focus on speed of transfer was crucial to GeoVerra’s business operations. “Geospatial work involves terabytes of data for larger projects, so we needed a solution with aggressive bandwidth and transfer speeds,” says Stambaugh.
With data continuously growing, lag-time was an early pain point for the company. “The speeds weren’t there before,” says Chan. “This will allow us to use broadband-based tech, which will allow us to increase our speeds as needed.”
Responsiveness, like the ability to upgrade speed, is important to GeoVerra in part because scaling is top of mind. Recently formed in June 2020, the company continues to evolve, so changing the scope of their tech needs was a key concern.
“We were looking for a partner that could really grow with us as we grow our business,” says Nielsen. “The data’s getting bigger and bigger, becoming more rich, more accurate. What we wanted was to have a large pipe to transmit that quickly and accurately.”
On top of being able to scale with ease, Shaw Business provided a co-managed structure that put a lot of that power in GeoVerra’s own hands. “Having a co-managed solution enabled our network architects to do what they needed to do without the restrictions other providers offered,” says Chan.
“We can scale and we can internally manage a majority of our networks and save costs doing that.”
Oversight and Cost Savings
With such a large national team, and many branches to oversee, the need for a co-managed solution served two purposes for Chan: an easy, internal oversight of the entire system with support from Shaw Business when needed, and the cost savings that come along with a flexible, simplified solution.
“The way we use this system will enable us to use our network internally,” says Chan. And because Shaw Business is always there for backup, there only need to be so many experts in-house, which leads to cost-savings. “You can have a small team to support a large environment,” he adds.
Aside from streamlining their IT needs, Managed Security doesn’t constrain GeoVerra, but empowers the company to control their own infrastructure efficiently and from any location. “The dashboard allows us to see all our infrastructure at one glance and know if there is a fire or an outage anywhere,” says Chan. “And you can monitor from anywhere in the world.”
A True Partnership
For a company that spans the country, and deals in big data, the right partnership was integral to their success, in part because the solution GeoVerra needed wasn’t one-size-fits-all. “When we were talking with Shaw Business, it wasn’t ‘pick from package A, B, or C’,” says CEO John Nielsen. “It was ‘what do you need now, and what are you going to need in the future?’ That was really something a partner would do.”
"We provided simple solutions to a complex problem,” said James Morton, Enterprise Account Executive with Shaw, who, along with Solutions Architect Ralph Penno, worked with GeoVerra to build the partnership. “We all worked as a team together to get them what they wanted."
That kind of approach is familiar to GeoVerra, who makes a “partnership promise” to every client, employee, and vendor they work with. When teams like Shaw Business meet them on the same level, GeoVerra can exceed their clients’ expectations and make good on their commitments.
As with any great partnership, both parties are working towards a common goal: to enable GeoVerra to work intelligently, quickly, and safely in order to serve their clients with the best possible service. “It will be how people deliver services in the future,” says Nielsen.
“But we’re cutting edge right now.”