Founded in 1965, Bruin’s Plumbing & Heating Ltd. is currently owned and operated by father and son team, Herman and Marty Bruin. Since hiring its first employee in 1968, the company has now grown to approximately 65 employees, with many long-tenured employees in senior positions. Bruin’s provides residential services in plumbing, gas fitting, HVAC, as well as commercial mechanical contracting services in central Alberta primarily.
Bruin’s Plumbing & Heating Ltd. has been a loyal Jonas customer since 2008, operating on the on-premise version of Jonas Enterprise until February 2020 when they made the move to Jonas Cloud. IT Manager Richard Gall has been a part of Bruin’s since 2007 and was instrumental in getting Bruin’s transitioned to Jonas Cloud.
Gall first learned about Jonas Cloud at a Jonas Connect Conference in 2019. By February 2020, Bruin’s had completely moved to Jonas Cloud and is now operating with it successfully.
Recognizing The Problem
The decision to move to Jonas Cloud was a collective decision made by Marty Bruin, the general manager and co-owner, IT Manager Richard Gall and the Office Administrator. Bruin’s was facing two major issues with their on-premise server situation: firstly, the administrative and maintenance time on the server for Gall was taking time away from other tasks, and secondly, they were running out of space on their servers. Gall had previously researched moving to the cloud on Microsoft Azure on their own, without Jonas, but it wouldn’t have eliminated the administrative tasks they already had and it would have also been a higher cost alternative.
The primary factors they considered before moving to Jonas Cloud were the costs and ease of maintenance. Cost-wise, Gall admits it would have been more economic to upgrade their existing servers. However, when they factored in his maintenance time on the servers, in addition to Gall being the only staff member capable to maintain the server, Jonas Cloud was an obvious choice.
As a one-man IT department, Gall was finding that a great deal of his time was being spent on end-user support and not on IT support. This meant he wasn’t spending an ideal amount of time optimizing the IT ecosystem.
In addition to his daily inspection of field technology for Bruin’s field service staff, Gall was spending two hours daily on server administration. This work included looking into log files to ensure there were no server capacity issues and that the hardware was up to speed. He also spent time identifying if anything needed patching or was failing.
Regular server maintenance for the Windows operating system was more onerous for Gall as it had to be completed after hours to not interrupt usage for staff, and would require approximately two hours each time. This was usually done at least once a month in addition to Microsoft patches.
As the company continued to grow, Bruin’s eventually came to the point where they required two on-premise servers. The process for adding the additional server was also a time-consuming process as it required installing new hard drives for Jonas, information had to be transferred to the new drives and it all had to be coordinated after hours as the server would have to be down.
Even with two servers, they started running out of space and Bruin’s had to be very careful with what they were storing on the servers as Jonas was a priority. Having two servers in the company also led to searchability issues for staff, who would have to spend additional time looking through multiple areas for documents and information.
Jonas Cloud To The Rescue
Having transitioned to Jonas Cloud in February 2020, Gall shares that the move to the cloud was well-timed as they were recently recovering from a ransomware attack. Fortunately, for Bruin’s, all vital financial documentation and job tracking information were secure being on the Jonas Cloud.
“If it had hit us while we were on an on-premise server, it would have likely shut down Jonas for us and been a huge business interruption for Bruin’s. The first thing that [owner and general manager] Marty [Bruin] said to me when we were attacked by ransomware was, ‘ Wow, it’s a good thing that Jonas is in the cloud,’” said Gall. “We’ve had attacks previously, but they were not as sophisticated as the most recent one.”
Shortly after moving to Jonas Cloud, the world was also hit by the COVID-19 pandemic impacting businesses and services around the world. Deemed as an essential service, Bruin’s was unexpectedly busier than they anticipated due to the maintenance contracts they had. With Jonas Cloud, those who did not have to enter the office to work could work from home securely and efficiently as they did in the office.
In terms of the transition process, Galls shares that it had very little impact on Bruins’ day-to-day operations. “To be honest, there was very little downtime, probably a couple of hours on the Monday morning and we had the more critical staff working almost immediately.”
Right away, staff in all departments were noticing the difference in speed and performance of Jonas in their everyday tasks. “One of the biggest pieces of feedback I’ve heard from staff is that Jonas Cloud is much faster,” said Gall. “With a parts database of approximately 30,000 parts, an inventory search used to bog down the system for everyone and now there are no more complaints.”
The enhanced functioning of Jonas was appreciated by all departments, particularly by Accounting, which was responsible for running regular reports like a PO report to determine which projects could be closed. In the past, when these types of reports were executed, there would be noticeable lag time for others in the office, ultimately affecting work productivity and output.
Jonas Cloud also addressed the two major pain points Gall initially sought out, which were to decrease his maintenance and administrative time on the servers and to eliminate the issue of inadequate storage space on their servers.
Prior to moving to Jonas Cloud, Gall avoided performing product updates due to the amount of time they would take and having to have everyone logged off the server. Now with the Jonas Cloud team completing all the updates for Bruin’s, Gall had earned back approximately two hours daily from server maintenance, eight hours monthly from system updates and about two hours quarterly from product updates performed outside of office hours.
“From a product management standpoint, I’m much happier now that software updates are completed frequently and without any work on our part,” said Gall. “My time has been freed up immensely from not needing to double-check the servers and hardware were running properly every day.”
The issue of inadequate storage space on their servers has also been completely removed by being on Jonas Cloud. “Now with everything in the cloud, more space is readily available when we need it.” Gall has also noticed that there has been improved communication and dependability between Jonas eMobile and the core accounting and service management functionality. This added benefit has also helped field staff adopt the new technology of eMobile and Jonas Cloud because they see how seamless it is. “They see the value of eMobile now and how much more efficient and trustworthy it is because of Jonas Cloud’s reliability.”
Getting new staff up and running is also a lot quicker, according to Gall. In the past, it would take about four hours to get a new installation complete. On Jonas Cloud, the deployment process has been reduced to a matter of minutes by simply supplying the employee with their login information.
Since moving to Jonas Cloud, IT Manager Richard Gall and Bruin’s staff have noticed primarily how fast the system operates and improved businesses efficiency overall from the field staff to the back office. As a strong, family business, Bruin’s can also confidently continue to expand their services and personnel, knowing that server storage will not be an issue for them any longer.
From a security standpoint, the peace of mind for Gall and the owners has been priceless as proven by the recent ransomware attack they experienced on their on-premise servers.
“The ownership and myself certainly feel far more secure now knowing that Jonas is in the cloud and not connected to anything on-premise,” said Gall. “The big thing for [general manager and co-owner] Marty [Bruin] was that he can access anything in Jonas from anywhere, without dialing into the VPN, which is great for an owner.”
As a long-time standing partner of Jonas, Gall appreciates that the Jonas Cloud support team not only completes their product and system updates, but they can also address issues quickly and effectively. “Issues are being fixed much more quickly for us and I’m sure that even some of our end users have noticed.”
For Gall personally, the overall benefits from Jonas Cloud have been from the amount of time saved completing updates after hours and daily inspections of the server and hardware. “There are definitely direct savings to IT. IT is probably the first to see the positive impact, but it spreads out far beyond that and impacts everyone.”