A portfolio company of Morgan Stanley Global Private Equity, CoAdvantage is a professional employer organization (PEO) that provides HR outsourcing to small businesses and medium-sized businesses. It serves close to 3,000 clients, with a range that extends from as few as 10 to over a thousand employees, through all 50 states. It recently adopted a hybrid IT model to improve efficiency and extend access on its customer portals.
Headquartered in Tampa, CoAdvantage maintains a number of locations in other states. It handles payroll, workmen’s compensations, compliance with both federal and state requirements, as well as health and dental benefits. Some receive all those services, while others select specific features. CoAdvantage delivers customized solutions based on the client needs.
Mark Zimmerman joined CoAdvantage as CIO over three years ago, where the Peak 10 + ViaWest solution was already in place. It came to serve a much larger role when they needed to consolidate systems and a disaster recovery plan.
Zimmerman explains that as a result of five different mergers, CoAdvantage found itself with computer systems all over the county. Considering that continuing with that bifurcated data system would impede their efficiency, the company sought a way to consolidate into a single provider.
They looked at existing providers in various cities where they keep offices like Orlando, Dallas, Houston, Palm Beach, New York and Denver. Ultimately, they opted for Peak 10 + ViaWest as the single platform. In addition to its functionality and services, it offered the advantage of a location close enough to their office to be convenient for regular visits from the account manager.
Once that was decided, they went through the process of consolidation and taking additional services from Peak 10 + ViaWest. They put everything on their centers, including internet services. Zimerman reports that in all the time he’s been at the company, there have been no problems with connectivity.
Peak 10 + ViaWest’s redundancy provides a “robust solution” for their internet access that allows them to tap into “not just one but multiple carriers” to meet the needs of their clients in different locations, Zimmerman explains. “They handle all the routing and the contracts with providers,” he said, which means they don’t have to think about, a good thing “from a manger’s perspective.”
The next step was working through how to handle disaster recovery. Zimmerman recalls that they had difficulty managing the huge amount of data they needed for backup. Peak 10 +ViaWest set up their backup in an Atlanta data facility. It replicates the data that goes on the main one in Tampa.
In addition, Peak10+ViaWest manages the complete disaster recovery environment. If there’s any delay on the replication, they get alerted so that it can be addressed before it becomes a real problem. Zimmerman really appreciates “the peace of mind” that comes with that.
The “combination of traditional infrastructure setup and cloud is what yields that hybrid IT model” currently in use at CoAdvantage. He explains, “Our clients access our systems through a portal hosted at Peak 10 + ViaWest data center.” The integration allows them to seamlessly access “partner applications that are cloud based.”
As a result, they can offer their clients services beyond those they have developed on their own. This process began three years ago, and they continue “adding additional partners to the platform” in order to offer more services to their clients.
“The portal integrated with best of breed cloud providers, giving our clients access to payroll and benefits administration payroll,” as well as tracking for “time and attendance, all online. ” It all works seamlessly because the “infrastructure at Peak 10+ ViaWest allows us to sync the data between all parts.” They link the “interconnected physical structure to our providers through the cloud.”
He explains that it’s “not just technical expertise” but the confidence one can feel in seeing all the necessary boxes checked. That includes, “great power, great AC, backup generators, 24/7 security,” as well as “internet services and redundancy” plus the data security assured by the disaster recovery. Given all that, he says he only needs “two full-time people to check on infrastructure” because he can rely on Peak10+ViaWest for everything else.
He’s very pleased with the stability of the organization, the continuity of the service and its ability to “handle the scale” of their requirements. He also appreciates the interaction he’s had with the people at Peak10+ViaWest. “They’re a great set of folks to work with,” he asserts.