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How does a ‘wired’ office work anyway?

When the Mississippi State Board for Community and Junior Colleges needed to interconnect 15 vastly different campuses and keep everyone happy in the process, they called on Integrated Network Solutions (INS).

A business-savvy company, Integrated Network Solutions, founded by Todd Gooden and Jack Ridgway, is Jackson-based, and services corporations in a broad spectrum of industries throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Tennessee, and has grown from two to 16 employees in four years.

A ribbon-cutting for a new office in Tupelo is scheduled Feb. 1, and more locations are planned. The networking computer company is so serious about keeping a good rapport with business folks that they’ve even carefully selected strategic relationships with companies “to complement what we do without stepping on anyone’s toes,” said Mike Miller, vice president of sales and marketing.

INS links offices anywhere from two to hundreds of employees that communicate daily via e-mail, video conferencing, phone lines or shared files. From their desks, employees operate scanners, copiers, printers and other peripherals. In case discretion is an issue, some companies opt for the virtual private network that allows just that — private use of the Internet, he said.

“It’s not so much an industry perspective as it is people who are needing to move into the high-tech arena, whether it’s something that will help them automate and become more efficient in their operations, whether they’re using it as a strategic approach to sell services over the Internet or whether they need to connect many locations or just a few,” Miller said.

Many companies know they need to be more efficient but aren’t always sure how to accomplish the task, he said.

“Companies should ask themselves: Is the business where they want it to be? Can things be done more efficiently? Can they sell their services over the Internet? It’s becoming much more difficult for a storefront business to keep pace with competition over the Internet,” he said. “For instance, an Internet provider doesn’t have to pay for a building or other related expenses. If you want ‘clicks and bricks,’ you’ve got to be able to pull it all together and seamlessly integrate it into the system.”

Exactly how does the wired office work?

“Let’s say you start with an office that has nothing in it but a bunch of walls,” Miller said. “Through us and our partners, we can supply you the cabling that goes in the walls, the PC that sits on your desktop, much of the office suite-type software needed and connect it all to PCs within the building. We establish e-mail capabilities and network security. We tie into dedicated networks that link buildings together. We tie them to the Internet, then the rest of the world. We do private networks or virtual private networks.”

One of the most important decisions in linking computers is the architectural design of the technology solution, he said.

“If the architecture is incorrect, then a client could easily have problems with expansion and/or integration with other applications,” he said. “Future technologies, standards, new products, industry trends and business needs (should be) incorporated. The architecture of a technology solution is critically important to its lasting success.”

Greg Nolan, manager of information systems for MTEL, said INS has “worked on several projects for us and always completed them on time and within budget.”

“We really pride ourselves on being very, very, service-oriented, to make technological lives easier,” Miller said. “We’re large enough to service customers, but small enough to do things necessary to make it easy to do business with us.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com or mbj@msbusiness.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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