Engineers are problem solvers at heart, using unique knowledge and skills to design, build and maintain engines, machines, roadways and other structures that make life easier in professional and personal spaces.

At ATB Technologies, we have expertise with the unique hardware and software tools that engineering firms need. Our team of engineering technology experts provide engineering firms peace of mind when it comes to the IT support they need to get the job done.

Ryan Cotner, ATB Network Consultant, talks about what makes ATB different and how he and ATB team members provide timely and reliable solutions unique to the needs of engineering firms.

What makes engineering firms’ IT more complicated or more complex than other industries?

The biggest difference is the amount of proprietary applications they use in engineering. They have many different applications that have very specific requirements, both the power of the individual workstation which needs to run the CAD application and the complexities of using it, how it might connect to the internet, and to the project files that they are working on. There’s a lot of technical complications that many industries don’t deal with.

With their complex applications and large file sizes, can engineering firms use cloud-based storage solutions?

There are a couple of cloud-based storage solutions that are pretty popular in the engineering space. There is widespread adoption with those, but there is a significant cost to them, which makes it sometimes difficult for clients to afford. The ATB team is currently onboarding one of these cloud-based solutions with a client. It’s a great solution, but setup is very involved, requiring expertise in managing these industry applications.

How do engineering firms without cloud-based solutions protect their files?

It’s going to differ depending on the company, but a lot will use the standard old-school approach of having files on premise that they connect to over a VPN or if they’re at the office, just accessing the on-site server. The on-site servers are backed up to avoid any loss of data.

How has ATB helped engineering firms adjust to remote work while considering the complexities of large file sizes and complex software?

Much of this work involves network infrastructure upgrades. When you have an environment where everybody was previously working in the same space under the same roof and then everybody is working from their home, that’s a lot of strain on the ISP. There’s a lot of data coming in and out of the building. A lot of strain on the network equipment, especially the firewall. The solution could just be as simple as upgrading equipment to handle that need, which we’ve done, and then facilitating training on how people get connected to the VPN and how their day-to-day processes change when working remotely.

What kind of support does ATB provide for engineering software solutions?

At the start, we handle the licensing for the software and then we manage installing the software on their workstations. If something goes wrong with one of those applications, we’ll troubleshoot ways to fix it. There’s only so much we can do with proprietary applications like CAD. If it gets beyond standard troubleshooting, we’ll reach out to the vendor and work out a resolution. Our goal is to keep our clients focused on their job, while we work in the backend to fix the issues to make sure they are back up and running as quickly as possible.

What makes ATB different in managing the IT needs of engineering firms?

It’s our willingness to dive into the complexity of engineering IT. A lot of IT firms take a cookie-cutter approach to their support, where they say, ‘hey, we do these sets of things for you and anything outside of that is your responsibility.’ We don’t take that approach. If we can get our hands on it, we will try to learn the software. If we can’t, it’s our job to reach out to the vendor on their behalf. We don’t ask the client to do that. We try to do that without interrupting their work as much as possible. We take the cumbersome IT time waste away from them and put it on us to do the dirty work. We’ll come to them at the end with the resolution. It doesn’t always play out that cleanly, but that’s always the goal, that we’re taking on that workload and not them.

We’re here for you.

Engineering requires highly specialized IT to ensure an efficient and uninterrupted workflow, and ATB is here to help. We can evaluate your current system and work alongside you to develop custom solutions to save you time and trouble. If you’re looking for IT support that never lets you down, reach out today.

Ryan Cotner, ATB Network Consultant

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