Dallas company does network-related dirty work.
Having a solid network is crucial in any business. But for small and medium-sized companies, hiring the necessary staff to manage that network can be a risky endeavor that leaves too much room for unexpected costs and downtime. We recently spoke with Tom Bloom of Dallas-based Bloom Technologies, a local company that saves businesses from having to take the complexities of networking into its own hands.
What kinds of IT services does Bloom provide to local businesses?
Bloom provides network services to small and mid-sized companies-companies that range from five to 50 users, most of whom do not have their own full-time IT staff. We do everything from routine maintenance to full installation and upgrades of the entire network. We do a complete security and efficiency survey for every new client, which helps us understand how the network is organized, what applications are running, what security is in place, and what data protection is in place.
We insist that any network we service have at least two layers of data protection. First, data redundancy on the server (mirrored drives or raid arrays); and second, an automated backup system that will back up the entire network daily. We also make sure it is running and that they keep at least one copy of the backup off the premises. We also make sure that some form of security is in place to protect data from outside intrusion.
What are the benefits of hiring a network services company such as Bloom Technologies?
As I said, most of our customers are in the five-to-50-user range. In most cases, a company of this size does not need a full-time systems person. By using a company like Bloom, the customer can sign a service agreement for the approximate number of hours of work per month that experience shows they need, in return for which we give them a reduced rate. We come out on a regular basis to do routine upgrading and maintenance. This is generally much cheaper for the customer than hiring a full-time systems person. We do everything a full-time IT person would, but on a part-time basis.
You and co-founder Nina Bloom started Bloom Technologies out of your own home. What were those first years in business like?
Nina started the company with one tech working out of a spare bedroom. I joined full-time about six months later. At first, we serviced only residential and small commercial clients–fewer than five users. We have steadily worked up the scale of complexity so that now we do no residential work and our average business client has about 25 users. We now have about 25 employees in this part of our business.
In the middle of this period, we also owned and ran a retail store that sold computer hardware and software, where we built and repaired computers as well. This was a great learning experience, but we finally decided that we could not compete with the national chains and we closed the store about two years ago.
Bloom has grown to 150 employees and has been named one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the Dallas area. What has enabled this success?
Our growth has really been in the telecom area. We were involved with a very large national telecommunications provider doing installation of fixed-wireless data and voice systems in seven states. We were actually up to 180 employees at one time, with 150 of those working on this particular project.
That project is being terminated, and we are down to about 30 employees working on our information technology. We are actively seeking similar work with other providers and have several other companies we are doing this work for now, but not on the same scale.
What else can we expect to see from Bloom Technologies in the near future?
We are devoting more time and energy to building our network service department. Our goal is to double the size of that department by the end of the year. We also continue to work on larger and more complex projects all of the time. We do a limited amount of cabling projects, such as stringing voice and data cable, and also some work in the area of placing IT professionals on long-term contracts with third parties.
do you know a local company we should cover? Let us know about it. Send your local profile candidates to Christy Mulligan.