OGDEN, Utah — AvantGuard Monitoring Centers recently transferred its 110,000 accounts to a more “cutting edge” software.
The central station company is now using Secure Global Solutions’ (SGS) stagesTM platform, AvantGuard President Josh Garner tells SSI. The company switched over because stages offers what Garner describes as “action plans” that help operators deliver faster, quality responses to alarms. The new platform allows the company to text subscribers when a problem occurs, he says.
AvantGuard operates a central station in Ogden, Utah, and another in Tacoma, Wash. Initially, the company signed the deal with SGS in May 2010. However, AvantGuard had to move one of its monitoring stations in July, which set back the initial transition, Garner says. Last summer the company began to lay the groundwork for the software conversion.
Wanting to learn the ins and outs of the software, the AvantGuard team decided to handle the installation itself instead of relying on the software provider. SGS staff members were on hand to answer any questions the IT staff had.
While the data conversion was taking place, AvantGuard’s 90 employees were simultaneously learning how to use the new system. Garner says that during the six-month conversion period, the company was running both platforms.
“We were figuratively doing a heart transplant,” he says. “When you take the old heart out and you put the new one in, you can’t miss a beat. So we ran both systems parallel to each other, and we could see the same alarm signal hitting both software systems. On the day we cut over, we were confident that it would go well.”
Moving the accounts over started on Jan. 18 and was completed on Feb. 2. However, Garner and his team anticipated hiccups with the transition and made sure to notify dealers of potential problems.
“A key to successfully transitioning is communication,” he says. “We set up communication paths to keep our dealers updated regularly on what was happening. We were prepared to notify them on any kinks. Fortunately, there weren’t any.”
Though there have been a small glitches, the AvantGuard team is very happy with the results, and so are its customers.
“Our dealers are very excited about the change,” says Garner. “They know they are going to achieve some new features and added benefits to this new software. No matter how good the change goes, it still gets us out of our comfort zone. But our dealers have been very cooperative and understanding.”