As competitive gymnasts for the University of Pittsburgh back in the 1970s, Elliott Sanft and Ed Swerdlow learned at an early age the importance of precision. They learned how one misstep can often unravel years of diligent training and preparation.
Today, as owners of Gymkhana Gymnastics, Sanft and Swerdlow count on that precision not only in their gymnastics instruction but in their technology environment, as well. Gymkhana offers gymnastics programs and competitive training in four Pittsburgh-area locations — Point Breeze at The Factory, Bethel Park, Monroeville/Plum and Wexford — and depends on its FileMaker database for on-point student evaluations, record-keeping and accounting across all four sites.
“As our business grew and the database platform evolved, I was not able to adequately keep up with the needed improvements,” recalled Sanft, President of Gymkhana since 1977. “CranstonIT was a local FileMaker professional, and we had the confidence in their ability to make these major platform changes and work with us each step of the way.”
All four Gymkhana locations now operate on the FileMaker database through a server with CranstonIT. Each location generates evaluations of its students three times per year, a process that has transitioned over time from paper to multiple iPad® devices. CranstonIT technicians managed that transition to enable database storage of all student evaluations and records. This allows Gymkhana to easily answer any parent’s questions about a student’s progress, as well as print out a hard copy to distribute to the student at the end of each term.
“Our evaluation process has moved light years ahead of the former pen and paper process,” said Sanft.
So has customer care. The enhanced functionality of the Gymkhana database now allows Sanft and Swerdlow to improve the accuracy of their transactions and increase their levels of customer service. For example, Gymkhana now leverages FileMaker to distribute 3,500 confirmation emails to students before each term, a task virtually impossible before.
Today, all four locations are linked to the online server, firewall protection has been established to protect the credit card processing and security of the customer’s information, a copier is networked to its computers and each location offers wifi to Gymkhana customers. Plus, Mac® computers and iPad devices have been added to the network.
FileMaker developer Brad Cranston has been the technician responsible for the database upgrades and troubleshooting, while tech Marshall Lewis is often onsite to manage all other IT issues. Sanft, as well as location directors Leah Sanft and Liza Barbour, have served as project managers for the work.
While the database conversion was the initial purpose for Gymkhana engaging CranstonIT, the relationship has now developed into a managed IT support program.
“CranstonIT’s timely software updates keep us running smoothly, and their automation of our backups ensures we maintain our data and avoid potentially catastrophic losses,” Sanft explained. “The Help Desk Support is prompt, and most issues are resolved within a few hours or a day, with urgent issues immediately addressed.”
Sanft’s message to other small business owners considering CranstonIT for tech support was clear and, of course, precise.
“The results of improved efficiency makes this managed IT expenditure very reasonable,” he said. “Keeping the tech side of your business up to date is very important, and often cannot be done with an existing person on staff. With the support of CranstonIT, we have been able to grow our business and establish better management over all four of our locations.”
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