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Building Internal Infrastructure Support for Large Rural Communications Carrier

Communications | Network Infrastructure Staffing


A large U.S. rural communications carrier partners with TEKsystems to help renew its workforce following a large acquisition and a decision to bring its IT internal enterprise infrastructure in-house.

With over $5 billion in annual revenue, this communications company offers voice, broadband, satellite video and wireless Internet solutions for residential and business customers in 27 states. This company has partnered with TEKsystems since 2000.

UNIX, Virtualization, Disaster recovery, Windows engineering, Storage, Security, Production support, Infrastructure project management

The largest rural communications carrier in the U.S., the client had recently acquired market share in 13 states from another company, requiring a large integration effort of both people and technology. The acquisition increased the client’s internal employee count from 7,500 to 15,000, resulting in a costly remote workforce that was not aligned with the new technical direction of the company. In addition, the previous company had primarily supported its enterprise IT infrastructure through an outsourced, off-site solution. As part of the acquisition, the client assumed this agreement for a limited amount of time. However, the client ultimately sought to bring infrastructure support in-house to minimize costs and mitigate risks associated with a remote workforce. This left the client with the responsibility of building out an enterprise IT workforce in two primary locations, Rochester, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind., while also delivering on a critical Microsoft Messaging Cloud project.

During the integration efforts, the client outsourced to several consulting firms and contract companies including TEKsystems to hire high-level resources to assist in completing immediate tasks associated with integrating new employees into their workforce, such as creating user accounts and providing network access.

At the end of this 18-month period, the client’s director of enterprise infrastructure and operations created a hiring plan that identified a need for 60 resources to be brought onboard to build out his team and stabilize an IT enterprise infrastructure that could meet the future needs of a business and workforce that had essentially doubled in size.

TEKsystems won the opportunity to work on this project after meeting an initial challenge to find a high-level Microsoft Exchange specialist that could quickly impact the critical Microsoft Messaging Cloud project. The client was impressed with our speed and accuracy in the placement, and earning his trust, he also agreed to share his hiring plan. He was looking to convert 20 of their current contractors to full time, fill 20 positions with his own recruiting referrals and designate the remaining 20 spots to TEKsystems to fill with high-level networked-based resources. 

Leveraging our talent management expertise, we worked closely with the director and his line managers to understand their needs and emphasize the benefit of utilizing TEKsystems as a resource planning partner. In the IT industry, where the current unemployment rate averages less than 4 percent (compared to the overall unemployment rate which hovers near 8 percent) the best resources may not always be the ones most readily accessible. Therefore, we worked with the client to plan out which skill sets were immediate needs, and which could be filled later on, thus opening the applicant pool to the most qualified professionals. TEKsystems’ proprietary database of 81 percent of the IT workforce informs us not only of each IT professional’s skill sets and experience, it also allows us to see when they will next become available; therefore, giving our recruiters and account managers the insight to find the right resources at the right time using our TEKsystems Staffing Quality Process®.

  1. Market Analytics: A Rochester-based account manager would lead this engagement with the support of one Rochester-based recruiter formally trained in the network product line, and closely aligned with two Indiana-based recruiters.
  2. Customer Knowledge: We would meet with the director and line managers to gather resource requirements, create detailed job descriptions and understand the client’s employee value proposition. Because of our open lines of communication with leadership, we could articulate the direction of the new enterprise organization to not only evaluate resources on their technical abilities, but also their cultural fit and alignment with the future of the organization.
  3. Sourcing Strategy: Utilizing our comprehensive database, we were able to narrow down the pool of candidates skilled in virtualization, engineering, security, project management, disaster recovery and operations support in the specified markets. Because we knew the priority of what resources were needed when, we were able to source the highest quality resources who were going to become available within the four-month timeframe and did not limit the search to immediate vacancies.
  4. Screening and Selection: We vetted the pool by screening all applicants, conducting manager-level reference checks, performing technical screens and holding in-person interviews. This data was used to make comparisons between candidates, resulting in the final selection of the best candidate. We managed the resume review and interview process with the hiring manager.
  5. Relationship Management: Finally, we managed the relationships with the resources that we placed and met with our technical professionals on a consistent basis, providing feedback on their performance that came directly from their managers.

TEKsystems was able to provide 24 highly skilled, culturally aligned professionals in the four-month timeframe, surpassing our original goal. The resources were given six-month contracts followed by conversions to full-time employees. The client was able to hit his timeline with stabilizing the Microsoft Messaging Cloud project, allowing the company to move from an on-premise Exchange solution to a Cloud messaging environment offering new collaborative technology to the organization. Further, we were able to support the client as they built out disaster recovery processes and began to create policies and procedures for the IT infrastructure environment.

The director noted that TEKsystems’ strategic approach to working with his team to understand the goals and objectives of his hiring plan and resource requirements set us apart from other staffing agencies. The local relationships and networks our recruiters had were able to be utilized in order to attract the caliber of staff that was needed, not just focusing in on their immediate availability. By managing the sourcing and prescreening processes, and giving hiring managers greater options and visibility into the market, we were able to source the best-fit resources, thus saving the client a significant amount of administrative time and effort. The open communication between TEKsystems and the hiring managers, specifically regarding setting interviews and making prompt decisions, was critical to the ultimate success of meeting the resource requirements in the allotted timeframe.

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