About Mill Town
"Mill Town’s mission is really to improve the quality of life in Pittsfield. We’re really focused on making the area a better place to live and work. We’re an investment fund — we do that through a lot of community development work, real estate investment and development, and investing in different businesses and operations in the area — all with the goal of making it a better place to live.
I think technology plays a really big role in how we accomplish our mission. We’re a small team and we’re pretty distributed. This year especially, with COVID, we leveraged technology every minute of every day, in terms of staying connected with our team and our stakeholders throughout the various projects that we work on. Our portfolio is really diverse in terms of the investments we make and the projects that we take on and it takes a lot of organization and technology resources to stay organized and on top of things from a planning and execution standpoint."
IT for Investment Funds
We sat down with Tim Burke CEO of Mill Town Capital, to hear their technology story, and what they think of Synagex.
"Synagex is a huge partner for us."
"We’re a relatively small company — we have 6 or 7 people and we’re continuing to grow, but for a company our size, we don’t have an in-house IT person. To have a partner like Synagex that we can work with for everything from standard help desk issues to more thoughtful strategic operations and planning going forward, it’s really helpful to have a partner like that that we can call on at any time and have a conversation with. That applies both from a Mill Town standpoint and also to a lot of our portfolio companies or entities that we acquire or create.
We like to bring Synagex in right at the start and help us think through the IT strategy,
the technology strategy, where we should invest and how we can connect all of these entities together because not all of them are common or make sense together, so there’s a lot of disparate entities that we try to figure out how to pull together from a technology standpoint so that we can keep track of them."
"We started with just one person and grew from there and when that happens, typically IT is not really the first thing that you’re thinking about, so we grew organically from a technology standpoint — just like we did in every other way. We looked up after 2 years, and we had all of these different systems and platforms and processes, and bringing the Synagex team in to ask us, “Well, why do you do it this way vs. doing it this way?”, or, “Why do you have this platform vs. this platform?” , to help us really bring things into a much more cohesive structure from an IT standpoint has been really helpful."
The Business Relationship
" I think that has happened in a way that was done thoughtfully but really efficiently and in a way that made everybody on our team feel really comfortable that this was the right approach, and that the systems were going to be capable for our needs. The approachability of Synagex and the ability to work with us in a way that makes sense for our company makes us really comfortable with the relationship. Synagex is a great partner, particularly if you are like us and our experience — we don’t have IT support in house. "
"Cybersecurity is really important for us as well, and we have quite a bit of capital invested across our portfolio and various projects and we have a lot of confidential information that we hold on our cloud servers and different platforms that we use, so being confident that we have a partner that has expertise in cybersecurity can help navigate us through any issues that we might run into or be more proactive from that standpoint is very helpful."
"It’s a big thing that we take off our plate in terms of what we have to worry about on a consistent basis, and it can be more of a proactive, strategic conversation, knowing that the basics are all covered. They are our outsourced CIO, basically, and having a partner like Synagex to lead our technology development and strategic processes has been invaluable. We’ve applied that to other entities that we own and operate as well, and just being able to have that same language being spoken throughout our business operation and our portfolio has been really effective."
On Making IT Simple
"Synagex has been really helpful in simplifying things for us really as it pertains to streamlining our platforms and the systems that we use, getting us from a company that used a lot of different things not very strategically to a really focused IT approach. I think that helps us be more efficient as a team, to have the technology platforms that make sense and that we can apply to other businesses that we own or operate — I think it really opened our eyes to how we could be much more efficient as a company and that’s really the goal."
How Synagex Compares
"Typical IT approaches are more, “Here’s what you need to do, and here’s what it’s going to cost”, versus, “Tell us about your business, what you do and what your needs are”. We really liked the collaborative approach.
Bringing Synagex in to actually ask the question of, “What are your key needs?”, and, “What do you use these platforms for?”, really made us think about how inefficient some of that was, and being able to streamline things in a way that connected our platforms, and that connected our communications and our operations in a way allowed us to be a lot more efficient."
On Our Modern IT Subscription Model
"We liked the subscription model that allowed us to step into things and try things out. Being able to come at from more of a subscription-based service so you know you’re going to be covered if something happens has been helpful to us because it takes a lot of the worry away and we don’t have to spend as much time thinking about, “What do we need? What should we be focused on from an IT standpoint?”, because we know Synagex is looking out for us and we know we’re covered if something happens."
Your IT Should Be Unique
Our customers are all different, we all do different things — we are involved with the department of defense, we are a finance company, we are a construction company, we are retail-focused, or healthcare —each one of those businesses has a unique need for technology.
We like to focus our time, at the strategic level, on those differences.
Watch the video!
"We chose Synagex because they had a very proactive approach for how to support our company. They really understood where we were at that stage of our lifecycle and they came at it from an approach of practicality, and not overbuilding for what we needed, but also helping us understand some of the protections and approaches we could take to be more efficient, and we really liked that approach.
We felt like it was presented to us in a way that both made a lot of sense, and was also collaborative."