Data Overload - How I saved $8,000

by My Restoration Directory on 10/14/2015 - 11:38 pm

Recently I have been working with my team to try and reduce the load on our network system.  We have been doing the general maintenance items like deleting old emails, removing personal pictures and videos from our server and trying to minimize the data that seems to be gaining on us every month.  Several times our system has reached maximum capacity resulting in a system shut down.  Which as you can imagine creates its own emergency worthy of mitigation.  

Disaster contractors are problem solvers right? So I have problem and like a good manager should I delegate the issue to the tech department to fix it.  Granted the size of my tech department is one accounting staff that knows less about computers than I do.  She's resourceful though and takes her new marching order's directly to our IT company.  They solve the problem temporarily and with great opportunistic advice show us part of the problem and offer their business model answer which will cost me roughly $8,000 and written in a different language which I’m sure is enough for most owners to bite their lip and pull out the check book.  

Not me I couldn't get my head around one simple thing.  Everything worked fine until I ran out of room.  If my problem is a capacity issue then I need to make more room.  So again I’m going through files, double checking that every employee isn't storing their Christmas pictures from three years ago on our server and trashing old emails like 70's shag carpet in a CAT 3 water loss. I bought another month or two but it didn't take long until I really have a problem.  I'm out of room and I know one solution is going to cost me $8,000.  

Or is it?

I'm still convinced that the problem has to be capacity so why is my capacity filling up so fast that I can't keep up.  What has changed in my business that has created this change? After some thorough investigative work on my server I discovered that the biggest use of storage on our server system is our Xactimate directory, Active and Closed Job files.  Further to that when I drilled down into those files the largest use of data was clearly the pictures.  Now I'm getting somewhere. When i confirmed the problem i heard my production meeting reminders ringing in my head. More pictures, take more pictures we need a record of pre existing damage.  

My problem is capacity.  The culprit, pictures.  What is the solution? 

To get to the solution I needed a little more information.  I can’t afford to take less pictures so how can I reduce the file size of each picture taken. This is where it got interesting.  Our office uses iPhones and as such all our pictures have been taken with the iPhone. The catch is that with an iPhone you can only take a high res HD picture, which typically takes up about 1.43MB of size. That’s huge!!

After some more Google time I found a free camera app, Camera+ that will allow you to take pictures in an Optimized setting reducing that same picture to 163kb or 90% less data usage.  Our pictures are used for reference and this size picture is perfect to open and view on any device or screen and if needed can be printed full size with a colour printer.  

This exercise reminded me that every action has a reaction.  I asked for more pictures to protect my business and improve my Intel for each file and in turn I expedited a problem I didn’t even know I had.