Meet the Insider boosting rural businesses with modern IT

Doug Kinzinger 200 feet in the air, on a grain elevator

Thanks to Doug Kinzinger, an IT professional and one of our latest Insiders in Action contest winners, 10 grain elevators across rural Illinois are doing more than storing bushels of grain. Rising 200 feet into the sky, the elevators will be helping a grain coop link its satellite offices with internet connectivity through fixed directional wireless technology.

In rural areas across the U.S., internet connectivity issues keep businesses from using modern tools like Office 365. But Doug loves a challenge. Doug is the director of technology solutions at MCS Office Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that helps businesses in Illinois get connected and boost their productivity with Windows 10 and other solutions.

“Fast connectivity creates opportunities and options that wouldn’t exist otherwise,” Doug said. “Once the grain cooperative is fully connected, the company will begin a Windows 10, version 1803 rollout to all computers across all locations. After harvest, which happens each fall, they’ll be migrating off their old Exchange 2010 server and on to Office 365, further increasing collaboration and communication, and saving costs at the same time.”

By getting all of the company’s machines onto Windows 10, Doug can start to plan even more impactful solutions. For example, train cars make trips to the elevators to load up on grain and send the product far and wide. Some elevators have cameras that view the weighing and loading process. “Previously, each camera could only be viewed by one location,” Doug said. “But with Windows 10 running Axis Companion software, an employee would be able to view those cameras from another computer at any of their locations, or remotely if desired.”

Doug focuses on developing tech solutions that increase value for his customers. “Something I’ve been pushing for years is that there is value in unanimity in your operating systems,” he said. “Getting everyone on a good operating platform opens up possibilities for other improvements. It feels really good to refresh that infrastructure and make it solvent and then viable for future growth. Decommissioning outdated hardware and software is always rewarding to me.”

Even before the Windows Insider Program launched a few years ago, Doug was dedicated to seeing what was next for Windows. “[I] was frequently downloading MSDN bits or the latest build of Windows—trying it, and just eating the Dogfood and giving feedback.”

Today, Windows 10 Insider Preview Builds help him test products from software vendors, especially in industries like agriculture and finance. By previewing the future of Windows, his team can recommend solutions that will work for their customers in the future.

What’s Doug excited to look at next? After helping many businesses build a foundation for the future with internet and Windows 10, he’s excited to help customers grow further. “[What’s] the next value-add that gives them greater control and greater insight into their environment, like Windows Defender ATP and Intune,” he said.

“Once our customers experience certain improvements, they’re often curious about what else they can do,” he said. “‘We’ve got better stuff. We’re faster than ever. What other processes can we automate and streamline and make more efficient that we couldn’t do before?'”