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Utilising the cloud with Harbour IT

Discover how IFS used the cloud know-how and expertise of Harbour IT to transform its business.

How could using a trusted cloud partner benefit your business?

As more businesses struggle to keep up with the rapidly evolving digital space, financial product services provider Industry Fund Services (IFS) decided to empower its tech infrastructure by adopting Harbour IT’s cloud-based software.

Taming the beast

 In the beginning, IFS chose to focus on what it does best and outsource its IT, including the service desk. But the previous partnership and infrastructure just didn’t provide the level of flexibility that IFS required.

 According to IFS Reporting and Performance Manager Finance, David Saunders, an approval process for something as simple as upgrading the company’s own software was difficult and protracted.

“So in the end we basically didn’t do anything. We sat back and just said, ‘Yes, we’ll do whatever you want us to do.’”

The same applied to the service desk, where “eventually for some things we just didn’t bother to call”.

IFS wanted to provide a robust, scalable and fully hosted IT infrastructure that supported current and future business software. The financial services provider also sought to optimise cloud technology and efficiencies, while keeping all data hosted in Australia. It wanted to secure its sensitive data handled by IFS, while at the same time making it readily accessible to those who needed it.

IFS decided to go to the market to identify a more flexible, cost-effective and agile alternative. CFO Ned Meehan took the reins and appointed Saunders to oversee the transformation.

The aim was to partner with a proactive and strategic IT provider to deliver operational efficiencies, reduce business costs and increase return on investment. Mobile, remote access and a choice of end-user devices were priorities, along with improved application performance, response time and speed of access to data. On top of this, IFS was looking for a responsive service desk to ensure professional technical support services were readily available to meet the demands of both the business and users.

Migrating to the cloud
For the first time, IFS decided to choose a cloud solution, anticipating that it would meet these key objectives. However, concerns remained that moving to the cloud could jeopardise the security of data if it was hosted overseas. Another concern for IFS was around how its data would be migrated from the incumbent provider’s environment to the cloud.

Harbour IT was able to demonstrate to IFS that its data would only be hosted in Australia and not moved elsewhere. The cloud service provider also showed flexibility and discipline in working with the incumbent provider and working to transition IFS’s data. As a result, IFS migrated all of its corporate systems to the cloud, including email, shared and home drive data, and key applications.

Harbour IT was able to provide full migration to the cloud, Citrix virtual desktop implementation, MPLS private WAN Network, two-factor authentication security, a Harbour IT service desk and ongoing monitoring and management.

The move was swifter than anticipated. Due to the specific requirements of the incumbent provider, the transition occurred using a ‘big bang’ approach and Harbour IT completed the migration to the cloud in one single weekend. This took significant planning and testing, as roll-back was not an easy option. It also manually set up over 60 desktops in this short period. In the end, the transition was successful, and all IFS users were successfully migrated and able to start work as normal.

“Harbour IT were flexible and disciplined when working with the incumbent provider, with the overarching goal of transitioning smoothly,” Saunders says. “Over the transition weekend the 200 IFS users were successfully migrated and ready to start work as normal on Monday morning. As expected, some issues arose and together we have resolved them.”

“In a short period of time, we’ve got a pretty decent network up and running,” Ned Meehan says. “I don’t see that improvement as stopping. I feel excited… that these guys are there with us, and the fit is right and we can move forward.”

The move has meant IFS is satisfied that it is now working in a robust, agile environment with greatly improved customer service that meets the core objectives set out at the beginning of its journey towards the cloud.

“The cloud has enabled us to deliver head-office-type speed to our mobile staff and those requiring home access to the network,” Meehan says. “We could never go back.”

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