Ageing IT infrastructure
It was the ageing server platforms and the challenge of information management that triggered EWON’s IT infrastructure modernisation initiative. They wanted to make the best possible use of the knowledge that their frontline workers were capturing. Information such as the nature of complaints, complaint details, locations, demographics, and who their customers are complaining against is essential information that when smartly leveraged can aid in better decision making.
“We have an in-house IT team that had very little focus on information management. There was no real connection between the data coming through the frontlines and the information being reported and used for decision making. It is hard to have both the in-house IT support team also acting as your information data team. At the same time, the in-house infrastructure was very old. It would have cost a lot of money to refresh.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
The ageing IT infrastructure hosting their business-critical apps was a critical piece of the puzzle that held EWON back from achieving their goal. Their CRM application, development server of the CRM, their mailboxes, and their remote desktop solution were all residing in decade-old servers. They knew it would cost more to do a hardware refresh than to simply take their IT infrastructure to the cloud.
Moving into Microsoft Azure
With the Infrastructure RFP process run by KPMG and EWON in joint, Professional Advantage (PA) stood out from its competitors for two important reasons; they had proven demonstrated technical capabilities, and they were client-focused, presenting the solution in a way that was easy to understand for EWON’s team. PA’s first challenge was to familiarise themselves with the arrangements with multiple vendors, and to start work on moving the hosting of EWON’s business applications and virtual machines to Microsoft Azure.
PA migrated thirty-eight (38) virtual machines, its on-premises-based CRM application, and its development servers to Azure. Their existing Citrix environment for remote access was replaced by Remote Desktop Services (RDS) on Azure. Express Route with failover option was also deployed at EWON to ensure high availability, direct fiber connection for on-premise, and Azure private for their users.
Moving to Microsoft Azure has enabled EWON to reap the benefits of everything that the cloud has to offer:
- Cost savings. Being a not-for-profit organisation where the biggest chunk of their funding is allotted to member and community support activities, it was imperative to be wise with where EWON made their IT investment. The commercial benefits made it an easy decision to move to Microsoft Azure with Monthly Pay as You Go and discounted commit options available. The vision of a single cloud vendor for business applications, work productivity, security, and compute resource also suggesting longer term savings potential.
- Scalability and flexibility. Microsoft Azure gave EWON the flexibility to dial up or down on IT resources such as storage capacity, usage, or bandwidth as required by the business. Something that was realised as an immediate benefit was the ability to change infrastructure to support remote working when required as a result of the COVID pandemic.
- Business continuity. Microsoft Azure’s redundancy and recovery capabilities also provided EWON a cost effective and reliable data backup and disaster recovery service.
Safeguarding members’ information with Microsoft Intune
EWON only had twelve company-issued laptops at the time that their staff were mandated to work from home when the COVID-19 pandemic struck Australia. The majority of their people had to use their personal devices to remain productive working remotely. While staying productive is essential, EWON also puts utmost importance into protecting the sensitivity and confidentiality of their member’s data. As they are aware of the many cybersecurity threats and incidents happening across Australia, they wanted to have some form of control on the security of their staff’s devices.
“We trust our people, but we also want to demonstrate control in securing our members’ information.” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
Professional Advantage deployed Microsoft Intune with Autopilot to enable mobile device management across all devices that had access to its systems and applications. With Intune and Conditional Access policies, EWON can now set rules as to how personal and company-owned devices can access data and ensure that these devices are compliant with their security requirements. This gives EWON peace of mind knowing that their data has an extra layer of protection if their staff’s devices get lost or stolen.
“With the ‘big guys’ constantly under attack, you can imagine the nervousness around the table. No matter how much you trust your people, you also need to stay secure inside. Microsoft Intune gives us the security that we need,” - Bernadette Or, General Manager Finance and Corporate Services, EWON
To ensure stable and predictable end-user support, EWON has also signed up to Professional Advantage’s Managed Services. This ensures they get access to a dedicated team of technical experts for any support they need on the new platform.
Creating the foundations for a modern workplace
EWON’s IT infrastructure modernisation initiative paved the way for creating the foundations of modernising their workplace productivity. The migration to Microsoft 365 came in next as part of EWON’s cloud transformation project. Professional Advantage migrated its Microsoft Exchange 2010 and SharePoint 2010 to Microsoft 365.
Read EWON’s success story on its Microsoft 365 implementation HERE.