Minimising disruption so that SVDP can affect positive change
SVDP: Saint Vincent de Paul Society
St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn play an important role in our society by helping those most in need, such as the homeless, low-income earners, refugees and migrants, Indigenous Australians, and the elderly.
In 2008 St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn came on board with F1 Solutions as a client. At the time another IT company had been managing their infrastructure needs and their approach had been to react to issues as they presented. While this was acceptable, there was considerable room for improvement, as St Vincent de Paul Society’s day-to-day operations relied on having stable IT systems and infrastructure. Also, the computers and parts being provided by this company were non-standard, as they were using white box PCs. At that time, St Vincent de Paul Society’s IT infrastructure was supporting about 70 employees and was unreliable leading to staff frustrations and their inability to perform the important social and humanitarian functions.
Proactive IT Operating Environment to Increase productivity - decrease disruption
F1 Solutions created a proactive IT operating environment; minimising the impact of IT problems on the organisation. This was done by monitoring their ICT systems, servers, network and devices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to pick up on any emerging issues and fix them before they became significant problems that impacted the organisation. This instantly minimised disruptions to the day-to-day business of St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/ Goulburn.
We also transitioned their white box PCs and replaced them with Dell desktops – a Tier 1 desktop supplier. This replacement strategy not only significantly improved reliability and serviceability, it also yielded considerable cost savings. We also introduced a Standard Operating Environment for all PCs and laptops. This meant that when a desktop/laptop failed it could be replaced easily with little disruption to their operation, and the desktop would appear the same on the new computer ensuring productivity and the same user experience was maintained.
STRATEGIC IT PARTNERSHIP
When F1 Solutions started this relationship with St Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP) Canberra/Goulburn, their senior management had the view that IT was a necessary expense rather than a strategic investment. Gradually, as they began to reap the benefits of a sound IT operating environment, their thinking shifted. Furthermore, the new CEO, who had a sound understanding of IT, appreciated the advances made by F1 Solutions in delivering a platform that allowed staff to reliably and securely work remotely. He endorsed the strategic significance of IT, which paved the way for further operational improvements. Today SVDP view IT as an asset, and F1 Solutions and SVDP work in partnership to continually enhance the operational effectiveness of the organisation.
Some projects we have undertaken with them over the years include:
- Introducing Remote Desktop Servers
- Introducing a Highly Available Virtualised Cluster
- Implementing Disaster Recovery Plans
- Implementation of document management system
- Implementation of intranet
These improvements provide SVDP with many advantages including:
- Ensuring SVDP’s data and infrastructure would be safe in the event of an emergency such as flooding or fire;
- Ability to be IT operational via the use of a warm standby disaster recovery environment that is fully operational within two hours of a disaster occurring; and
- Enabling SVDP to provide simple and consistent experience for remote users with the same access to software and data available in the office.
Not only do SVDP partner with F1 Solutions for the day-to-day management of their IT operation, but they also see us as a trusted advisor and consult us on all matters relating to ICT. This is because through years of working with them we have developed a deep understanding of their strengths, constraints and challenges and have done the right thing by them.
From the days of viewing IT as simply a necessity cost, SVDP now view IT as an asset, which is evident in how they explore new ways that IT can assist them by utilising Microsoft Surface tablets, cloud solutions, and disaster recovery solutions.
In addition to the benefit of having a trusted partner to consult for all ICT matters, SVDP have also experienced the below benefits:
- Increased operational efficiency;
- Decreased disruptions caused by IT problems;
- Increased productivity;
- Better user experience;
- Increased operational cohesiveness; and
- More robust management plans.