Our part-time CIO helped by enhancing operational efficiency with a back-office systems upgrade for a construction equipment company.
This company, a seller, servicer, and maintainer of construction equipment from a leading UK manufacturer, oversees operations from north Lancashire to the Midlands through 9 depots and 200 staff. The back-office IT systems, crucial for file serving, email, and office operations, were outdated, with both hardware and operating systems out of support. Recent disruptions caused by multiple outages with their managed service provider heightened the need for an upgrade.
The Finance Director (FD) was informed that the back-office systems were at the end of life and required modern, supportable systems for future business support. A replacement system proposed by the incumbent supplier needed review and comparison with other market solutions. Considering a cloud solution, the FD sought to evaluate all options over a five-year period for cost-effectiveness.
- Identify potential suppliers for replacement back-office solutions and draft an Invitation to Tender allowing for alternative solutions.
- Document current systems and business requirements, including performance, resilience, disaster recovery, email, and internet security.
- Project manage the implementation of the chosen solution.
What the CIO Did
Led Supplier Selection for Back-Office Solution
The CIO collaborated with the FD to shortlist and visit three potential suppliers out of six, assessing their facilities, help desks, and support systems.
Worked with Suppliers to Design New Architecture
The tenders varied in solutions – on-premise hardware, managed hardware in a data centre, or full cloud with Microsoft Azure – with diverse licensing options due to different available solutions. After thorough evaluations, a hybrid solution was chosen:
- Utilising Microsoft 365 for office and email applications.
- Hosting on-premise infrastructure at the supplier’s data centre.
- Implementing disaster recovery and high-availability/failover solutions.
- Replacing antivirus and mail antivirus solutions.
- Migrating to a new domain.
This solution met all criteria for security, resilience, and disaster recovery and was the most cost-effective over five years.
Project Management of the Chosen Solution
The Director played a crucial role in managing the project from the customer’s perspective, collaborating closely with the supplier’s lead technician. Key steps included:
- Updating software applications to the latest versions.
- Ensuring all PCs and laptops ran Windows 10.
- Conducting regular project reviews to address risks and issues.
- Planning the migration from the old exchange server to Office 365 and other applications to a new supported environment.
- Coordinating the migration of all PCs and laptops to the new domain.
The back-office systems upgrade not only revitalised the company’s technological infrastructure but also positioned it for enhanced operational efficiency and compliance with current standards.
- Rolled out Microsoft 365 to all users.
- Migrated several key business applications onto supported operating systems.
- Changed all user PCs onto a new domain.
- Demonstrated Disaster recovery and HA Failover to the business.
- Ensured that all PC’s were managed by a new Anti-Virus Solution
- Demonstrated the internet security features to the business to protect from inadvertent malware downloads.
- The business now runs on modern supported systems and is confident they are supported by up-to-date security systems and a supplier that will look after them well. They know that in the event of a failure of the main systems, they can fail over to the D/R environment in under 30 minutes