Branding the Consultant: what can I do versus where can I add the most value?

Engaging new and potentially challenging clients can always be daunting, particularly when an expectation has been set as to what role you will play as a part of a team. Whether consulting and road-mapping potential outcomes and future work, to delivering a full project. In my time working with Kloud, the broader sense of the term ‘consultant’ appears to be at an all-time high in terms of what it means to the professional marketplace. I view today’s Business Consultant as someone who guides an individual stakeholder or group, based on engaging and understanding given circumstances or a proposed business case, to help make decisions on adopting a specific direction – one which is considered the most appropriate or in their best interest.

The client, as we know them, usually comes with high expectations (surely, as they are paying good money for quality service), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they know what they want right now. Solutions and recommended approaches aren’t always black and white and neither should be the decisions on whether to approach them or not i.e. providing a solution in the present versus future proofing based on projections of desirable future business outcomes.

So, before pulling the panic cord and calling for the chopper to extract you from a project where delivery may be stalling or responsibilities and requirements changing from one day to the next, perhaps narrow the window and focus on the objectives immediately in front of you. When targeting these immediate objectives look at which ones align with your strengths, not only in skills but also in your unique personality. Ask yourself– ‘What aspects of my skills and ability to provide the best services and outcomes for my clients allows for them, as well as my peers, to identify my own, unique brand?’

Business Case Example

A medium-sized business had already taken steps to progress out of it’s technological infancy, by purchasing the necessary software and scoping infrastructure requirements for where it intended it’s future state to be. However, with a limited business case from key stakeholders, time and resources available for business discovery exercises, and ability for IT to meet the support demands of the business, a series of challenges looked to stifle the enabling of these software and infrastructure solutions. From a technical standpoint, the IT staff where highly capable, but required analytical and consulting capability to aid the transition.

However, the CIO remained adamant on the direction he desired the company to head in, and so in engaging with external consultants and allowing an almost agile-like engagement with the various business departments, was able to focus on the larger picture of developing their internal IT as a technological innovation body, as well as a support function, while having the staff engage collaboratively in the transition to the new technological state. The engagement with consultants who had to act flexibly due to the lack of time and business case development allowed for a situation where they were, in turn, able to challenge themselves, drawing on past experience, apply skills outside of their portfolio and self-educate on the solution(s), to deliver the desired outcomes for the project. The end result was inciting positive attitudes towards, and a broadened understanding of IT as well as the community-building effects that these modern technologies could have on the business.
While this specific situation might be nothing new to some consultants out there, the value in strengthening your brand through outcomes that flow into positive effects for a client’s company is something that is not always achieved, but should be a key focus, particularly when offering guidance and advising on a solution.


Personality Attributes of a Technical Consultant (Ref.

Applying the most valuable aspects of your skill set to the appropriate situation has the potential to not only yield bigger wins for your project, but also show the client a level of capability and control that allows for an investment of trust, something that in the long-term, is an invaluable intangible between consultant, client, the team (Kloud) and your (Kloudie) unique brand of consulting.

Be sure that, in empowering and promoting your own brand, you don’t forget about the team. Part of your strength and value can be your resourcefulness, not just your individual skill. In a present technological landscape endorsing constant collaboration, there’s no harm in not knowing what you don’t know – just be willing to ask and learn. Know that giving time to self-evaluation and development translates to value added in the long-term, at least in from my experience.

Kloud develops online learning portal for leading education organisation

Customer Overview

Catholic Education South Australia (CESA) is made up of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools (SACCS), Catholic Education Office of South Australia (CEO) and 103 Catholic schools across South Australia. The organisation comprises 6,000 staff who care for more than 48,000 students.

Business Situation

Catholic Education South Australia recently made the decision to offer the capabilities of Office 365 to its 103 schools across the state (including Exchange email, Lync, SharePoint and Office on Demand). As part of this offering, CESA sought to leverage Office 365 to provide each school with a portal for students and teachers to collaborate.


Kloud worked with CESA to ensure comprehensive understanding of the requirements and delivered a solution design document based on the needs of the organisation. Following acceptance of the design document, Kloud commenced configuration of the tenant (in particular SharePoint Online) in readiness for the deployment of to-be created templates. Kloud worked closely with the Learning and Technology Team to create conceptual designs for the following types of templates that would be used within each school portal:

  • School
  • Class
  • Community
  • Professional Learning.

From these designs Kloud developed prototypes in SharePoint and iteratively refined them with regular reviews from the Learning and Technologies Team. The final solution included a custom application which created the school sites in Office 365 and a remote provisioning application in Azure for self-service site creation. The latter provided teachers with a mechanism to create their own class, community and professional learning sites based on the predefined template which they could then fine-tune to suit their needs.


The school portal empowers students and teachers to collaborate in a safe and well-monitored environment. They can now easily share documents, images and videos as well as create blogs or post questions in a single place.

Through the class sites, students will be able to spend their time collaborating with others in their class as well as teachers who will provide additional resources and oversight. The community sites allow students to join groups of interest, either social or academic, and is a great way for like-minded students to expand their learning or be more informed about what is happening. Likewise, the professional learning sites allow teachers to share ideas and resources about a subject or stream which will translate to better learning outcomes for students.

“CESA’s Learning and Technologies team worked with consultants from Kloud on the functionality and design of the Office 365 and SharePoint Online templates for schools. We were impressed by the communication and analytical skills used to meet our organisation’s needs and to inform its direction. High levels of expertise supported the project, as well as knowledge of the product, solid task prioritisation, budget management and timely reporting” – Karen Sloan, Learning and Technologies Senior Education Advisor, CESA.

Australia’s leading wholesale distribution company transforms IT with Office 365

Customer Overview

Metcash is one of Australia’s leading wholesale distribution and marketing companies, specialising in grocery, fresh produce, liquor, hardware and automotive parts and accessories.

Business Situation

Metcash required the transition of a number of on-premises workloads to a cloud based service to alleviate infrastructure, support and performance issues experienced by the organisation.

Metcash evaluated several alternative SaaS options and requested to roll-out the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products in the form of a technology pilot. The pilot focus was primarily on the Exchange elements of the Office 365 solution and would continue with other relevant features throughout the course of the pilot phase.

Metcash have a mix of corporate “knowledge” workers and “deskless” users, so a mix of enterprise and kiosk licences were tested for suitability during the pilot, as well as integration with their Citrix based virtual desktop infrastructure environment.

Due to operations being national, a number of considerations were given in terms of network and general performance with regards to consuming Office 365 services. This meant that the pilot would not only need to assess performance but also provide benchmarking and certainty for quality of service and usability of the Office 365 solution features.

Approximately 35 users were identified for inclusion in the pilot and were able to have the service provisioned and enabled quite rapidly. Due to Metcash running and maintaining core workplace IT services in-house the Office 365 pilot would need to provide the right level of knowledge transfer and operational handover to relevant Metcash Group staff.


The Office 365 pilot solution for Metcash was constructed in two distinct phases that allowed the organisation the opportunity to make go/no-go decisions part way through the project.  A decision to move forward meant Kloud could commence the planning and integration activities required for a full production roll-out, while still supporting the pilot users with their new technology. This approach ensured a seamless transition to a full production service occurred, without the need to re-create any component of the pilot.

The project started with the use of cloud based identities, primarily focused on the Exchange Online and Lync Online Workloads. The pilot group (35 Users) were created in the Office 365 tenant and assigned the appropriate licenses for the pilot program.

A comprehensive testing program was carried out with Metcash internal users and Kloud consultants which proved to be successful. On the back of this testing, the pilot program was extended to take in the SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Yammer workloads.

The Office 365 pilot was widely regarded as successful, and Metcash has since approached Kloud to extend the pilot program to an Exchange 2010 hybrid implementation, with Active Directory Federation Services and ADFS 3.0 identity services for Single Sign On. Approximately 200 production mailboxes have now been migrated to Exchange Online, with the remainder scheduled for migration.


  • Highly available “Evergreen” cloud based solution
  • Reduced administrative overhead for IT teams
  • Better collaboration amongst users’ and teams’
  • Efficiency gains by use of Lync Online
  • Larger user mailboxes and personal archive mailboxes in Exchange Online
  • Lower TCO gained by subsequent programs of work to migrate all users to Office 365

“Kloud has become an integral partner in providing a platform for our Office 365 implementation. This will enable capabilities within our organisation to collaborate more cohesively and utilise the benefits of Office 365. With the implementation of Lync and the ability to have access to our email anywhere, anytime, allows our broad use base to respond to customers and suppliers more efficiently than ever before” – Gerhard Niess, Senior Manager – Tools & Techniques, Metcash Limited

The NRMA engages Kloud to develop a group-wide intranet solution to improve usability and collaboration

Customer Overview

The National Roads and Motorists’ Association (the NRMA) is Australia’s largest member-owned organisation, with 2.4 million members across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. In recent years the NRMA has expanded beyond its original roadside offering, to help members across a broad range of services, including NRMA MotorServe service centres, NRMA Emergency Home Assist, NRMA Travel, holiday accommodation through NRMA Holiday Parks and car rental, where NRMA owns Thrifty Car Rental in Australia and New Zealand.

Business Situation

NRMA has a cloud strategy designed to reduce operational overheads, while allowing ICT to provide NRMA employees with a modern set of collaboration tools through cloud and mobile technologies. In line with this strategy, a decision was made to develop a new Group Intranet that would merge a disparate set of 6 existing intranets across the NRMA Group, to a consolidated platform that would improve usability, sharing of information and cross-organisational collaboration. Planned integration of Yammer, the enterprise social network, would work to improve user adoption and engagement on the basis of removing barriers to use, such as lack of single sign-on (SSO).


The first step was to design and set the foundations to facilitate the organisation’s adoption of cloud services. Initial consultations identified a number of key technology areas which needed to be addressed to ensure a successful deployment of the Group Intranet, and to position the NRMA Group for successful rollout of future cloud services. Identity Management was key to facilitating this functionality.

Ever since the NRMA’s procurement of Thrifty Australia and New Zealand, both locations were responsible for their own Active Directory forests to provide authentication and authorisation for resources and services. While the NRMA is now looking to Office 365 to provide a single email platform for the organisation, the environment in the short term consisted of multiple Active Directory environments containing multiple, and sometimes duplicated identities, as well as multiple email environments.

Prior to the Group Intranet launch, ADFS was implemented to support SSO for a seamless user experience. Yammer was a key social component of the Group Intranet but was not yet fully integrated with Office 365. By leveraging the Active Directory Federation Services and Yammer directory synchronisation service, this allowed Kloud to build a custom web part so Yammer would appear to staff as a tightly integrated component on the Group Intranet. Kloud helped the NRMA develop the Group Intranet on the SharePoint Online platform. The project was executed using the Agile scrum methodology to ensure rapid delivery of the Group Intranet and maximum value to the organisation.

Given the diverse workforce at NRMA, it was vital that all employees could use the Group intranet on multiple devices to ensure they could stay informed and access content anywhere, at any time. This included ensuring access via mobile devices targeting iOS, Android and the Windows Phone platform. To facilitate this, the Group Intranet was developed using the latest responsive frameworks like Bootstrap. The NRMA’s frontline Road Assist Patrols need to access the intranet in the field to help members using a rugged tablet, making it essential the design was responsive to a range of mobile devices.

Due to the diversity of employee roles at the NRMA, the organisation wanted to ensure the home page was developed to display relevant content to the user based on their area of work. For example, NRMA Patrols would see different tailored content to Thrifty employees. As the out of the box content targeting capabilities were not sufficient to address this requirement, Kloud developed a custom targeting framework to support this. The overall result was a modern, responsive, social, targeted and intuitive Group Intranet to help the NRMA collaborate and communicate effectively across the group.


  • Blue accessible from anywhere as it is hosted in the cloud (SharePoint Online)
  • Multi-device accessibility i.e. desktops and a range of mobile devices
  • Targeted content to ensure only relevant content is surfaced to end users
  • Integrated enterprise social experience (Yammer)
  • As the Group Intranet is hosted on SharePoint Online, it is up to date in terms of latest features released by Microsoft
  • Reduced dependency on IT to manage and support the platform
  • SharePoint Online providing a powerful foundation for document collaboration and content management.

“Kloud Solutions worked hard to truly understand our business and the unique challenges we faced in developing a Group-wide intranet for a very diverse workforce. Their knowledge and expertise helped us deliver a strong platform that not only meets our needs now, but is flexible enough to grow with our organisation into the future. Their approach to working with us and their insights into what we wanted to achieve played a critical role in the successful launch of our intranet.” – Kristy Tuinman, Senior Project Manager and Holly Payne, Group Intranet Manager, NRMA

Kloud delivers infrastructure reforms for one of SA’s largest privately-owned companies

Customer Overview

Cavpower is one of South Australia’s largest privately-owned companies and has been the dealer for the supply, service and maintenance of Caterpillar equipment in SA and Broken Hill since 1972. They provide equipment sales and product support to the mining, quarry, local government, building/heavy construction, power generation, industrial services, petroleum, road transport, waste management, forestry and marine industries.

Business Situation

Cavpower self-manage the majority of their ICT in-house. The company’s infrastructure is largely centralised with core servers and infrastructure hosted on–premises at their head office. As the first stage of readiness for a replacement ERP, Cavpower commenced a strategy to simplify its infrastructure and user environment. This included resolving aging infrastructure and a desktop fleet operating on Windows XP that was approaching end of life, meaning eventual loss of desktop application support and security. With end of support earmarked for April 2014, Cavpower needed to upgrade the entire desktop environment to mitigate risk going forward.


Cavpower’s MIS team presented a strategy for modernising infrastructure in the organisation that would provide a stable platform needed for future growth of the business. Kloud assisted Cavpower with the delivery of this strategy, specifically around the reforms of desktop and server infrastructure.

Kloud identified an opportunity for Cavpower to leverage a mix of cloud-based solutions, freeing time and resources for the organisation to focus on activities core to their business. A prerequisite to any modernisation of the necessary activities was a review of their active directory domain. A comprehensive assessment was conducted to determine suitability and identify any immediate concerns.

Part of simplifying Cavpower’s current infrastructure included a clean-up of their Active Directory (AD) environment, including the hardware used and the removal of virtual machines which were no longer in use. Cavpower’s desktop fleet SOE was also upgraded to improve configuration and server management. A Windows 7 based SOE was developed and deployed using Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2.

Moving to Office 365 will free up existing storage relieving capacity constraints as well as reducing the need to administer on-premises Exchange servers. Office 365 will also to enable greater collaboration amongst Cavpower’s distributed workforce via Sharepoint and Lync Online.


Throughout the engagement, Kloud identified opportunities to:

  • Bolster security
  • Improve efficiencies
  • Automate delivery of applications
  • Minimise administrative overheads
  • Reduce complexities associated with ageing infrastructure

Cavpower is now able to reap the benefits of migrating to Office 365 which will improve storage space and reduce overall complexities with server configurations and email for users moving forward.

Kloud’s detailed approach allowed us to identify all of the potential issues before embarking on a high risk project that would impact every user in the business. Their collaborative style and flexible approach to project management allowed for a seamless integration of the project into our day to day operations with minimal disruption. We forecast a long and successful partnership with Kloud. – Joanne Jones, Manager Operations Support, Cavpower


Department uses cloud-based technologies to enable its ‘ICT as a service’ strategy

Customer Overview

The Department of State Development and Infrastructure Planning (DSDIP) plays a critical role in leading a state-wide, coordinated approach to infrastructure, planning and development whilst ensuring a sustainable future for Queensland communities.

The Department of Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience (DLGCRR) is responsible for overseeing the legislative framework in which local governments operate and enhance community recovery and future resilience.

Business Situation

The Department of State Development and Infrastructure Planning was using an externally hosted Microsoft Exchange 2003 environment for their email. This environment was built on aging physical hardware and had approached Microsoft’s end of life support.

Aside from the need to provide a supported environment for departmental email, strategies defined in the Queensland Government ICT Strategy 2013-17 and the Queensland Commission of Audit (2013), required the department to adopt a new approach to ICT, with key examples including cloud computing, cloud email and ICT-as-a-service.

The integration of Microsoft Exchange Online as the new email platform addressed some of the Agency and Government programs and strategies, as a result.


Kloud provided the department with a hybrid Exchange 2010/Office 365 environment, which enabled mailboxes to be moved from Exchange 2003, via Exchange 2010 onto Office 365.  Proper planning of mailbox moves allowed for minimal interruption to the business and end users.

Using the hybrid setup with Exchange 2010 also enabled Kloud to implement a process for merging existing PSTs into the centralised email solution. By doing this not only was the organisation’s PST footprint significantly reduced, but the content of the PSTs were now open for new features like eDiscovery. Any additional remediation activities were also performed or coordinated by Kloud.


  • Provide a full-featured enterprise messaging platform.
  • Delivery of email services in the cloud, creating an easier to manage environment with improved reliability and availability.
  • New features and capabilities can be added without the need to physically upgrade on-premises infrastructure.
  • Easy email delivery across PC, phone, and browser.
  • Reduce IT administration burden as there is no longer a requirement for server maintenance.
  • PST migrations allowed for freeing up disk space and eliminating support calls for PST related issues.

I was very impressed with the professionalism, expertise and responsiveness which Kloud provided during our complex yet successful transition from Exchange 2003 to Office 365.  The overall transition was delivered with minimal impact to daily business operations, which is a credit to all involved on the email migration project. – Mark Cushing, Chief Information Officer,  Department of State Development and Infrastructure Planning

Education institute improves productivity and reduces costs with Microsoft Azure and Office 365

Customer Overview
Principals Australia Institute (PAI) provides quality professional learning, leadership development and support to principals and school leaders. PAI’s programs and services help build effective, inspirational and sustainable leadership in Australia’s 10,000 government, Catholic and independent primary and secondary schools.

Business Situation
PAI expressed a desire to improve productivity, manage costs and reduce overall risk to its business. Kloud worked with PAI IT staff to provide a roadmap towards a set of IT reforms that delivered on these goals.

Kloud Solutions assisted PAI with a multi-phase infrastructure transformation project. The first phase of the project delivered Microsoft’s Office365 productivity tools to the organisation, including Exchange, Lync and SharePoint. These productivity tools improved communication and collaboration between staff. Office 365 also enabled PAI to decommission their ageing messaging infrastructure, whilst improving flexibility for staff, allowing them to access company resources from anywhere.

The second phase of the project targeted ageing on-premises infrastructure and device management, to consolidate and modernise existing infrastructure, resulting in both reduced cost and risk. Kloud leveraged Microsoft Azure and Windows Intune to supersede these capabilities. A site-to-site VPN was established between Microsoft Azure and the PAI head office, providing a secure connection between the PAI corporate network and Microsoft’s Azure cloud services. This facilitated the deployment of several Windows Server 2012 instances to replace virtual machines previously hosted on-premises.

The infrastructure reform project has had an immediate impact on our business with the reduction of recurring costs, reduced risk and access to a range of collaboration tools for our remote teams. Kloud were responsive, provided strong technical capability and worked with us in a flexible and co-operative fashion to deliver an excellent outcome. – Grant Cox, IT Manager, Principals Australia Institute.

The deployment of Windows Intune provided centralised device management and replaced software deployment and patch management services. This gave the PAI IT department a feature rich device management platform without the overheads associated with running on-premises infrastructure.

The infrastructure reform project provides an enterprise platform for delivering services and connecting systems.

The Office 365 platform improves collaboration and communication through:

  • SharePoint Online providing a powerful foundation for document collaboration and Intranet facilities.
  • SharePoint Online acting as a file server replacement, reducing reliance on WAN links and improving accessibility of information.
  • Document co-authoring and collaboration, meaning multiple staff can work on the same document at the same time.
  • Enhanced video conference capabilities, allowing staff to connect from anywhere, anytime they are in front of a PC.
  • Delivery of email services in the cloud, removing any requirement for local staff to manage the environment, improving reliability and availability.

Microsoft Azure reduced cost and risk by:

  • Improving redundancy and performance through scalable cloud services.
  • Modernising existing infrastructure by moving to current platforms such as Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Decommissioning of the previous managed VPN service and router/switch managed services agreement.
  • Simplifying the existing network, requiring less management.
  • Removed the requirement to run and maintain servers locally, reducing total cost of ownership.

Windows Intune added value by providing the following functionality:

  • Simplifying software deployment
  • Mobile device management (PC’s, Tablets and Phones)
  • Windows Software Update Services via the internet
  • Anti-Virus management
  • Remote control capabilities
  • Software inventory and license compliance
  • Device policy management

As the roll out continues, workflow practices will continue to be streamlined to create greater efficiencies across the company through utilisation of Microsoft’s tools.