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).

Solution

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.

Benefits

  • 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.

Solution

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.

Benefits

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.

Solution

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.

Benefits

  • 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

Mobile platform increases productivity for integrated services company

Customer Overview
Spotless Group is an Australian owned, managed and operated provider of integrated facility management services. With operations across Australia and New Zealand, the Group’s 33,000 employees deliver millions of service hours a year across hundreds of specialist services to industry sectors including:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Leisure, Sport and Entertainment
  • Defence
  • Government
  • Resources
  • Business and Industry (AU) (NZ)
  • Laundries

Business Situation
Spotless service workers and supervisors (employees and sub-contractors) generally work at customer locations rather than offices. Spotless always has a need to supervise the work, capture work related information, disseminate information to, and receive information from these workers.

With the distributed nature of Spotless’ workforce and interaction predominately paper-based or verbal, the organisation was experiencing inefficiencies due to the amount of manual processes involved.  Continuing along this path of a manual mode of operation was resulting in time delays with inefficient use of support staff and an ongoing lack of visibility and effective oversight of service workers and their activities.

In response to the business situation, Kloud proposed a secure mobile computing platform for Spotless’ customers, service managers, and service workers named “MyWork”.

Solution
MyWork is a cloud based mobile platform that comprises the following components:

  • Customer specific web portal for customers to raise, query, and track service requests, query asset registers, query maintenance schedules, etc. It was developed as a set of single-page applications (SPAs) in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and is hosted on SharePoint Online.
  • Service team web portal for managing timesheets, jobs, audits, etc. It was developed as a set of single-page applications (SPAs) in HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and it is hosted on SharePoint Online.
  • Service team mobile phone apps for managing time sheets, jobs and audits. They were developed as Android and iOS apps using Xamarin’s cross-platform runtime and are distributed via AirWatch mobile device management solution.
  • Platform services that implement a range of HTTP-based services, including integration services with Spotless’ on-premises systems, for the customer web portals, the service team web portal, and the mobile phone apps. They were developed in ASP.NET Web API and are hosted in Microsoft Azure.

Benefits
The MyWork solution was designed with Microsoft’s cloud services, which leveraged Spotless’ existing investments in the Microsoft Azure Platform and SharePoint Online (Office 365).

MyWork supports Spotless’ values that that if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well by:

  • Putting people first: Engaging customers, service managers, and service workers by providing systems they can access in the office, out of the office, and at remote work sites.
  • Rolling up our sleeves: Ability to assign service requests directly to service workers thus turning around jobs in a more timely and efficient manner.
  • Leading not following: Providing leading edge technology and mobile systems that makes workforce more closely connected to its customers and service workers.
  • Make every dollar count: MyWork provides customers, staff and subcontractors a new way of doing business by moving to a more automated, online and mobile focused platform.

Kloud understood Spotless’ requirement and delivered to this requirement on time and on budget. Their knowledge of the subject matter and technologies combined with their track record of other mobility projects resulted in a positive project outcome. – Peter Lotz, Chief Information Officer, Spotless Group

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.

Solution
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.

Benefits
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.