The company is a national business made up of financial advisory businesses, who in turn provide support and advice to their UK clients – but the pressure of maintaining IT, compliance, investment research, marketing, and other necessities was making it hard for them to continue alone. As such, the company’s goal was to help alleviate such pressures so that its members can continue to do what they do best: providing great financial services to their market.
Supporting the regional businesses includes identifying areas where efficiencies can be made or economies of scale can be leveraged, such as streamlining operational overlaps and IT duplication, and this is where Cloud plays its part. Specifically, a partnership with Softcat and Microsoft Azure has helped the company migrate away from legacy hosting solutions, while adopting automation and 24x7x365 operational services as the new platform for future IT consolidation and scale.
- National business made up of independent financial advisory businesses.
- A focus on streamlining operational overlaps and IT duplication.
- Seeking new ways to evolve use of and consolidate legacy technology.
The customer’s IT team acts as an enabler of operational efficiency and innovation – two IT goals that are often opposed. With the majority of member business IT hosted in legacy environments (datacentre and on-premises), and with its maturity for regulated organisations, Cloud was an obvious consideration. It would mean a centralised and future proof platform, encompassing line of business applications / systems (Microsoft Azure) and productivity (Microsoft Office 365). However, while a preferred platform was decided upon, this decision was just the beginning of a journey to the Cloud and the key challenges were how to plot the right path, get moving, and be agile in altering direction when required.
The path to Cloud also needed to cater for some critical milestones including datacentre contract end dates and as such, the customer needed total confidence in its chosen direction. The customer identified that a partner would be required early-on and with its focus to also consolidate partners and suppliers, Softcat was an immediate consideration based on our extensive work to date. This consideration was validated through early engagements between both organisations to determine the right cultural fit as well as the expertise required to evolve the the company IT platforms.
"We needed a future-proof IT platform, for which Microsoft (Azure and Office 365) was an obvious choice based on previous technology purchases. We also needed help to ensure the target environment was well designed, with robust migration planning and ultimately ongoing operational services, which is where Softcat stepped in. We forged new relationships with the cloud services team at Softcat and together our partnership delivered on our goal of moving our IT provision to the next level. – Customer spokesperson."
Critical success factors
- Minimise downtime during the migration away from legacy tech to Cloud
- Ensure a robust and future-proof cloud adoption plan
- Ensure partnership flexibility, not an outsource and not a one-size-fits-all
Softcat is not only a value-add reseller, but a Cloud Managed Service Partner (MSP), with cloud native engineering teams and experience; customer, sector, technology and service offering. With this in mind, an existing relationship was re-born encompassing a full suite of Softcat cloud capabilities; advisory, architecture, build, migration and managed services.
To this end, the customer and Softcat worked as an extended joint team to lay the foundations for a successful migration. This included ensuring the new Azure platform was designed and built to a well architected framework coupled with Softcat’s real world operational experience, combining automation and cloud native controls (for example, monitoring, security, backup/recovery).
In parallel, the joint team planned the migration of IT, using a combination of in and out-of-hours migrations to minimise downtime all while balancing datacentre closure milestones. John Birkett, Project Manager at Softcat, explains:
- 24x7x365 Azure PlatformOps
- In and out of hours migration away from legacy technology to Public Cloud
- Ongoing architectural oversight to help shape new projects inline with best practice and operational efficiency.
The key result is a net new Cloud platform which now serves as the standard for IT provision and focal point of future consolidation. All delivered in partnership with Softcat and its 24x7x365 managed service for PlatformOps to ensure continuous governance (architecture, commercial, security and reliability).
A spokesperson for the company, explains:
“This was a complex program of works, including multiple migrations away from legacy hosting solutions. Such complexity, tested our relationship, but the joint team worked in lock-step to forge a new partnership building a technology platform and operational service for the future needs of our business”