Online Distribution has 13 sites across eight locations around Auckland and Christchurch, providing third party logistics warehousing and supply chain solutions to more than 200 B2B and B2C clients.
That sees it taking care of clients’ supply chain including storage, pick and pack and distribution for products ranging from shoes to ovens, chemicals, tents, wine and tyres – and even down to badges to be distributed to Girl Guides around New Zealand.
Logistics company makes digital transformation pay in the modern workplace
Ask Online Distribution’s Mike Evans what Microsoft’s Modern Workplace means to him and he’s quick to answer: “It means convenience, flexibility – and a lot fewer issues.”
Evans is Finance and Administration Manager for Online Distribution, which recently moved to Microsoft’s Modern Workplace cloud environment.
Like many Kiwi companies, Online Distribution is hard at work on its digital transformation – one that’s already paying for itself in cost avoidance and productivity and efficiency boosts.
“It’s really set the company up to be able to grow and move forward without having too many hurdles in the ICT space,” Evans says of the transformation, which has seen CodeBlue modernise Online Distribution’s ICT infrastructure, including switches, routers and firewalls and which culminated in the move to Azure Cloud and Office 365.
“The relationship with CodeBlue is ‘seamless’, and the wrap around services the company provides have been a real benefit for Online Distribution. Like us, CodeBlue is ‘the perfect size’ – small enough for the personal touch, but big enough to offer all the required services.”
Finance & Administrative Manager – Online Distribution
The company’s ageing servers provided a nudge to embrace a new way of supplying ICT. “We wanted the flexibility to grow sites and numbers of sites without having to factor in large capex purchases,” Evans says.
“All our systems, including our telephone and warehouse management systems are cloud-based now, so it seemed logical to move to the Modern Workplace and get file storage and ICT management into the cloud as well.”
Laying the foundations
Emails were moved to Office 365 first, followed by an upgrade of Online Distribution’s 90 desktops and laptops
to Windows 10-capable machines to fully capitalise on all the features of Microsoft’s cloud offerings.
“There are pre-requisites to take advantage of the cloud, particularly public cloud, and we’ve got to lay the foundations first,” explains Ray Stanion, CodeBlue Key Account Manager.
The final step came with a move into a structured SharePoint environment, scoped with and built by CodeBlue,
comprising an intranet and a structured directory of all file shares, says Matt Bourne, CodeBlue Senior Trusted Advisor. Azure AD provides authentication and access control while InTune is used for management, and Teams provides communications and collaboration tools.
“For Online Distribution and their 120+ strong team, it’s a ‘100 percent Modern Workplace world’ which is already providing returns”, Evans says.
“One of the first comments I got from one of our sales team when we installed this Modern Workplace was how seamless it was that he could open his computer anywhere and all his files were there. He didn’t have to save files on his laptop before he left or try to dial in remotely to the server.”
“That sums up the reason we’re doing this. It gives everybody a lot more flexibility and the ability to work anywhere, any way.”
“A reduction in costs is already being seen through the removal of ongoing server- related costs”
Microsoft Teams is fast becoming a favoured means of collaboration for our company, with internal teams created for various projects, enabling cross- functional information sharing, avoiding the need for group emails.
“It didn’t take long for people to realise it was a pretty powerful tool and it now gets used a lot for instant messaging and collaboration as well as video calls and meetings.”
For a fast-growing company, there are other benefits too: Rapid provisioning of equipment and the ability to quickly scale up and down.
“The Modern Workplace reduces the time required significantly and standardises the build process significantly.”
Key Account Manager – CodeBlue
“We now have ICT infrastructure that is modern, scalable and fit for purpose. It’s really set us up for sustainable and hassle-free future growth.”
Finance & Administrative Manager – Online Distribution
“When we have a contractor come in for a short-term role, we can sign
them up with an email address and SharePoint account and we pay the license fee by the day. If they leave after three weeks, we switch it off and only pay for three weeks. All that is required is a device running Windows 10 and we can download the software, enter their username and password and be up and running.”Stanion says in the past setting up new equipment required a 1-2 week lead time and manual build of devices and potential human error. “The Modern Workplace reduces the time required significantly and standardises the build process significantly.”
Online Distribution’s use of two-factor authentication is also instilling clients with increased confidence in the company’s data protection.
“It’s an extra benefit to us and additional reassurance for our clients.”
Azure has more than 90 compliance certifications, making it about 50 percent more compliant than other platforms Stanion notes.
Evans says the relationship with CodeBlue is ‘seamless’, and the wrap around services the company provides have been a real benefit for Online Distribution.
Like us, CodeBlue is ‘the perfect size’ – small enough for the personal touch, but big enough to offer all the required services, he adds.
“We’re very happy with them and that’s important because ICT is a large cost
and uptime is critical to our success, especially given the high level of integration with our clients and suppliers.
“We set out to ensure our ICT was fit for purpose by improving our infrastructure and investing in Modern Workplace, and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved in a relatively short period. We now have ICT infrastructure that is modern, scalable and fit for purpose.
“It’s really set us up for sustainable and hassle-free future growth.”
THE CODEBLUE DIFFERENCE
With more than 150 staff across 5 branches in New Zealand, CodeBlue has an enviable record of success delivering IT services. We have specialists in IT strategy, IT operations, IT security, business process and business intelligence. Whatever your IT requirements, we have the capabilities to help your organisation.
Our wide range of services include Proactive IT Support, Cyber Security Services, CIO Services, Data Backup and Recovery, IT Strategy, Cloud and Procurement Services.
CodeBlue is at the forefront of IT Managed Services for mid-sized organisations.
We understand the need to deliver value for money to help keep IT support costs down and maximise investment in existing and new technology. Our fixed monthly service fee provides exactly this peace of mind for our customers.