“We were very careful in our selection of a new IT services partner. We wanted a partner capable of advising us at a strategic level, but also with a proven track record of high quality day-to-day support. CodeBlue has delivered.”
Brent Cameron, Operations Director, R Redpath Limited.
As a result of the comprehensive re-engineering, Redpaths’ operating costs have reduced, network speed and functionality have improved and the whole system is now much more secure, with high levels of disaster resiliency and data security. Redpaths has a solid, reliable IT set up and an ongoing, flexible planning process to ensure the IT network will evolve to meet the company’s changing business needs over time…
“CodeBlue’s CIO-driven IT Strategic Planning process was employed to fully review Redpaths’ IT systems and overall business situation before making recommendations for a solution exactly tailored to the company’s needs.”
Faced with strong growth in business demand – particularly from the Christchurch rebuild – market-leading electrical goods wholesaler R Redpath Limited thought long and hard about the risks, costs and benefits associated with a much needed major upgrade of its IT systems, before choosing CodeBlue in Christchurch to lead the transformation.
Established in Christchurch in 1945 as a family business, R Redpath Limited (Redpaths) is a leading South Island independent electrical supplier, with branches from Nelson to Invercargill. Redpaths is a founding member of the Powerbase group of independent electrical wholesalers, which pools resources to enable rapid supply of a broad range of goods at aggressive prices to the commercial, industrial, electrical and building trades.
Redpaths Operations Director Brent Cameron says that, although functional, the company’s IT systems, supporting 200 seats at nine branches around the South Island, were starting to reveal pain points for the business.
“As most companies find while involved in the business and continually looking after clients’ needs and wants, you tend to forget about your own company’s internal issues that need to evolve with the business. IT is the first area to feel that neglect,” Brent Cameron says.
“Redpaths expanded rapidly in the early 2000s and our systems were just band-aided to keep the business going. No thought was given to the potential future problems we would face – we thought we’d deal with that when we have time!”
Fast forward a decade and those ‘potential future problems’ were starting to show. Redpaths’ network was slow, particularly in the bandwidth delivered to mobile trade customers, which use the company’s mobile platform under an umbrella scheme for mobile communications. Windows 2000 Server was well overdue for an upgrade, as were the desktops and servers throughout the organisation. Data resiliency in terms of management of backups and disaster recovery provisions was inadequate. Data security, in terms of protecting the data from both internal and external threats, was not well managed. Phone systems were ageing and not well integrated with the network. Printing – a significant cost – was not being handled efficiently.
“Overall, although our system worked, we could see that there were things we needed to fix urgently, such as delivering faster system performance to our trade customers. But we were unsure about the cost benefits and the risks involved. We also spent time evaluating whether the process of upgrading our IT systems was indeed warranted or worth the potential pain,” Brent Cameron recalls.
Partnering with CodeBlue put those concerns to rest and gave Redpaths an organised approach to building a strategic IT plan which managed risks while rolling out changes designed to deliver maximum benefits to the business.
“CodeBlue’s CIO-driven IT Strategic Planning process was employed to fully review Redpaths’ IT systems and overall business situation before making recommendations for a solution exactly tailored to the company’s needs,” says CodeBlue Christchurch Virtual CIO and Redpaths Account Manager Mike Tarjomi. “We audited the existing system and developed a system roadmap with set goals for Redpaths to achieve within a one, two and five-year timeframe,” he says.
Top to bottom transformation
The CodeBlue Christchurch team, helmed by Mike Tarjomi and Trusted Advisor Graham Millar, set about transforming Redpaths’ IT systems, commencing with a top to bottom re-engineering of the company’s IT infrastructure. Servers were moved to the cloud and consolidated from 12 to eight. Desktop systems were standardised and replaced. Various servers, including a Windows 2000 Server machine, were upgraded to a fully hosted Windows Server 2012 environment. A Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) gives Redpaths a single fee for Microsoft apps with automatic upgrades.
Redpaths’ Wide Area Network was also given a major upgrade. A full managed WAN with fibre on all sites from Kiwi-owned ISP Snap was installed. This included a fully integrated Mitel VOIP system replacing the existing phone systems. Trade customers and partners were switched to a 2degrees mobile solution, integrated with Snap and offering high speed with lower operating costs. Customers and partners were rapidly transferred with a simple SIM card changeover and no disruption to normal business.
Redpaths’ printing needs were assessed and, following a review of two providers’ solutions, the company chose to remain with its incumbent provider, which offered a sharp printing solution delivering a mix of large new MFD printers and personal printers at head office and branches, with higher quality and output for a much lower monthly operating fee.
CodeBlue’s data resiliency and layered security solutions were implemented, delivering disk and tape backup and full failover in the cloud. The layered security solution incorporates SMX for inbound and outbound email security, Fortinet’s FortiGate for firewall management, and a full local workstation and cloud server antivirus and malware solution. Data resiliency and layered security are all monitored and managed as part of the CodeBlue services contract.
Redpaths’ managed services contract with CodeBlue provides for high levels of day-to-day support and encompasses continuous review and improvement through the CodeBlue Technology Roadmap IT strategic planning process.
CodeBlue’s service desk provides single point proactive and reactive monitoring and fault resolution for all of Redpaths’ hardware and software, including first call logging of all third party contracted services. CodeBlue’s Stella knowledge base provides CodeBlue’s service desk staff with a continually updated management environment to enable calls to be resolved quickly, including third party escalation when necessary.
A truly rewarding experience
“For me personally, deciding how to handle any potential changes to our systems was difficult as we had close relationships with our incumbent IT partner, which had clearly not grown with us at the same level and was struggling to support the systems we had and needed to implement,” Brent Cameron says.
“We were very careful in our selection of a new IT services partner. We wanted a partner capable of advising us at a strategic level, but also with a proven track record of high quality day-to-day support. CodeBlue has delivered.
“We particularly acknowledge and applaud our direct contacts at CodeBlue, Mike Tarjomi and Graham Millar, for their patience and their understanding of our business and our needs during the planning and implementation phases. The transition to our new system has been an extremely smooth process. CodeBlue’s professionalism, consistent support and problem solving has been invaluable.
“We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership with the whole CodeBlue team,” Brent Cameron says.