Stellar Projects Builds Agile Cloud Future for Modern Workplace

“We wanted to remove our reliance on the server hosting our Newforma project file management software, to be completely cloud-based and to have a standard setup for staff”

Maria Ridon,
Business Improvement and Resourcing Manager,
Stellar Projects.

When your company is growing rapidly and you’re handling big projects on demand, like Kiwi consultancy Stellar Projects, agility isn’t a nice to have – it’s essential.

But for Stellar Projects, whose clients include Auckland Transport, NGOs and private and public sector organisations, an IT system of hosted servers – requiring staff to dial in via VPN when out of the office – and a variety of hardware and software had its limitations.

“They wanted to be more agile, to be able to access things on the go, to have increased disaster recovery capabilities and easier IT support, while keeping everything secure”, adds CodeBlue Business Development Manager Hussain Al Hasani.

The Solution

For Stellar Projects, the solution lay with standardising their entire IT environment, moving to the cloud, decommissioning the servers and costly WAN and replacing them with Microsoft Azure Active Directory and SharePoint Online.

“The move has brought us cost savings and reliability,” Maria says.

Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) was deployed across devices to bolster the company’s security posture, with email auditing and smart rules around emails further upping their security play.

InTune provides easy mobile device management. Policy and procedure updates, along with password resets, can be pushed to all devices, with flexible mobile device and app management controls ensuring Stellar Project’s team can work how they want, while ensuring company information remains protected.

All devices were upgraded to Windows 10 Pro and staff were given access to the Office 365 productivity suite, with many staff also provided with Project Online Professional and Visio Online where needed.

The use of cloud technology means Stellar Project’s team can now quickly, easily – and securely – access their work system from anywhere.
SharePoint Online is being used to facilitate sharing of company news, HR and health and safety information. A new initiative will see HR forms, such as leave requests, handled via SharePoint.

The upgraded environment has allowed for the company’s rapid growth, which has seen it nearly double in size in eight months.

“If they had wanted to add that many staff on the old system, it would have likely required an expensive server upgrade, and would have taken a lot of time to configure all the end-user devices as well,” Hussain says.

“It’s a great example of how moving to the cloud can enable fast growth for Kiwi companies.”

Deployment of new devices now takes just two hours, compared with the days it previously took. Software is automatically assigned and pushed to devices, based on the user’s profile, ensuring consistency across devices and that no important policies, procedures or obligations are missed.

It also enables rapid expansion with minimal effort, Hussain notes.

“Deploying a standardised operating environment (SOE) means it’s really easy to accommodate any requests from Stellar Projects,” he says.

“When they opened a new office, it took us minimal time to get devices up and running. It was just a case of providing the laptops with the image and connecting to the internet. All they need is an internet connection and they are fully live with all their applications and folders, and the PC checks in, deploys the antivirus and all the other rules.”

The rollout of the new system saw zero downtime for Stellar Projects.

The CodeBlue difference

Stellar Projects were so happy with the service they received from CodeBlue that they took to referring to the IT services provider as part of their own team.

“CodeBlue provided a straightforward, effective solution to remove the server and licensing costs associated with Newforma,” Maria says. “They provided a clear plan for the rollout of the process, provided a pilot solution for testing and effectively achieved the desired results.”

“Exceptional customer experience comes first with us, Hussain says. “From the very start we ensure we are completely transparent, workshopping solutions with them, showing them the tools we have and the vision we have. It’s a partnership and the customer is part of the journey from the very beginning.

“It’s not about technology just for the sake of technology. We’re working with customers like Stellar Projects to help them achieve their business strategies, whatever they might be.”