Mission Providence was formed in 2014 as a joint venture between Mission Australia and the Providence Service Corporation. Together they work with government, employers, partners and job seekers to provide tailored employment services. The new venture has staff in more than 60 locations across Australia.
The creation of the Mission Providence joint venture created challenges that needed to be solved rapidly. Furthermore, the venture needed an IT platform that would comply with Information Security Registered Assessors Program (iRAP) requirements.
Starting from scratch, Mission Providence needed to build a new IT eI nvironment as economically as possible without losing capability – and to be fully operational within just a few months.
Both parties brought considerable IP to the new entity. Services that had been using the Mission Australia systems and network now needed to be decoupled and established as a stand-alone system that could still deliver business-as-usual services.
With a focus on their core skills and services, the venture had no desire for IT services on premises. Their preference was for a fully cloud-based environment with ongoing managed services. They needed to secure access to the network for 65 locations across the Australia.
The venture’s previous support agreement with Mission Australia for managing the IT environment had only months to run when Datacom was engaged in July 2016. Mission Providence needed to take ownership of its own IT environment before November 2016 and complete at least Level 2 iRAP accreditations by December 2016.
The Datacom difference
Success for Mission Providence depended on engaging the right provider that could design and deliver a well-built properly-managed IT environment, do it from scratch and do it quickly. Datacom was this company.
Datacom’s hybrid cloud evangelists worked with Mission Providence, providing a hybrid-cloud assessment, which enabled them to see their workloads and then to define the critical paths for each workload.
The bulk of the project comprised migrating Mission Providence’s on-premise IT infrastructure (from Mission Australia’s infrastructure) to the cloud using Microsoft Infrastructure as a Service and Microsoft’s Azure platform. Datacom extended the value to Mission Providence by also organising the connecting fabric across the Datacom Wide Area Network.
Maintaining connectivity and service level for almost 1,000 machines and more than 500 emailboxes across all locations posed considerable complexity. Transitioning SharePoint and workloads into Azure compounded this. The transformation meant migrating the existing Microsoft SharePoint content (and associated databases) to the new SharePoint 2013 platform.
Datacom built the SharePoint Farm using Microsoft’s recommended streamlined architecture approach and the Datacom Azure SharePoint experience. Functionality was further extended by adding Skype for Business.
Datacom’s successful delivery was due in no small part it to its experience in hybrid cloud and the ability to deliver exactly what a customer needs. The Datacom team worked with Mission Providence to ensure the project was designed to deliver outcomes, not just IT.
Being part of the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program means Datacom could quickly transition Mission Providence to the cloud and provide the hassle-free management service and consumption-based pricing they were after. The new cloud model, based on the ‘Azure Workload’, allows Mission Providence to scale up or down easily.
The Azure cloud environment provides stability and high availability of data. The physical uptime of sites and servers has increased due to the combination of Microsoft’s Cloud and Datacom’s National Wide Area Network.
The introduction of Exchange 365 online means no more storage limits for users’ mailboxes. This has freed up time that users had previously spent managing emails.
Ten per cent of staff permanently require remote access – and now they have that. Using Office 365 on Azure has dramatically reduced the administration of the remote users.
In the new virtual environment, Mission Providence now has four times as much storage capacity and none of the previous hardware and licensing costs.
A major improvement (that was realised though not anticipated) from Office 365 was the ease with which Mission Providence can make an accurate and real-time count of their Microsoft user licenses.
Mission Providence also gained efficiencies with their help desk services. The internal help desk still provides Level 1 and Level 2 incident support, however, the new Cloud environment means Datacom can manage their Level 3 and Level 4 incidents on the Azure Cloud platform.
All in all, Mission Providence has achieved savings of between 15 and 20 per cent per user, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars per month.
“Datacom is an organisation that stood up in our hour of need, listened to our requirements and created a time-sensitive project to deliver a cloud-based outcome for us.”
Mark Bancroft, Information Technology Manager, Mission Providence