Case Study – Improving productivity through IT
Spencer Travel was established in 1998 as a specialist Corporate Travel agency. Over the years Spencer has grown significantly to become a multi-award winning mid-sized agency with over 5 different brands, several sites and more than 60 staff.
Spencer Travel had 2 full time in-house staff members who were responsible for the management of all things IT. However, IT was not keeping pace with the growth of the business and the team lacked the management skills required to deliver.
The key problems the business was experiencing were:
- Team dysfunction – Staff revealed that they were finding it difficult to deal with one of the key member of the IT team.
- Incomplete and stalled projects – Critical projects that needed to be completed to keep pace with change in the industry were stalled.
- Loss of productivity – Outdated hardware and servers that had reached capacity meant that team members were under increasing pressure to deliver to clients.
- Increasing costs – With staff struggling to keep pace, they needed to work extra hours which resulted in increased salaries.
- Loss of morale – Frustrations with IT were impacting overall levels of staff happiness.
- Increasing risk – The way IT was structured and managed meant the business was at high risk of a major outage, loss of critical data, and downtime.
Spencer Travel knew they had issues, but continued to inherit the legacy problems associated with their IT management. They did not understand the IT operations well enough or have the monitoring and reporting systems in place to be able to analyse the performance of their IT.
To resolve the IT issues that Spencer Travel was experiencing, Centrix needed to get a deep understanding of the IT infrastructure and processes. This process involved:
A full IT Audit:
Centrix conducted a thorough Audit of Spencer Travel’s IT infrastructure and systems and identified a number of key issues:
- There were multiple points of failure within the network including no server hardware redundancy
- Back-up systems were insufficient
- Spencer Travel’s in-house server was at capacity
- Anti-virus software licenses were unnecessarily duplicated
- Spencer Travel was not compliant with a number of software licensing regulations
- Outdated and unsupported software was still being used
- The business had no plan or process in place to deal with a disaster
- The Internet and WIFI were insufficient
- Some equipment was unnecessary and/or outdated
- Workstations needed upgrading
- Data was not centrally hosted in many cases which increased the risk of critical data loss
- There was no IT budget in place enabling the business to plan for future expenses
Restructuring of the IT Team:
Based on the Audit outcomes, staff feedback and Centrix recommendations, the IT team was re-structured. With one staff member made redundant, Centrix then took over the remaining IT employee providing Spencer Travel with continuity and experience. As a Centrix employee, the staff member gained access to specialist IT experts, a high level of training and mentoring and the opportunity for career advancement.
Infrastructure was upgraded and streamlined:
Centrix migrated a number of software services to the cloud providing more centralised, streamlined and updated software
Services that were being paid for but either inappropriate or no longer used were cancelled
New backup procedures were put in place
New support systems and maintenance were put in place:
Spencer Travel engaged Centrix on a Managed Services basis to provide ongoing helpdesk support, monthly maintenance, monitoring and reporting on a fully outsourced basis.
Quarterly Strategic IT Reviews and IT Budgets were put in place:
- Centrix developed a full IT Budget which included a four year forecast for when equipment would need replacing. This gave Spencer a clear view of what they needed to invest, and when, to sustain consistent high performing IT systems.
- A strategic IT meeting is held quarterly with Directors to discuss business goals and continued alignment of IT.
Spencer Travel are now experiencing:
- Happier staff
- Improved productivity
- IT projects are moving forward
- IT is more structured and better planned
What The Client Says
“Centrix were able to give us a good map of our systems, what was available with recommendations of the right technology and systems for us. We were aware of the issues before looking for a partner but weren’t able to implement change. We were getting further behind. The decision to restructure our team means the team member we had before now has better facilities, training, are more up to date on technology and had better infrastructure than when they were employed by us. There is also more redundancy, if people are sick Centrix can still cover our needs. They really had the best systems to suit our structure.
Outsourcing was slightly more expensive but overall has ended up saving us money. The downtime and ability to move projects forward meant we were in front.
Prior to working with Centrix our staff were keeping our IT cobbled together but we weren’t moving forward. We needed to upgrade our servers and we needed to implement a better roll out of replacement desktops. We had been paying for things that we didn’t use from previous suppliers – e.g. internet provider. We were paying for security stuff we weren’t using.
Centrix gave us a new set of fresh eyes across the whole business. They were able to clean up a lot of legacy problems that our IT people couldn’t manage themselves. New eyes meant we could remove the legacy we kept inheriting and save us money in that way.
Before Centrix became our IT partner we were losing internal productivity which affects the bottom line. If computers are running slow it adds up to a lot of money in how quickly staff can generate sales. Staff end up having to work overtime or longer hours to achieve productivity. The cost of servicing our clients was going up. Margins in Travel are very thin so productivity is vital.
For example we’re putting in new software to reduce spam, which saves the amount of time staff spend deleting emails. Simple things like that make a difference.
We would highly recommend Centrix as a trusted IT partner.”