Case Study: Synergy Group

About Synergy Group

Synergy Group, a Canberra-based accounting and consulting firm, is a fast-growing organisation serving the needs of both government and commercial clients, including the Australian Federal Police the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Australian Taxation Office, and many others. In operation for over ten years, it is highly regarded for the quality of its consultants, its commitment to providing experienced personnel, and for its diligent work ethic. With their capacity to deliver strategic advice and to provide innovative and
practical solutions, Synergy Group represents a compelling local alternative to many of the international players in the market.

Challenges & Issues

Synergy Group found rapid success in the government and commercial sectors due to their competitive fees and reputation for experience and diligence. With a growing number of clients coming to them for their consulting and accounting needs, they came to realise that their
existing approach to IT was becoming unworkable. With the majority of their staff working client-side, occasionally without access to the Internet, they needed to ensure that staff were able to access important data, collaborate and comment on developing projects, and adequately meet the security expectations of the industry. ‘It was a daunting situation,’ says Tony Sagnelli, Synergy Group’s Practice Manager. ‘We came to realise that we were effectively operating in the dark ages in regards to how we managed our data’. Operating via isolated VPNs and with no shared intranet, the onus was on individual staff to ensure data was adequately backed up and secured. ‘We realised there had to be a better way, that would provide the peace of mind our clients expected, and unlock greater productivity from within our organisation’.

Selection Criteria

centreRED, a Canberra-based IT services company, came highly recommended from both within and outside the company for their down-to-earth nature and their reputation for being fast, friendly, and efficient. Additionally, centreRED’s partnerships with industry leaders Microsoft and HP placed it in strong contention for the role. In particular, centreRED’s status as a Microsoft Partner ensured that its recommendations came with the confidence and experience of a world-class, whole-of-business SaaS provider, while its capacity as a Managed Services Provider could ensure ongoing support during and after the transition.

Solution

Synergy Group required a single, comprehensive solution for email and document collaboration for over 70 individuals across onsite and remote locations, and a robust Intranet to allow effective sharing without the need for a VPN. Cost-effectiveness and customisation were key concerns. centreRED recommended the implementation of, and migration to, Microsoft’s Office 365 (Business Premium plan). Office 365 Business Premium provides:

  • A common platform for core Microsoft applications and communications regardless of device
  • Access, if needed, to Exchange Online via any web browser
  • Office 2013 in both an online and installed capacity which enables work to be completed even when staff have no internet access
  • A simple way to standardise Synergy Group’s operating environment and document templates.
  • Storage via OneDrive for Business – the cloud-storage solution at the heart of Office365 – delivers the capacity for users to temporarily store files locally which are then synced once devices have access to the internet.

Finally, given the need for Synergy Group to have greater collaboration between staff and version control of their vital documents, centreRED customised the implementation of Microsoft’s SharePoint Online component of Office 365 to serve as the backbone of their internal data structure. Staff can easily share files and get access to any documents via powerful search functionality. To ensure minimal disruption, centreRED worked over the Christmas break to migrate email archives
to Exchange Online and install the updated Office Suites to Synergy Group’s devices.

 

“Now, we get to focus on simply doing our work”

 

Tony Sagnelli
Synergy Group Practice Manager

Results

The implementation of SharePoint Online alongside Exchange Online and local Office applications has seen a reduction in complexity of Synergy Group’s data management, while facilitating greater responsiveness through enhanced cross-communication within the organisation. ‘The difference is night and day,’ says Sagnelli. ‘We now have the confidence to share and comment freely, knowing our documents are all accounted for and synchronised in the necessary manner’. No longer is overseeing Synergy Group’s IT requirements a burden, with key staff now able to attend to their most valued asset: their clients. The result is that Synergy Group is ready to enhance their already burgeoning growth prospects. ‘Our staff have had very few issues with the transition, with the benefits being as apparent
as they are’. centreRED presently handle’s the majority of Synergy Group’s IT requirements including maintenance, server management, backup procedures and SaaS delivery; ‘they’ve implemented a solution that is significantly better than what we had in place before. Now,’ comments Sagnelli, ‘we get to focus on simply doing our work, to not just meet but exceed our clients’ expectations’.

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