Since commencing operations in 1999, AA Appointments has been one of the most well-respected recruitment specialists within Australia. Focused on helping the travel and hospitality industries find placements, they have grown to help businesses of all sizes find executive, permanent and temporary staff across the whole of Australia, which is served out of three head offices on the eastern seaboard – Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
With multiple locations, AA Appointments previously managed disparate servers containing large amounts of data making streamlined access to information and collaboration difficult. Implementing a cloud-based solution such as Microsoft Office 365, enabled them to centralise large amounts of data in one location giving them access to critical systems without needing to invest in private Cloud virtualization infrastructure. The move to Microsoft Office 365 will also them to use its additional collaboration features such as SharePoint and Lync for increased business productivity when they were ready.
One of the key competitive advantages of a recruitment agency is its database. A well-run agency develops an extensive database of clients and candidates, which in turn helps it provide a level of service that its rivals cannot offer. While good for the company, having a large database also introduces complexities into the IT infrastructure, and AA Appointments found itself with the need to centralise its data across all three office locations to allow staff better quality access and management.
“We decided to upgrade our servers and better network the three offices,” AA Appointments managing director, Adriana D’Angelis, said. “We also wanted to upgrade our Outlook network, and Brennan IT recommended Microsoft Office 365.”
Brennan IT has been an IT partner to AA Appointments for 15 years, since its inception, and proactively recommended that the company transition to Office 365 with its investment in new servers. With multiple locations a Cloud-based solution made sense, and Office 365 would allow the company to enjoy the benefits of the Cloud-based access to critical systems without needing to invest in private Cloud virtualisation infrastructure.
With limited internal IT resources it was important to D’Angelis that the solution be one that could be managed easily and efficiently. “Brennan IT were very good at making sure that any problems that occurred were fixed immediately, and they took ownership of the project which was important to us in making sure the transition was smooth,” she added.
For the migration, Brennan IT set up the new system to run side-by-side with the old one to allow pre-emptive migration and testing of data before the final cut over. This meant that the final transition was able to happen quickly and efficiently, with minimal impact to the AA Appointments business. Another benefit to the process was that it was possible to set up test users and logins so that D’Angelis and her team were able to become familiar and comfortable with the technology before complete roll out.
It was not a seamless process, D’Angelis said, but Brennan IT’s proactive management of it allowed for problems to be quickly resolved. “Because our database is quite large we encountered issues with copying our data to the new server,” she said. “But then we anticipated issues for a migration of this size. The scariest one that we ran into was a time where the data was eating itself. “Thankfully the Brennan IT team were great with the backups so they had those to resolve it as they occurred.”
AA Appointments now has a fully modern Microsoft Outlook environment, allowing for remote access to its critical email systems from anywhere. The flexible licensing and self management features of Microsoft Office 365 allows the company to do basic administration without the need for the specialist technical skills they had previously needed to invest in. Additionally, staff are now empowered to work on any device, with the system supporting both desktop and mobile devices on a standardised platform for all users.
“Absolutely all of our users have been fine with the new system,” D’Angelis said. “In terms of operation, we didn’t experience any teething problems with the new version of Outlook among our staff, and we had a whole new operating system, where we have seen great improvements to speed and ease-of-use.”
With the operating system now standardised and in the Cloud, D’Angelis added that AA Appointments can start to look for more complex and innovative ways to make use of the company’s critical asset; its database. “Looking forward, we can see ways that we can enhance how our database looks and operates to help us find greater efficiencies and functionality there,” she said.