In 2013, global manufacturer Pentair was seeking to divest part of its operations; the ‘Flexonics’ Flexible Piping Systems business which it acquired through its 2012 merger with Tyco Flow Control.
For Mark MacKenzie, then an employee of Pentair and now the Managing Director of Flexonics, this was an opportunity too good to pass up. MacKenzie put in a bid for the Flexonics business and it was successful; the business was able to transition to become a privately-held company.
With a head office in Sydney and additional presence in both Melbourne and Brisbane, the newly independent Flexonics employs 47 people, assembles and distributes flexible piping, expansion joints, hose and fitting solutions for a wide range of industries within Australia, from industrial processing (including mining, oil and gas) through to chemical processing, storage and distribution.
As part of Pentair, Flexonics’ IT infrastructure was naturally linked to the global IT network. With its independence came the requirement to “unplug” and operating independently to its former parent company.
Additionally, there was a tight deadline set which meant that Flexonics only had a few weeks to get its IT independently operational. MacKenzie knew from the outset that the company would need to bring in external support to allow the changeover to happen seamlessly.
“I had a previous experience with Brennan IT, and I knew from the outset that I needed a company that was very good with responding to customer issues. So, very early on, I reached out to Brennan IT about what we were going to need from a business and an IT requirements perspective. Based on that, the Brennan IT team started designing a unique solution for us,” MacKenzie said.
To achieve the desired outcome, the new solution for Flexonics included a new server environment as well as a Cisco IP network that connected the phone systems across all three offices. In addition, a firewall VPN across the three sites was installed for added security, and a standard operating environment (SOE) for the provisioning of machines was implemented. The new solution, including Brennan IT’s Project and Consulting services, helped Flexonics transition across to their new office environment.
Once the day came to roll the solution out, it only took 9 weeks to be finalised. This was a fast rollout, but as MacKenzie said, the deadline meant that it needed to be quick. “The fact we were able to set up so quickly knowing that we had a deadline to meet to get off our previous company’s network was so important to us,” he said. As an added benefit, the solution designed by Brennan IT resulted in an IT environment that was substantially better than the one the organisation had operated with as part of Pentair.
“We wanted a very light footprint on the ground and a minimum of servers and datacenters. So what we’ve done is have our email and ERP system hosted, so that we’ve literally only got a file server and a domain controller locally. So the solution is fast, robust, light, and if there’s any issues the Brennan IT guys can quite easily patch in remotely; that includes our phone lines, which is another major boost for us.”
The Importance of Customer Service
As with any major infrastructure change, it is important to have an experienced and trusted IT partner that can act quickly in case of any cut over issues during and after a roll out.
When it was time for Flexonics to turn on their network, the cutover was successful but there were concerns of network speed which was an issue surrounding the carriage provider.
“Brennan IT were quick to escalate through the ranks with the carriage provider,” MacKenzie said. Given the speed in which the rollout needed to happen, the downtime could have spelled disaster for Flexonics, but Brennan IT already had a temporary solution handy that allowed MacKenzie and his team to continue working through the week that the issue took to resolve.
“And the good thing is Brennan IT not only escalated the issue to get it resolved as quickly as possible, but they had a solution to keep us going while that process was happening,” MacKenzie said. “For the period, they moved us to a temporary mobile network, which meant we could continue functioning without having to have the main network operating fully.”