Priestley’s Gourmet Delights (Priestley’s) is an Australian owned food manufacturer that produces indulgent desserts for the Australian and international foodservice markets. They have a manufacturing facility in Brisbane, as well as two in New Zealand, and deliver their products to the domestic market via a preferred distributor network, and internationally through a network of logistics partners. The business employs close to 200 staff, and this includes a mobile customer service team of around 30 people.
Until engaging Brennan IT, Priestley’s was operating with a cumbersome, unreliable IT infrastructure. Network failures were frequent, and staff were becoming increasingly frustrated with regular system downtime. Despite having a dispersed salesforce, they also lacked a reliable mobile collaboration platform, which meant the team’s efficiency and communication was limited.
One of the most significant frustrations for the business was the poor performance of its infrastructure, which would fail constantly. IT support and maintenance were provided by a contractor who came into the office once a week. This meant that if there were any issues, there could potentially be a significant delay before they were resolved.
“We were having a lot of issues and outages, and our internet service wasn’t providing the level of connectivity we needed,” says Heather Cross, Priestley’s Chief Financial Officer.
Security was another ongoing challenge, and the business’ security infrastructure was somewhat dated. When Priestley’s network became infected with a virus due to an employee opening a corrupt file, the need for an upgraded solution became extra apparent.
Additionally, employees lacked the ability to reliably connect when they were out of the office or on the road, and this meant a lack of flexibility. It was hard for the business’ mobile sales team to collaborate effectively and share information, and their communication was largely limited to email and phone.
The business was also grappling with a disparate infrastructure. While they had invested in individual quality solutions over time, there was a lack of overall integration – meaning it was difficult for the business’ owners to get overarching insights, and to make fast or accurate decisions. From an IT maintenance perspective, supplying patches and upgrades was difficult as many employees worked with different hardware and operating systems.
Realising an IT upgrade was required, Priestley’s approached Brennan IT to examine their technology and first provide an initial direction and strategy. They were referred to Brennan IT and from the outset, were very impressed with the company’s professionalism and high-quality system engineers.
“First of all, we needed educating on what we thought we wanted, but what we didn’t really understand. We went through this process with Brennan IT’s sales team. They provided us with a fantastic demonstration of a hosted environment and the services that this could include. After this initial discovery phase, Brennan IT submitted a tender, presented to our board, and basically offered us the suite of products that we use today,” says Cross.
Brennan IT helped Priestley’s to define their needs, provided a roadmap for their IT upgrade and then helped the business migrate to a new, cloud-based infrastructure with managed services across their environment. Now, every element of Priestley’s technology is managed off-site, in the cloud, and the business doesn’t require any IT people on staff. Through Microsoft Office 365, Priestley’s remote sales team are also able to effectively share data and collaborate, even when they are on the road.
When Priestley’s acquired a New Zealand company, Elite Foods, Brennan IT worked closely with Priestley’s to set up the required technology infrastructure. Elite Foods was relying on a dated server, and when this collapsed during implementation, Brennan IT’s early preparatory work avoided potentially costly and disruptive downtime. Instead, Brennan IT was able to roll out and set up Office 365 to all users, and move Elite Foods’ data across to the new server, based in Brisbane, within just 24 hours.
Recently, Priestley’s was also able to leverage their new, cloud-based infrastructure to launch a CRM initiative using Office 365 and Dynamics CRM, and they have also just rolled out a Skype for Business solution across the business – to improve communication between their various offices.
Priestley’s can now rely on a far more robust, reliable and secure network, and can also communicate far easier, and more effectively.
Marketing the company’s services is now easier and faster, as all employees can collaborate using Microsoft SharePoint.
“Our people can collaborate far more often, and far more effectively than they used to,” says Cross.
The company’s sales team can also now use connected tablets to showcase the latest products while meeting with clients. This has considerably streamlined the sales process and has given the sales team more time to focus on generating new opportunities.
Brennan IT also manages all of Priestley’s ongoing IT support, which has saved the business huge amounts of time and effort. If an employee has an IT-related problem, they log a ticket with the online system, and the issue is quickly and effectively resolved.
“The main driver for us in moving to the cloud was peace of mind, and mitigating risk, and we have certainly ticked the boxes there. But we have also become partners with a very professionally-run business, and we look forward to working together to develop further strategies and do even more,” she says.
“With Brennan IT, we have finally found a partner who can lead us in the right technology direction and give us the performance we need. We are a family-owned and -operated business that is now future-proof and ready for the 21st century.”