*The solution provided to Chesterfield Australia was an award winner at the CRN Impact Awards 2017.

The Business Outcomes

  • IT costs have decreased as the IT Manager has been replaced and a full-time member of Surety IT staff is on-site every day and all other business hours support is included in a monthly subscription.
  • Customer invoices now take seconds to print instead of the 20 minutes they took previously helping to improve customer service and the business reputation at branches.
  • Customer phone calls no longer drop out so enquiries can be taken and customer orders can be made much more efficiently and professionally.
  • Branches can access all IT systems and information without the reliability issues that were experienced previously leading to improved efficiencies and productivity across the business.
  • Information security has greatly improved as critical data has been centralised and there are controls on what staff have access to.
  • IT policies and procedures have been developed in collaboration with Chesterfield Australia to ensure that staff have a framework and guidelines to work within.
  • New branches are much easier to plan and open in terms of IT infrastructure and requirements leading to reduced costs and better efficiency.
  • Staff have become more mobile.  They are able to access IT systems on the go, from customer sites, from hotels and from overseas any time of the day, allowing the business to be more agile.
  • Frustration and time spent by the Chesterfield Australia board around their IT challenges has decreased significantly.
  • The key stakeholders have been able to focus on building the business and look towards improving processes and introducing new technologies as well as bringing additional value for their customers rather than constantly worrying about IT-related issues and outages.
  • As a consequence of that Chesterfield Australia have been able to adopt new technologies that have improved efficiencies within the business.

The Challenge

Surety IT were engaged by Chesterfield Australia for IT Services Brisbane wide. We reviewed their existing IT infrastructure and IT systems as they were experiencing major performance and reliability issues. They were also paying a premium for a service they felt they were not getting from their existing IT provider.

This was causing significant staff frustration within the business leading to low morale and confidence.

At the time, on average, it was taking up to 20 minutes to print a customer invoice at branches which was not only severely impacting on profitability and productivity but it was also affecting Chesterfield Australia’s reputation.  This was leading to low morale as staff weren’t able to provide their customers with the level of services they wanted.

Slow performance wasn’t the only problem they were facing, others included:

  • The IT systems at branches were pretty much unusable at various times of the day so staff were not able to service customers.
  • IT systems were frequently crashing when staff were trying to input orders.
  • Staff were resorting to using personal devices to store data on because the IT systems were so unreliable.
  • There was no ability to work remotely.
  • Phone calls were dropping out mid-call with customers and suppliers, leading to embarrassment and frustration.
  • It was taking staff 15-20 minutes to log in, in the morning to be able to start work.
  • Management had no visibility over what IT systems were in place and were the issues lay.
  • A disaster recovery solution was being paid for by Chesterfield Australia but was not in place.
  • IT systems were completely undocumented.
  • A solution that was delivered 12 months previously for significant cost wasn’t delivering Chesterfield Australia the benefits they were told they would receive.
  • Unresponsive and ‘band aid’ support from multiple providers. Existing providers seemed happy to take Chesterfield Australia’s money without providing value for it.

The Solution

To address the challenges and issues, we implemented our solutions path – a proven process of insight and action that sees us: understand, plan, build, maintain, enhance.

We took a very collaborative and consultative approach.

We completely reviewed the existing IT environment and interviewed various business stakeholders including branch staff to identify were the challenges and frustrations were as well as the desired outcomes.

From this we were able to plan and build the right solution for Chesterfield Australia that delivered the outcomes they needed. The process also allowed us to explain our approach to the board and the other key business stakeholders in a way that they understood and could visualise.

The solution we built was tailored specifically for Chesterfield Australia.  It was secure, reliable and flexible and gave Chesterfield Australia the ability to improve efficiency, productivity as well as staff confidence and morale during challenging times in the agricultural industry.

Key aspects of the overall solution were –

  • We provided a tailored IT strategy and IT road map that detailed agreed upon priorities, budgets, timescales and responsibilities over a 3 year period.
  • A hybrid solution with a mix of hosted and cloud based solutions.
  • Improved security around critical information assets and IT systems.
  • Centralised critical business information.
  • Provided the ability for branch staff to access all IT systems easily and securely.
  • Improved connectivity between sites, allowing users to securely access information easily and in a timely manner.
  • Implemented a backup strategy that fitted with the business requirements and ensured that all critical data was protected.  Regular test restores were also built into the strategy.
  • Provided a tailored support solution that catered for Chesterfield Australia’s unique needs including on-site support every day.
  • Fully documented Chesterfield Australia’s IT infrastructure and made the documentation available for the business.
  • Have continued to work in collaboration with Chesterfield Australia’s stakeholders to re-visit the IT strategy, develop it and further refine it as the business move forward and continues to evolve and grow.

Surety IT are great to work with.  They are really friendly and approachable.  Nothing is too much trouble.  It’s a really good partnership”

Sue Owen – General Manager, Business Services, Chesterfield Australia

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