Moving to the OneNet Cloud: The Orange Group
The perspective from a customer of a OneNet business partner
The Orange Group is a full service experience agency with specialist divisions, including catering, corporate events, conferences and experiential marketing sectors.
This full service approach enables us to provide our clients with a streamlined experience. It also allows us to be more responsive to our client’s needs across all aspects of the event or conference delivery process, to exercise greater control over the project and therefore deliver maximum value to our clients. An efficient and effective IT solution is a critical factor in our ability to deliver this.
A privately owned New Zealand company, The Orange Group has evolved into a collection of leading specialist brands, successfully delivering world-class events for leading brands such as IMG (International Management Group), ANZ, PWC, Briscoes, Heineken, DHL, AIG and Vodafone.
Our brands include:
Orange Exchange – Full service PCO delivering conferences, incentives, team building and destination management services.
Orange Productions – Corporate event management and design, stakeholder and staff engagement events, event production, corporate family fun days and festival management.
Orange Experiential – experiential marketing events for businesses and brands.
Collective – hospitality experience company including full service catering and specialist event venues.
All of these brands are supported by an infrastructure of in-house resources and expertise that is unrivalled in New Zealand. This provides clients of all divisions, access to a powerhouse of creative, technical and logistics expertise, event equipment, furniture and prop hire, event management, graphic design and production, event production, catering and two of Auckland’s most iconic waterfront venues, The Wharf and Orakei Bay.
Until May 2012, we had used on-premise IT infrastructure at our head office in Onehunga, as well as an inherited on-premise IT environment at one of our venues. Additional factors inhibiting work productivity included our line-of-business applications which were spread across two IT environments, the varying versions of Microsoft Office installed, the varying age and condition of the computer fleet, and the ever increasing number of tablets and laptops brought into the environment as staff levels increased.
Neither of the server-based IT systems located at two of their sites were linked with the other, so multiple VPN’s were required to access file and print services, as well as to complete the charges and billing for an event. Data backups and system health checks varied, depending on staff workloads and availability. On review, it was decided by the Board of Directors that a hosted cloud computing solution would alleviate all of this complexity.
This was a relief for Vertech, our trusted IT partner, who had, prior to this, been as proactive as they could managing the short-comings of the then current issues. Vertech also proposed a new on-premise environment which, from the organisation’s point of view, was an eye-wateringly expensive capital outlay for a business going through a big growth period.
Specifically, Vertech now provides The Orange Group with a cloud computing solution from OneNet. The cloud solution includes virtual Microsoft Windows 7 (GUI) desktops using Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and Citrix for connectively from any device, whether it be a PC, Mac, or Android device. Each virtual desktop includes the latest version of Microsoft Office, Outlook using Exchange email, SharePoint, Internet Explorer, MYOB hosting, payroll hosting, and selected users accessing Microsoft Project and Visio.
We also use an online archive for a large amount of data stored on OneNet’s environment.
Vertech played an integral role in the project, working with OneNet to design and implement the new system and to ensure that the migration of the old systems to the new hosted platform was conducted on time, on budget and with minimal disruption to the business. Post-migration, Vertech continue to provide support to the local network and device environment and first and second level user support and provide sound advice on IT strategy as required.
When exploring the realm of cloud computing, we were faced with the decision to either build our own cloud solution, or partner with a reputable cloud computing specialist for their services. Given the required investment and time to build such a solution, we chose with Vertech to partner with OneNet, a pioneer and New Zealand market leader in cloud computing, to provide the infrastructure needed to provide a comprehensive cloud solution. We now focus on running our business, knowing that the back-end infrastructure is taken care of and that our data and clients’ information is housed in secure, reliable data centres.
When we looked for a cloud provider to partner with, there were some key criteria that needed to be met when choosing the right partner:
• Their data and their clients’ data needed to be highly secure and redundant.
• Their cloud service provider needed to be NZ-based and, therefore, needed to have staff readily accessible so that timely support could be provided, when required.
• A certain level of client-based self-service was required so that new staff members could be provisioned at any time, as well as enabling moves and disablements to be efficiently and cost-effectively executed.
• The cloud provider needed to offer competitive industry pricing.
Overall, OneNet’s solution appealed due in part to their wide range of support mechanisms which includes free phone, email support, access to their comprehensive Knowledge Base, access to their online Service Portal (where cases can be logged and updated), and even direct contact with their knowledgeable sales team (which is a real bonus!).
Group Finance Manager
The Orange Group