Case Study by Brian Chalmers - Financial Controller, Australian Sailing
Australian Sailing is the national sporting organisation for sailing in Australia. We have around 80 employees working around the country to promote and develop sailing in Australia.
A few years ago, we decided to review our IT services. We weren’t overly happy with our provider at the time, and our COO was introduced to The Missing Link, so we started a conversation with them. They had a fantastic reputation within the industry, were very responsive and matched all of our requirements – so the decision to engage them just made sense.
At that time, our priorities were to have comprehensive IT support – a centralised point of contact to maintain hardware and software was key.
We wanted to gain the benefits that come from tapping into experts in their field, depending on the issue at the time – whether that be updating server infrastructure and data security, or setting up remote working capabilities, all while keeping our costs down. As a relatively small organisation, we realised it would be prohibitive to have access to the required level of expertise in-house – we’d need two people on board, and that wouldn’t be as cost-effective as engaging an external provider.
Our goal in engaging The Missing Link is to have a consistent approach to our IT infrastructure so that we can have staff members working safely from remote locations. Maximising security of our intellectual property is paramount. As a national organisation, we store vital data about employees and sailing members, as well as, of course, all the sailing strategies we’ve developed to go for gold at the Olympics. We can’t afford to have any points of weakness in the system. So, we need to minimise the risk of data getting lost, hardware being damaged, and our systems being hacked by cybercriminals.
The Selection Process
We didn’t need to test the market – The Missing Link’s goodwill within the industry spoke volumes. Since they were highly recommended to our management team, we did our due diligence and compared their offer in terms of services, expertise and cost against our previous providers.
That was three years ago, and since then, the scope of work has expanded significantly. Our current 12-month road map has been to move our entire business to the cloud so that everyone can work effectively online. As part of this, we recently rolled out Microsoft Teams and Intune. The process went very smoothly and coincidentally was in place just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. That was incredibly fortunate for us – we were one of the few companies that were fully prepared to switch to remote working immediately.
Interestingly, at the time, we had just moved our head office into stunning new premises in North Sydney with sweeping harbour views. Despite the beautiful new office environment, most Sydney based staff remain happiest working from home, because the systems we’ve put in place are working so efficiently.
We’ve developed a great relationship with the team at The Missing Link. Clare and Adam are our key contacts, and both of them are knowledgeable, professional and friendly, as are all the members of the team that I’ve dealt with.
They offer prompt support – the tickets we submit for work required are turned around quickly, and if the odd problem pops up that can’t be resolved quickly, they let me know and provide regular updates. I feel comfortable calling Adam at any time and if he’s not available, I know he’ll get back to me as soon as he can.
I don’t have a background in IT, but I know enough to be dangerous 😉 and their team are very good at explaining things. I’m happy to ask questions, and if I don’t understand anything, they are equally happy to step me through what I need to know. They’re great communicators, which I believe sets them apart from our previous provider.
Engaging The Missing Link provides me with peace of mind – I know that if our staff follow the right procedures, they’ll get the right advice, and our IT systems will be well maintained and secure.
Going forward, I don’t anticipate making any major changes. COVID-19 has put the handbrake on our plan to move the business entirely online. However, the progress we have made has been very beneficial - the staff have adapted and are enjoying working remotely online, which is pleasing to see.