Interactive takes electrical distributor IPD Group to Azure

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Interactive takes electrical distributor IPD Group to Azure

Managed services provider Interactive has secured a deal to modernise Australian electrical distributor IPD Group’s IT infrastructure and business systems.

The ASX-listed firm tapped Interactive to replace its legacy hardware and systems with a managed Microsoft Azure environment and a security operations centre (SOC) backed by Azure Sentinel.

IPD distributes electrical products like low-voltage power distribution, automation and industrial communications products. The company said its staff grew from 120 to some 450, which prompted its move to a larger office space, but also put more pressure on the legacy IT systems it kept.

The legacy hardware and systems were nearing end-of-life and had involved manual processes. IPD’s technology department had a team of 10 staff that reported operational issues, manual processes and reactive, labour-intensive problem-solving. Data silos were also a concern, citing ineffective data and system interconnection that led to the creation of multiple versions of truth and untrustworthy data. Security issues were also a concern due to the vulnerability from the ageing hardware.

“Our IT team was completely reactive and constantly putting out fires. Not exactly ideal for a company who is trying to grow,” IPD chief information officer Ben Allwood said.

Interactive was selected from a tender, citing its proposed solution that involved a single platform with a fully managed capability.

“I spoke to a lot of other providers but none of them took that same holistic approach – everyone was just trying to sell us a product. They weren’t trying to provide an overall solution. Interactive were the only ones who understood what we needed in a technology partner,” Allwood said.

“I could call someone from Interactive, no matter who it was, no matter the difference in years of experience, they’d always have the right skillset and bring the same value to the issue.”

Allwood added the MSP’s security offering was a game changer. “Interactive’s approach to the risk assessment gave me a really simple two-page summary document in terms that the top level executives could understand – basically breaking down cyber and business continuity problems and highlighting the way they’re associated with IT infrastructure. That document allowed me to sit down with our board and get buy-in,” he said.

Following the migration to Azure, IPD said the reduction of manual processes brought back 20 hours per week per person in the IT team.

“The real value proposition for cloud migration is you gain half of your IT time back; half your staff get half their week back – that’s basically doubling your staff,” Allwood said. “Our IT team now can start being proactive and finally look long term.”

“To us, Interactive is not a provider, they’re an extension of our team. Everyone is working towards the same outcome.”

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