IPD Group: From legacy lethargy to modernisationWith inefficient and aging hardware, systems nearing end of life, and time-consuming manual processes, IPD Group needed a technology partner to help navigate its digital transformation journey and consolidate its technology platforms.
IPD Group (IPD) is an Australian operated, ASX-listed electrical product distributor with more than 70 years’ experience. Delivering low-voltage power distribution, automation and industrial communications products, IPD provides end-to-end solutions across Australia.
IPD’s vision is to build the best team, provide an outstanding end-to-end customer experience and implement solutions to the challenges faced by the industries they serve.
- 200 hours per week saved
- Robust cyber security monitoring
- Improved flexibility and agility
- Minimised cost
The cost of outdated legacy systems
Through a combination of internal business growth and acquisitions, IPD has grown from 120 users to more than 450 today. As a result, IPD had to increase its office space to match a growing workforce – however, its systems and processes remained the same.
Consequently, legacy issues were present in business systems, posing significant obstacles, day-to-day challenges, and risks to the group’s operations. IPD’s systems and processes were not keeping pace with their growth and acquisition. With a team of 10 managing its technology department, legacy lethargy was beginning to set in, with operational issues, manual processes, and reactive, labour-intensive problem-solving occupying much of their time.
Ben Allwood, Chief Information Officer at IPD explains, “Our IT team was completely reactive and constantly putting out fires. Not exactly ideal for a company who is trying to grow.”
Additionally, data silos had become a biproduct of IPD’s legacy systems. IPD’s data and system interconnection was ineffective, leading to multiple versions of truth and untrustworthy data.
Asset to liability
With aging hardware comes an increased vulnerability to cyber attacks. IPD recognised its reliance on outdated systems was ultimately painting them as an easy target for cyber criminals, risking overall business continuity.
The total cost of maintaining legacy systems was becoming too high, the technology too complex, with security, compliance, support, and scalability compromised – it was time to modernise.
Holistic and solution focused
IPD went to tender in search of a multi-skilled IT partner to provide a managed Azure and cyber security solution using Sentinel.
It was imperative that IPD’s future partner had the ability to support them across numerous areas of IT – as each IT issue was becoming as much of a priority as the next.
After meeting with numerous providers, IPD was impressed by Interactive’s solution focused approach. Rather than pitching a product, Interactive proposed a solution that utilised and integrated technologies, products, and services that were most suitable for IPD.
- Ben Allwood, CIO at IPD
Leveraging multi-skilled expertise
As a strategic partner, Interactive offered IPD a single platform (public, private, and cyber) with a fully managed capability that could be measured against. The depth and breadth of skills within Interactive’s team ensured any additional vulnerabilities and areas for improvement within IPD’s business were identified and addressed – such as backup and disaster recovery.
Ben explained, “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.”
With urgency placed on improving IPD’s cyber security, Interactive took the time to understand their current cyber security posture, where it should be, and what they needed to do to get it there.
Essentially, Interactive became IPD’s Public Cloud and Cyber Security experts, providing support 24/7, with a level of governance they had not experienced before. Interactive now provides IPD with a 24-hour, 365 days managed Cyber Security Operations Centre, backed with Sentinel. Additionally, Interactive’s public cloud team supports IPD’s Azure workloads.
Ben says Interactive’s cyber 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.”
Improved efficiency – doing more with less
Since migrating to the cloud and eliminating the time-consuming maintenance of legacy hardware, IPD’s IT team has gained back 20 hours a week per person – for a team of 10, that’s 200 hours back into the business.
“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. Our IT team now can start being proactive and finally look long term.” Ben explains.
IPD originally pursued the support of an IT partner for an on-premises solution. However, after Interactive reviewed IPD’s environment and highlighted security risks, the conversation evolved to digital transformation and building the environment from scratch, providing significant cost savings. This was one of many instances where our expertise was invaluable to IPD’s digital transformation, while also building the foundation of what has become a rock-solid, trusted partnership.
When describing IPD’s working relationship with Interactive, Ben said, “To us, Interactive is not a provider, they’re an extension of our team. Everyone is working towards the same outcome.”