Driving Greater Collaboration Through Microsoft Azure
When RSA Group needed to build greater real-time collaboration capabilities across an organization with hundreds of employees, it turned to iSSC to find a solution that was stable, available, cost-effective and understood that in the world of fresh produce, time is of the essence.
The RSA Group trades in fresh fruit and vegetables on behalf of its customers, and while fresh produce hasn’t changed much in the 30 plus years that RSA has been operating, the market, technology and customer expectations have.
“RSA’s philosophy is ‘Farmer First’, and a critical component of this is our ability to deliver daily feedback of their activity on the Fresh Produce Markets to each of our customers,” says Yolande Castle, IT Manager at RSA Group.
“In the fresh produce market, time is of the essence. The better and faster the information they receive, the smarter their decisions can be. Our business environment has to integrate with a wide variety of systems to be able to provide a service to our customers. Our aim with technology is to enable our staff to perform their duties more efficiently and to provide a better service to our customers.”
Solutions to Meet Any Business Requirement
It was a need for greater and seamless collaboration across the organization that lead RSA to iSSC. “We understood that the biggest challenge we were facing was one of collaboration – we have hundreds of employees across different divisions, and they need to collaborate using a wide range of devices. On top of that, we need to be quick and efficient. Trading fresh produce is reliant on the timely communication of information,” says Castle.
“When we first started engaging with RSA Group, we first needed to understand their challenges,” explains Emil Henrico, CEO of iSSC.
iSSC is a leading integrated solutions and service provider in Southern Africa, delivering world-class consolidated IT solutions for small and large organizations. Supported by First Distribution, Africa’s leading IT and Cloud Solutions provider, iSSC’s focus is setting the trend on Cloud and Virilization migrations in an ever-changing world of Digital modernization, making it well-positioned to help businesses that are focused on being the leaders in their industries.
“RSA was initially investigating how to sync Apple iTunes U across devices, but once we diagnosed their business and the outcomes they needed, we realised they required a solution that could bring everyone onto one seamless platform that offered instant stability and high availability.”
iSSC began RSA’s journey with Office 365 and Microsoft Azure. “Ultimately, we believe that all of our clients should move to a service platform like Azure,” says Henrico. “Cloud solutions are stable and available, with built-in security and a selection of applications to meet any business requirement.”
Communication and Collaboration
“RSA’s teams were running a mix of Google and Apple products, which were causing issues in terms of seamless integration, collaboration and speed of information across platforms,” says Henrico
In any environment it’s impossible to change too much at once, so iSSC evaluated the quickest, most far-reaching win, and recommended Azure and Office 365 as the foundation for RSA’s move to Microsoft.
RSA agreed. “We were all familiar with Office already, so this was the obvious choice,” says Castle. “We have a large, complex organization though, and couldn’t afford any down-time or mistakes – fresh produce doesn’t wait.”
After some careful planning, iSSC and RSA’s teams decided to do the transition in phases. Step one was converting its current Active Directory into Azure AD, Microsoft’s cloud-based identity and access management service.
“Azure AD helps your employees sign in and access resources in Microsoft Office 365, the Azure portal, and thousands of other SaaS applications,” explains Henrico. “This meant the entire organization now had access to Office 365, and any additional roll-outs that will happen as the transition progresses.”
The next step, which is currently underway, is the migration of RSA’s back office applications onto Azure servers, which will save on hosting and hardware costs, as well as reducing any downtime to almost zero.
“We’ve now moved the entire environment over to Microsoft. Not only is communication and collaboration incredibly simple thanks to a system that’s highly available, but we also have endless options to enhance what’s already in place. The next steps are analytics and facial recognition, as well as Power BI, a business analytics service by Microsoft that provides interactive visualizations and business intelligence capabilities with an interface simple enough for end-users to create their own reports and dashboards, which will be hugely valuable in RSA’s industry.”
“We can now communicate and collaborate using any device,” agrees Castle. “MS Teams is being used to share data more effectively across our organization than ever before, and we’re looking forward to unlocking greater capabilities.”
Stable Solutions That Don’t Interfere with Daily Operations
iSSC’s core objective is to enhance business processes, efficiency, effectiveness and overall productivity at a lower cost base. Migrating to a new platform or product can be disruptive, and so the team focuses on ensuring the entire process is as seamless as possible for customers.
“It’s important that the correct stakeholders believe in the move and the reasons behind it, as well as what will be achieved once the migration is achieved,” says Henrico. “In RSA’s case, we were moving users from Google Drive and Google Mail, and we understood that these users worked differently to users of MS products. We provided support and training, which is essential.
“We also always start with test user migration, and then do a mail migration up to 95%. This is left to run until we’re confident that we have a stable solution running. After this user communication starts and we do batches of full migration.”
The end result is a seamlessly integrated business with a host of options available to them.
iSSC is a leading integrated solutions and service provider in Southern Africa, delivering world-class consolidated IT solutions for small and large organizations. iSSC’s focus is setting the trend on Cloud and Virilization migrations in an ever-changing world of Digital modernization, making it well-positioned to help businesses that are focused on being the leaders in their industries.
Visit https://www.issc.co.za/ to find out more
First Distribution is the leading value-added distributor in Africa. Our offering includes a product portfolio of global leading Datacentre, Cloud, Networking and Security products and services. This embraces hybrid solutions with access to any combination of on premise, private cloud and public cloud end-to-end solutions from multiple vendors.
The portfolio, together with highly skilled staff to support and manage vendors with an unrivalled level of expertise, ensures that our partners have the key elements required for success.
First Distribution additionally hosts one of the largest technology partner-to-partner networks in Africa allowing partners to extend the reach of their solutions across the continent.
The RSA Group trades in fresh fruit and vegetables on behalf of its principals. The Group sells a Professional sales service optimising various channels in the industry.
The RSA Group adheres to a Farmer First Philosophy. The principal remains the owner of the product as far as possible in this horizontal integration process. The RSA Group is a service provider in all channels.
Visit http://www.rsa.co.za/ to find out more