Case Studies

Learn how our clients cut costs, consolidated resources and ramped up their productivity by migrating to the Cloud.

Customer

Hertex

Year

2018

Products and Services

Azure

Azure Backup

Azure Disaster Recovery

Industry

Retail

Organisation Size

Medium

(50-999 employees)

Azure over AWS for South Africa’s largest fabric company

With the addition of new product lines to an already successful fabric business, Hertex outgrew their aging ERP system. Operating from multiple showrooms nationwide, logistics became a nightmare when stock levels couldn’t be monitored accurately in real-time. Azure was selected to take their new ERP system to the cloud and has resulted in significant CapEx savings. Training of end users to drive adoption has resulted in successful use of cloud technology.

Business Problem

Hertex is the largest fabric company in South Africa. Since it’s humble beginnings in 1987, the company has grown into a décor destination that includes a finely curated homeware collection. They have 16 showrooms nationwide.

 

The need to make changes to their ERP system was very clear, Ludwig Hartmann, general manager explains: “In the past, we hosted our server infrastructure on-premises at our head office with multiple branches connecting to it. Problematic internet connections, aging hardware and the threat of power outages, resulted in lost revenue.”

The Solution

In April 2017, Crimson Line migrated 260+ users from Novell GroupWise to Office 365. The project was a resounding success as it was coupled with user training to drive adoption. The next phase in updating the data infrastructure was to implement a new ERP system. The ERP implementation vendor had recommended AWS over other solutions. The vendor claimed that since their software had not been tested on Azure, they couldn’t guarantee that it would not cause problems.

Crimson Line has been Hertex’s IT partner since 2010 and motivated to Microsoft that a Proof of Concept be authorized to gain, not only a new client, but also initiate discussions around Azure with the vendor.

Microsoft Azure held many benefits for us. We didn’t have to invest in generators and additional infrastructure. The scalability of Azure means that we only pay for what we need right now”, says Hartmann of the solution. In the end it was clear that Microsoft Azure was the right choice to host Hertex’s new financial system.

Process

It was decided that the old and new ERP systems would run parallel for a period to allow for software development of the new system. As this would be a new installation it wasn’t possible to use the Azure cost estimator tool to gauge specification perimeters. Thus, Crimson Line met the financial system software vendor to determine:

  1. how many servers the system required;
  2. what the operating system requirements were; and
  3. what the licensing requirements were.

Crimson Line, being a Microsoft Network Partner holding various gold and silver competencies, discussed the vendor provided specifications with a local Microsoft technical expert in lieu of the Azure cost estimator. It was identified that the vendor over specified the system requirements. This meant the number of servers could be reduced from three to two.

Crimson Line set up the servers in a secure hybrid environment and began fine tuning the specifications in accordance with best practice methodologies for databases in Azure. Azure Backup and Azure Disaster Recovery was included in the installation. The new ERP system is running optimally on Microsoft Azure with full deployment planned for the beginning of the new financial year.

Deliverables

Azure discovery and best practices

Scope solution with customer and vendor

Deploy PoC

Reduce on-premises footprint

Key Customer Benefits

  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced local server footprint
  • Reduced IT cost through eliminating server maintenance
  • Scalability
  • Eliminated capital expenditure

Customer

Warwick Estate

Year

2017

Products and Services

Microsoft Office 365

Advanced Threat Protection

Industry

Food and Beverage

Organisation Size

Medium

(50-999 employees)

Enterprise capabilities for a regional wine estate

The food and beverage industry is a fast moving, competitive one. Warwick Estate’s beautiful vineyards, cellars, restaurant and picnic area is part of the Stellenbosch Winelands. They needed a communication and data technology system that would allow for ease of use but using an ISP email solution was making this difficult. The estate’s location outside of Stellenbosch, meant that their options for internet connectivity was limited. But Crimson Line assured them, limited connectivity didn’t need to keep them out of the cloud.

Business Problem

Warwick Estate used their ISP’s generic email solution. Although it is inexpensive, it is labour intensive to manage. For example, it was a manual process to backup and archive users’ email. They also had a need for shared mailboxes, but the ISP’s solution did not have this functionality. It was difficult to white list (opposite to blacklist, e.g. the user needs to receive email from the sender) domains to prevent non-spam email being caught in the spam filter. Since there was no central console in the ISP’s solution for managed IT support, it was difficult to guard against viruses and to prevent phishing attempts. They’d also been victims of numerous ransomware attacks that resulted in hours being lost to the recovery process of data. These ransomware attacks were as result of successful phishing attempts and an aging operating system.

As Warwick Estate’s number of employees grew it became time-consuming to schedule meetings between staff who could be located anywhere on the Estate’s grounds. Electronically shared calendar functionality would solve this problem.

The Solution

Microsoft Office 365 is a cost-effective and easy to manage subscription service product from Microsoft that incorporates Microsoft’s cloud services and a copy of the latest Microsoft Office. It is the clear solution for Warwick Estate. Crimson Line, with whom they have a longstanding relationship, and who has various Microsoft competencies, was the preferred cloud solutions provider.

On suggestion from Crimson Line that Warwick Estate migrate to Office 365, they immediately (and expectantly) raised the concern that they didn’t have fibre. Operations manager, Martin Gebers explains “When Crimson Line recommended we move to Office 365, we were worried that our problems would only get worse because of our connectivity issues. They reassured us that this wouldn’t be the case as we could still work on our files and email in Office 365, even if we had limited internet connectivity.”

Crimson Line recommended that Warwick Estate also subscribe to Advanced Threat Protection (ATP). This is a cloud-based email filtering service that helps protect an organization against unknown malware and viruses by providing robust zero-day protection and includes features to safeguard an organization from harmful links in real time. This was recommended as past phishing attempts were successful, meaning users were finding it difficult to distinguish between authentic and phishing emails.

The migration to Office 365 saw a reduction in the manhours related to managing email backup and archiving resulting in a substantial operational expenditure saving.

Process

In this instance, the migration was a manual process. For two reasons:
1. There were bandwidth limitations at Warwick Estate; and
2. Due to the ISP email application from which the migration was being done.
The only way to handle this migration, was by doing a “cutover”. It meant taking Warwick Estate off-line for a time-period. To limit the disruption, it was done over a weekend with each mailboxes’ PST file assembled on an external hard drive. This hard drive was taken to a Crimson Line’s office that had a high bandwidth connection to ensure a quick upload. Since Warwick Estate had limited bandwidth, Outlook was configurated to keep three months’ worth of email on a device while the remainder resided in the cloud.

Crimson Line’s project process flow for the migration to Office 365 starts with mail. It’s the easiest component for users to familiarize themselves with.

Deliverables

Office 365 readiness assessment
Drive user adoption through training.
Migration was done afterhours to limit downtime.

Key Customer Benefits

• Increased reliability
• Reduced local server footprint
• Reduced IT cost through eliminating server maintenance
• Shared calendar functionality for users
• Shared mailboxes to decrease response time
• Increased protection against phishing attempts
• User adoption through training

Customer

Warwick Estate

Year

2017

Products and Services

Azure Site Replication

Training

Industry

Software development

Organisation Size

Medium

(50-999 employees)

Aging hardware no longer needs to be a worry

Hosting your own data centre means you need to keep track of hardware related issues. Software developers, redPanda, moved ahead of the curve by extending its data centre into Azure before hardware needed to be replaced.

Business Problem

Data centre hardware nearing the end of its life resulted in redPanda Software looking at alternative solutions for its replacement.

The Solution

The recommendation made by Crimson Line was to extend their data centre into Microsoft Azure. This meant that when redPanda Software needed to replace the hardware, Azure would be set up already and it would be easy to deploy according to their requirements.

Process

Crimson Line did an assessment of the system requirements to determine total costs to client. On approval of quotations, we prioritized which applications to migrate and when to do so to plan for a phased migration. Crimson Line then empowered redPanda Software to migrate data themselves as they needed to do so.

Deliverables

Azure readiness assessment

Azure discovery and best practices

Training

Key Customer Benefits

  • Scalable solution
  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced local server footprint
  • Reduced IT cost through eliminating server maintenance
  • No downtime during migration

Customer

Warwick Estate

Year

2017

Products and Services

Azure Site Replication

Training

Industry

Software development

Organisation Size

Medium

(50-999 employees)

Lewis Stores move to the cloud

When you’re a national retailer with hundreds of stores nationwide, server replacement is a significant capital expenditure. A cloud solution negates the purchase of new hardware while it has many additional benefits any business can benefit from.

Business Problem

Lewis Stores had an aging mail server in need of an upgrade. At the same time, they sought to increase collaboration amongst employees to increase productivity, increase data security with the increase of ransomware attacks globally, and decrease CAPEX, all while ensuring business continuity.

The Solution

The recommendation by Crimson Line to solve this one problem within the Lewis Stores ICT environment, was Office 365 as it met all the requirements.

Process

Through consultation with Lewis Stores’ contracted service provider and Lewis Stores’ management, Crimson Line was able to define “the WHY, WHAT and WHO” to ensure the best cloud strategy was implemented. The WHY considers the motivations for the business, applications used, technology needs, process management and governance requirements. The WHAT ensures that each of the afore-mentioned is done with optimization in mind. The WHO considers what impact will be seen during and after the process by users and clients.

Deliverables

Office 365 readiness assessment

Hybrid Exchange Migration to Office 365

Technical training of contracted service provider to manage the Hybrid Exchange

Drive user adoption through workshops

Key Customer Benefits

  • Scalable solution
  • Increased reliability
  • Reduced local server footprint
  • Reduced IT cost through eliminating server maintenance
  • No downtime during migration
  • User adoption through training