Kerry’s Automotive Group (Kerry’s) is a family owned and operated business established in 1988, and one of the largest multi-franchise dealerships in the Northern Territory with more than 100 staff working from two locations in Darwin. The main showroom features new vehicles from Holden, HSV, Nissan, Honda and Mercedes Benz, as well as used cars, a service facility and spare parts and accessories. Kerry’s also owns Darwin Mazda, a Mazda franchise 10km away in the suburb of Berrimah.
With a legacy on-premise IT environment that evolved over 30 years from the different needs of its showroom salespeople and its management and administrative team, Kerry’s wanted to take advantage of the cost and operational benefits from moving its IT infrastructure and applications to the cloud.
Migration to Microsoft Office 365 generates significant cost savings and operational benefits for Kerry’s Automotive Group
One of the largest automotive dealerships in the Northern Territory needed to migrate its systems and users from ageing, on-premise infrastructure and software. The legacy environment made it difficult for IT staff to manage operations and security, it was expensive to keep
up-to-date, and was limiting the team’s ability to communicate and collaborate.
Calibre One’s project services and cloud consulting to migrate Kerry’s systems and users to Microsoft Office 365.
Calibre One migrates Kerry’s to Microsoft Office 365,
part of ongoing IT modernisation and optimisation program
Over the past few years, Kerry’s has been revamping its ICT environment with the assistance of Calibre One’s project management and services team. Kerry’s has consolidated and optimised its fixed line and mobile telecommunications under a centralised Telstra contract, with billing and services managed by Calibre One. Calibre One also replaced Kerry’s ageing PABX systems with a more cost-effective and easier to manage ShoreTel (now Mitel) IP telephony solution, and deployed WiFi with Ubiquiti access points for additional network coverage across Kerry’s showrooms.
It was the migration to Telstra’s MPLS network in 2018 that was the catalyst for Kerry’s to consider updating on-premise server infrastructure and applications to cloud-based alternatives.
“It was expensive and time-consuming for us to manage and maintain the updates and patches for our server hardware and applications, and really difficult for me to manage our infrastructure remotely when I’m travelling,” said Rakesh Savani, Group IT Manager, Kerry’s Automotive Group.
Calibre One was managing the car dealership’s transition to Telstra’s MPLS network and Internet Direct solution when Kerry’s requested a proposal to upgrade its Internet security and email environment.
Kerry’s had been running dual systems for its staff: an on-premise Microsoft Exchange server supporting Office applications, email and calendaring for 30 mainly management and office-based staff; and NetBox POP3 email accounts for its other 70 users. NetBox was also providing URL and spam filtering and firewall services. However, there was no integration between the two systems which made internal communication and collaboration difficult, IT administrators had to manage two different servers, the server and software licensing was expensive and out of date, the hardware was ageing, NetBox users were not able to access their email via their mobile phones, and managing spam volumes and security threats was a major headache.
“Calibre One recommended consolidating all of our Exchange and NetBox users and migrating them to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365. The project quote, including all the licensing fees, was really good and much more cost-effective than if we had simply upgraded our current on-premise software,” said Savani.
The migration of Kerry’s 100 users was completed successfully by Calibre One over one weekend, after ensuring the Active Directory and domain information had been consolidated and synchronised in preparation for the move.
Staff are mainly using Office 365 for email and calendaring, with IT staff also using Skype for Business for remote access into their computers when needed for support issues.
“Our users are really happy with Office 365. In the past we had to manually update all our contacts, now everything is automatically synchronised and populated via Active Directory. We’ve also seen a reduction to almost nothing on the volumes of spam our users are getting,” said Savani.
Moving to Office 365 represented a cost saving for Kerry’s of at least 55% over four years compared to replacing and supporting the existing onpremise server infrastructure and upgrading and consolidating the Microsoft Exchange and Office environment. In the past, each PC needed to have its own licensed version of Office installed. Now, Kerry’s can use the same license across multiple PCs, measured on active users, rather than devices. With only a small number of users regularly requiring access to the Office suite of applications, Kerry’s has reduced the overall number of concurrent licences it needs.
“We’ve got a true consumption-based service now, with everything charged per user per month, itemised as part of the one bill we receive from Telstra. When we have a new team member start with us, I can have them up and running with a user account, phone number and an email address in just a few minutes, and they are automatically using the most up-to-date version of the software,” said Savani.
Kerry’s users can also access their emails via their mobile phone, or from any device with an Internet connection. Kerry’s IT staff just need an Internet connection for any server administration or user support. “There’s even a mobile app I can use,” adds Savani.
To ensure secure connectivity to the multiple cloud services Kerry’s is using, Calibre One has implemented a Fortinet FortiGate firewall solution, with a service desk to monitor security and respond to any other support requests or escalations received.
“Calibre One has provided us with great advice and service for our IT environment. They have really good engineers and support services, high quality technologies and competitive pricing,” said Savani.
Kerry’s plans to continue its cloud journey, with its next project likely to see the migration of Kerry’s key documentation and files to the cloud, to be managed and accessed using a Microsoft SharePoint solution.