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Calibre One Case Study

Somerville Community Services

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About

Since 1965, Somerville Community Services has provided community-based services such as financial counselling and housing to Territorians, including families and those with disabilities. It is named in honour of Margaret Somerville MBE (1912–2014) who evacuated children from Croker Island to Sydney in 1942. On her return with the children after the war, she continued as house mother and care giver until 1965. The organisation that employs more than 300 staff and volunteers with presences in Alice Springs, Katherine, Palmerston and Darwin helps 65 NDIS participants to live independently and manages over 20residential care homes.

With Microsoft and Telstra, Somerville Community Services set to expand services to NT’s most vulnerable people

Challenge

By 2019, Somerville’s disparate legacy, on-prem ICT infrastructure dispersed over three administrative sites and 15 residential care homes fell behind its ambitions to serve vulnerable Territorians. Its business-wide digital transformation program consumed the capacity of its small ICT and Systems Administration Team. Somerville also needed to boost its cybersecurity to comply with Commonwealth laws and protect the information of its vulnerable clients while providing greater insights to caregivers and families.

Solution

Calibre One digitally transformed Somerville’s labour-intensive, manual and paper-based systems to the public cloud supported by its own robust managed services, trusted cybersecurity and responsive service-level agreement. It replaced Somerville’s on-prem Small Business Server 2008 with cloud solutions for e-mail (Microsoft Exchange Online), backup, and mobile device management (Endpoint Manager) to support BYOD. While migrating legacy SIP and PSTN phone numbers to the Microsoft Teams-based Telstra Calling for 365 platform, Calibre One unified Somerville’s three phone systems to provide softphones and Poly desktops and handsets. Cybersecurity (Microsoft Defender) and single sign-on (Azure AD Premium) was baked in to comply with Commonwealth mandates and protect Somerville’s vulnerable clients. Triple-redundant, enterprise-grade fibre replaced patchwork domestic internet services at administrative sites to ensure the growing social enterprise could serve its customers well into the future. A comprehensive, organisation-wide change program retrained and redeployed staff to make the most of its new capabilities.

Benefits

  • Improves service delivery as staff spend more time serving their vulnerable clients and less time on manual paperwork.
  • Enables Somerville to transform its business model and grow rapidly to address social services gaps in NT.
  • Empowers real-time orchestration as staff access corporate services wherever they are on any device.
  • Speeds responsiveness to business demands through unified and managed ICT platform that improves visibility and strategic planning.
  • Protects vulnerable clients’ information and complies with Commonwealth mandates through provision of managed, enterprise-grade cybersecurity.
  • Lifts resiliency via triple-redundant data links to the public cloud where applications and data are accessed and stored.
  • Transforms cloud delivery for anywhere, anytime access by authorised staff to applications and data.
  • Unifies voice and telecommunications by replacing three disparate systems that were difficult to manage with a single and fully integrated cloud platform.
  • Simplifies headset and handset management by providing softphones to most staff and Poly handsets and desksets as required.
  • Cuts costs and simplifies financial management through infrastructure standardisation and Calibre One managed services.
  • Boosts productivity by empowering staff to access data when they want wherever they are on whatever device they have.
  • Boosts potential for innovation as staff trained in the new systems are freer to collaborate on delivering new services wherever they are.
  • Prepares Somerville to collect real-time data to measure performance, outputs and outcomes.

Public cloud transforms fast-growing NT social enterprise to improve the lives of vulnerable Territorians

Growing social enterprise unifies its platforms in the cloud to better serve vulnerable Territorians

Extreme climate and weather events, vast distances and an itinerant labour pool make operating in Australia’s top end one of the most complex enterprises in the world.

They are challenges that Territorians such as Jannie Bacus, Manager ICT and Systems Administration for Somerville Community Services, take in their stride.

But Bacus called time on aging on-prem infrastructure when she evacuated Somerville’s Small Business Server 2008 server during Severe Tropical Cyclone Marcus in March 2018 — the strongest cyclone to hit Darwin in 45 years at a bill of $A75 million. While there were no casualties, Marcus felled 430 power lines that blacked-out 26,500 properties.

“We lost power in the office for a week, so I had to carry that server to our other office — and it wouldn’t turn on,” says Bacus.

It became clear to senior management of the rapidly growing social enterprise that public cloud’s resiliency had become imperative.

“I restored it to a virtual server and got us up and running but it was very much a, ‘Never again!’ moment for me.”

Bacus says that since going to cloud with an Office 365 collaboration solution, infrastructure upgrades and managed services and cybersecurity provided by NT’s leading ICT services provider, Calibre One, she has confidence that Somerville will never again be caught short.

“When the server restore failed the first time, I remember sitting on this little stool in the server room and my ears were getting hot from the stress. That’s never happened to me before and, thankfully, hasn’t happened since.”

Silver lining to STC Marcus’s destructive storm clouds

Following a strategic review and new Commonwealth funding coming on stream, Somerville partnered with Calibre One to digitally transform its operations. Calibre One would provide cloud migration, collaboration, telecommunications and managed services. Calibre One also led fibre internet to Somerville’s three administration sites and Telstra triple-redundant paths out of the Territory so Somerville would never again lose connectivity with the rest of the world or its people.

“Providing enterprise fibre services was a big underpinning,” says Calibre One CEO, Darren Gore. “Everything before was standard business or consumer NBN service.”

Somerville now has dedicated bandwidth and 24/7 services.

“There have been many outages elsewhere in the Territory since we installed Somerville’s network but with Telstra they now have redundant fibre paths,” he says.

By end 2019, Bacus’s team of three and Calibre One implemented Office 365 — for some of Somerville’s 200 staff it was the first time they had a work email account. And as Covid–19 crippled global supply chains, sent billions into lockdown and precluded many people from visiting family in care, Somerville operated at a speed and efficiency greater than it previously experienced, Bacus says.

“Teams and video chatting had been implemented for months and no one was keen on it, and then Covid hit and, everyone was perfectly comfortable because they had to be,” says Bacus.

“It has changed the trajectory of this organisation – the project laid the foundations” for future innovation. “It’s changed people’s expectations of what they can do and their comfort levels around the new systems.”

The cultural shift for the organisation that ran on reams of paper was huge and required new, digital-first processes. Most staff had little to no access to ICT in the organisation (not even e-mail) and, with one in five employees eligible for long-service leave, there was a strong inertia through ingrained work patterns.

Concurrently, Bacus’ team was supporting the rest of the organisation on its wider digital transformation with implementation, training and mentoring. To speed and deepen acceptance, ’champions’ were appointed in different departments and localities.

somerville community services

Calibre One supports Somerville on its business model transformation as a provider of residential care homes

The ICT transformation was part of a broader digital transformation portfolio across the enterprise that underpinned Somerville’s deepening of its residential care offerings, which included:

  • A cloud client management system
  • Workforce management software
  • Accounting software as a service
  • Data analytics and business intelligence

Bacus says the tiny ICT department could not have succeeded in its own digital transformation while supporting digital transformation and business-as-usual in the broader organisation without Calibre One’s help.

“It was certainly something new to me and, In terms of project management, Calibre One was key because we had to do it in conjunction with all these other projects.”

And she credits the ICT transformation with averting a collapse of communication with frontline staff during the pandemic. Owing to the impact of Covid–19 at the start of 2020, SharePoint was added to the project scope.

“Certainly, communication with our frontline staff would have been at breaking point” without the new cloud systems, Bacus says.

“We met our immediate goals in major improvements such as communication, giving access and flexibility to staff and, longer term, we have the scale and foundation to provide tools to staff and support growth. None of that would have been possible without the solutions that Calibre One built for us.”

Connectivity solutions provided by Calibre One to Somerville Community Services

Connectivity solutions provided by Calibre One to Somerville Community Services

“Calibre One was key to our project success because we had to do it in conjunction with all these other projects at the same time.”

“Calibre One provided us with the end result we wanted. Even when we changed the goal posts and added SharePoint during the pandemic, Calibre One was flexible and understanding of our business’s constraints.”

“We met our immediate goals in major improvements such as communication, giving access and flexibility to staff and, longer term, we have the scale and foundation to provide tools to staff and support growth. None of that would have been possible without the solutions that Calibre One built for us.”
JANNIE BACUS
Manager ICT and Systems Administration, Somerville Community Services

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