Contract Us was working with a sister company and shared both on-premise software and servers with the other company. The decision was made to separate the IT infrastructure of the two businesses, and it was agreed that the best approach was to move the Contract Us IT infrastructure to the cloud.
Microsoft Azure was always the main contender for the new cloud environment, as all of the existing IT infrastructures was setup in Microsoft.
Contract Us decided to work with Azure specialists, Compete366 as they liked the approach they took of working in tandem with the team at Contract Us, providing support and helping to build their in-house expertise.
As Ian Alexander, Business Analyst explains:
“The other companies that we considered using for this project were too hands off to in their approach to give us the confidence that we could manage the migration.”
The existing on-premise set up at Contract Us, had the team using an Access app on their PCs which connected to a SQL Server database on a physical server. The SQL database ingested other data from other sources and an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) process ingested and manipulated the data to allow for the detailed transactional audits to be completed.
Compete366 architected an Azure solution for Contract Us to replace this set up. They were also provided with detailed instructions on how to set up the Azure solution, how to migrate their data, and provided with assistance if they struggled with any particular aspects of the implementation.
The solution uses Azure SQL Database (Platform as a Service) for the back-end processing, which means that there is no server to manage. Another part of the solution provided was the Azure Data Factory which handles the data ingestion and manipulation.
The existing Access App exchanges a lot of information with the back-end SQL database, so it was essential to provide a good connection to it. This was achieved by using Azure WVD with the Access App on it and publishing it as a Remote Application. This means that the Access App resides on the same Azure Virtual Network as the SQL back-end, ensuring a very fast low latency connection.
As far as the users are concerned, the Access App is still available to them from their PC, and they simply double click on it to open. It is in fact a remote app running on an Azure WVD session and they can access this securely over the internet from wherever they are.
From a management perspective, they can simply use the Azure Portal single interface to deploy and manage virtual desktops and apps, assign users and have access to monitoring and diagnostics.
The cloud infrastructure project was initiated before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the timing could not have been better to move to the Azure solution. During lockdown, there would have been major challenges with access to the on-premise systems. However, with the Azure cloud infrastructure all set up, the team was able to continue working throughout. And now, as team members return to work, or choose to continue working from home, they can access all of their business systems completely securely, with the same user experience, from wherever they are.
Ian Alexander, Business Analyst comments:
“We found the team at Compete366 very approachable, and very responsive to requests, we would be happy to recommend them to anyone looking to move to Azure WVD infrastructure”.
Contract Us is a growing business, and as new people join the team, the infrastructure can scale flexibly to easily include new users and support their IT requirements.
All team members have easy access to the core business systems, from wherever they are, and these systems are critical to the business operations.
The new Azure infrastructure has provided much better reliability, as the demand for on-premise processing time was difficult to meet with the previous IT set up. Contract Us have found that with the new Azure cloud infrastructure, there is no need to constrain working process to alleviate demand on the servers.
Now that Contact Us is set up with a secure, reliable and scalable cloud infrastructure with Azure, then can press on with future plans to investigate using AI within their cloud infrastructure to support the company’s own data mining algorithm, and further enhance the service they provide to their clients.
Contract Us is a team of specialist auditors that work in the field of Recovery Audit.
With their in-depth experience of commercial environments, they work alongside Procurement and Finance teams to identify for missing and/or lost transactions. Much of this work is automated using specialist data mining techniques, analysing a high volume of transactions to look for anomalies. Contract Us provides its expertise to some of the UK’s largest companies.