Blue Dot Consulting is an accountancy practice aimed at helping MDs and CEOs grow their companies successfully. Their clients are usually businesses in South West London, including Fulham, Putney and Richmond.
Founded by Michael Austin over 20 years ago, Blue Dot Consulting (BDC) is a well-established organisation with a team of expert accountants and advisers.
The Business Challenge
As with all accountancy practices, much of the advisers’ time is spent on customer sites, and so BDO had invested several years ago in a Remote Desktop IT set up. This allowed team members to work on customer sites, but still have access to the BDO file server for applications and data, simply by logging in via the Remote Desktop set up. In addition, for team members working remotely from home, they were able to access all the BDO systems and data again using the same Remote Desktop service.
As the transition took place from server-based accounting packages to SaaS cloud-based systems, it became apparent that the hosted remote desktop service was no longer essential. This was because all the accounting systems used by BDO were now available in the cloud. However, the company need a solution to store the data that was held on the file server and to make it accessible via the cloud to its team members wherever there were working.
Key project tasks were:
Analysis of existing file structure
SharePoint site structure setup
Initial data migration
Setting up of user groups and permissions
Testing and education
Verification and triage of leftover files
Post migration support
As well as the active files, BDC also had many archive files that they wanted to keep. On the advice of the Compete366 consultant, they decided not to use the storage allocation in SharePoint. Instead, the archive files were placed into a Blob Storage account in Azure which is a much more cost-effective and suitable solution for archive files.
As Michael comments “The migration project to SharePoint went really well. Once everything was set up, Compete366 simply switched everything over during a weekend and on the Monday morning, our users came in to access all the files they needed on SharePoint.”
He continues “Even though the switchover only happened a couple of months ago, we are confident that we can cease our Remote Desktop Service and file server as we have everything we need in SharePoint. On top of the ease of the project, we will definitely be saving money as SharePoint is already included with our licences, and we were spending money every month on the Remote Desktop and File Server set up that we had before.”
BDC was already using Microsoft O365 for email and other applications within its remote desktop setup, so it made sense to look at the Microsoft options available first.
SharePoint was recommended to BDC as the best solution to replace the existing file server and allow the team access to data files from wherever they were working. And the good news was that SharePoint was included in the O365 licences that BDC had already subscribed to.
Michael Austin, Founder got in touch with Microsoft to get some recommendations for a consultancy partner to work with and Compete366 was recommended and subsequently selected for the project.
As Michael explains “I had already decided that SharePoint was the right choice for our business, but I needed to work with a partner with the right expertise to hand-hold us through the project.”
Compete366 worked with BDC to create the new SharePoint environment in parallel with their existing file share environment. File data was copied rather than moved over, so that the source system and files remained unchanged.
The new SharePoint file structure included 3 SharePoint sites for Client Files, a Resource Library, and Marketing resources.
After due testing of the SharePoint environment and admin and user education took place, the final copy was done at cut-over time.
No additional ongoing costs as SharePoint licences were already included in the M365 subscription.
Cost savings will be made compared to the previous paid-for remote desktop space, file server and IT support.
As BDC now uses cloud accounting software, SharePoint provides a better way of organising their business data and storing the files.
SharePoint provides a shared space to store documents with all the files needed for a task easily accessible.
Documents stored on SharePoint can be accessed by anyone in the company—unless the administrator has limited access to a smaller group.
SharePoint allows co-workers to work simultaneously on a single document, saving previous versions, and tracking updates.
Michael is a keen advocate of the power of IT, and as an early adopter of Cloud computing, is keen to keep abreast of new developments. One area for consideration is how BDC clients can easily and securely share files online with them.
Working with Compete366
As Michael explains “Working with Compete366 on our SharePoint file migration went very smoothly – the Compete366 consultant was great and very patient with us. It was so easy to jump on a Teams meeting with them, and everything we needed to know was explained very well. The real proof of success is that 2-3 months after go-live, I can say that we have had no operational issues at all with SharePoint.”
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“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”
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Paul Coyne, Rusada
“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”
“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”
Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity
“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”
Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco
“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”
Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse
“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”
Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure
“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”