Expert Azure and Teams Advice  – Wesser Case Study

Wesser offers bespoke fundraising services to a range of leading charities. This case study explains how Wesser migrated all of its workloads to M365 and Azure and achieved transition to the Cloud.

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With over 50 years of experience Wesser offers its charity partners a range of bespoke fundraising services designed to help organisations meet their fundraising income and communication needs.

Wesser’s “all-in-one” fundraising programme consists of face-to-face supporter recruitment, telephone fundraising and supporter administration.  They are also experts in supporter relations management, data validation and data processing through their in-house BACs bureau.

The Requirement

With several leading charities as clients, Wesser were increasingly being asked to provide data storage in an ISO27001 compliant datacentre. Wesser manages a high volume of sensitive donor contact and financial data, so it was imperative that their IT solution was fully compliant in order to allow them to offer their clients the highest level of service.  This would also allow them to support more charities in the future, safe in the knowledge that their infrastructure is up to scratch.

Wesser had all of their infrastructure on premise, using Exchange Server, application servers, SQL database servers, and file servers.  So they took the decision to move their infrastructure to the cloud, using best-in-class solutions from Microsoft.

The Solution

Wesser selected Microsoft Gold Partner, Compete366 to help them with the transition to the cloud.  Compete366 worked with Wesser’s IT Software Developer, Craig Stallwood to provide support in migrating all of their workloads to O365 and Azure and achieve the transition to the Cloud.

As Craig explains:

The technical consultant from Compete366 provided excellent design and architecture advice and guidance to help us transition our entire IT infrastructure over to Microsoft Azure. With a competent IT team in-house at Wesser, we didn’t need a Managed Service, but it was extremely helpful to have the advice available to us from Compete366 when we needed it.”

 The Azure cloud infrastructure has allowed Wesser to take control of costs as usage and demand fluctuate, and it will continue to allow them to cater for expected peaks and troughs or seasonal demand.  In addition, the Azure infrastructure will allow the team to be ready to service new projects, teams and contracts that need more bandwidth and capacity

With the outbreak of Covid-19, the decision to move Wesser’s IT infrastructure to the cloud has proved to be very timely.  Obviously, Covid-19 has had an impact on face-to-face fundraising activities, which are currently on hold.  However, making good use of Microsoft Teams has enabled the core team to continue working remotely, without any disruption in working patterns.  And they have taken this time to work on some outstanding projects and are making good use of the collaboration tools within Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint, such as holding instant video meetings, one-to-one meetings, online chat, sharing screens and working on shared documents.

Cloud Telephony

The team at Wesser are already using the integrated telephony in Teams for in-house calls.  When they are able to, they are looking to expand their usage outside of the organisation with the add-on M365 Business Voice Phone system.  This will provide the same quality phone experience for external calls too and allow them to replace the softphones from their current telecoms supplier.  They have already run some initial trials using Microsoft Teams for telephony, and are confident that this will work for them when the team are able to return to full operations.

The Future

As the organisation returns to full strength, after the Covid-19 outbreak, Wesser is looking to make use of the document management features in Sharepoint to allow better control of documents, metadata, and tagging.  This will be matched with an increased use of Teams, and integration of the two, allowing for better collaboration across the organisation.

Wesser plans to make more use of Azure – and particularly the Azure Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings once the organisation is able to operate as usual.  Craig Stallwood is also considering the migration of web services to a more scalable and resilient containerised development, using Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS).  AKS offers a highly available, secure and fully managed Kubernetes service which makes deploying and managing containerised applications easy.

Using the globally recognised brand of Azure gives Wesser’s charity partners the confidence that their hosting is in safe hands. As Oliver Steele, Marketing and Development Manager for Wesser comments

Compete366 have been very helpful and quick to respond.  We have a good IT team in-house, but the consulting support they have provided has helped us to choose the best options for us.  This means we are able to work in partnership with more charitable organisations in the future, safe in the knowledge that our IT infrastructure is built on a safe, secure and scalable platform that is fit for purpose.”

If you’d like to find out how we can help you migrate to Azure and M365, simply get in touch. We’ll be pleased to help.

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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.”

“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”

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”

Darrell Cann, Managing Director, APEX
Jon Milward

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