Contract Us is a team of specialist auditors that work in the field of Recovery Audit. This case study explains how Contract Us migrated its IT infrastructure to Microsoft Azure and Azure Windows Virtual Desktops.

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The Challenge

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.” 

Architecting an Azure solution

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.

Azure WVD Implementation

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 Benefits of Azure WVD

  • Azure WVD provides a highly cost-effective solution for Contract Us, as they only need to pay for virtual servers when their virtual desktops are on.
  • The complete flexibility means that the users are given full Windows10 desktops with the business applications they need.  And as the team grows or changes, they can simply increase or decrease the number of virtual desktops.
  • Contract Us no longer has any on-premise infrastructure to spend time and effort managing, and all of the team members can work from anywhere.

Flexibility during Covid-19 and beyond

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”.

The Business Benefits

Better scalability

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.

Access core systems from everywhere

All team members have easy access to the core business systems, from wherever they are, and these systems are critical to the business operations.

Improved Reliability

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.

Next Steps

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.

About Contract Us

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.

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

Contact our Microsoft specialists

Phone or email us to find out more – or book a free, no-obligation call with our technical consultants using the contact form.

“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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