How a strategic IT audit took a client’s vision and made it a reality – bringing new energy throughout the process.
Location: UK, Channel Islands (International portfolio)
Year founded: 1995
Stenprop is a listed property company with assets in the UK, Germany and Switzerland. Their vision is to be the leading UK multi-let industrial business in the UK and as such, using cutting edge technology to revolutionise the multi-let industrial market.
Stenprop believe that technology will provide potential to leverage existing landlord-tenant relationships for the benefit of all parties. So the choice of IT partner was far greater than choosing a supplier – it was a decision of strategic importance.
Following their listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and in anticipation of their listing on the London Stock Exchange, Stenprop approached Stellarise in 2017 to help them assess how they could separate their IT infrastructure from their former holding company, enabling them to operate independently on their own platform with the freedom to move office with minimal business disruption.
In addition to this, Stenprop were keen to increase their business agility by embracing cloud technologies, with the flexibility and customisation capabilities that come with cloud-based software systems, both off the shelf and custom made. This would increase business productivity and security and deliver the competitive edge that they desired.
With different software, all supported by different people in various places, the project inevitably took on many strands – all of which were managed by Stellarise.
“Stellarise had to co-ordinate it all, speak to a number of suppliers, so their project management skills and ability were first class. Nothing was ever a problem – lots of problems came up but Stellarise were always very solutions driven, no matter what problems we encountered. That was very valuable – they strengthened our team and our ability to get things done. What’s more, it takes someone with good IT skills but also good explanatory skills to turn technical problems into a language that a non-technical person can understand.”
With these requirements in mind, Stellarise conducted a thorough analysis of Stenprop’s infrastructure, identifying any potential challenges and risks and subsequently providing more modern and robust systems, with seamless migrations to minimise downtime and to benefit the company from the latest technology. Stellarise:
Created a resilient, secure network with a new high-speed internet line and physical network connectivity
Provided Windows Networking both on their premises and also enabling remote access via the Microsoft Azure Cloud
Migrated email to the reliable and secure Microsoft Office 365
Migrated all existing on-premises business systems to the Microsoft Azure cloud
Implemented a cloud hosted telephony solution.
The result means Stenprop can now be as productive out in the field, as in the office.
“The Stellarise process keeps things very simple, that’s the key attribute. What they do is very complex but it’s very clear, you know what you are going to get, they deliver in a very straightforward way. They are highly competent in areas where we are not so it has enabled us to get to a technically capable solution. They condense things down and explain them back to you in a way that makes sense. They make you understand what they are doing and why.”
As well as enabling the technology that Stenprop need and integrating their systems to suit the UK business, with the associated cost and time savings, there have been other, perhaps unexpected results. The initial IT brief has been met, but Stenprop view Stellarise as a strategic partner – with on-going benefits.
“The whole strategic guidance – that’s not what you’d expect. They ask us why and what we are trying to achieve. They question, suggest different directions so we get bigger picture thinking than we might have expected. They know what we should be doing now that will stand us in better stead further down the line. It’s a relationship, not a service. And they are also very good at delivering what we’d expect them to deliver – combining both is a key skill.”
And there’s been a cultural change in terms of IT too. What was previously a ‘black box’ for Stenprop has been unlocked and become a key part of their business strategy.
“The absolute key attribute is that Stellarise bring a can-do attitude. They always find a solution . The cost savings are very important to us, but the real benefit is much greater than that; it’s the ‘can do’ rather than the ‘can’t do’ attitude. For us, this has been very important – it’s enabled us to be able to scale our platform. We can use technology to manage what we do far more efficiently and reach the goals we want to.”