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Case study - Connective Services

ConnectiveBusiness

  • Mortgage aggregator
  • PCs: 25
  • Locations: 4

Challenge

Connective needed a better way to manage IT support for the company’s 25 staff members. Managing IT internally was taking up inordinate amounts of time for senior principals in the company. Connective realised that reactive day-to-day IT problem solving wasn’t addressing the big picture strategic needs of the business.

Solution

Connective partnered with Combo to provide IT support for desktop and laptop computers and to overhaul the company’s strategic approach to IT. Combo also introduced server virtualisation to provide much more efficient and flexible use of existing servers.

Results

Each staff member now has a Combo support sticker on their computer and can ring direct for immediate IT support. Server virtualisation, strategic management of IT infrastructure, and responsive support mean that IT now actively supports business growth rather than just ‘hanging in there by good luck.’

Connective

Connective Services is an independently-owned Australian mortgage broker services network. Connective provides services to lenders and over 1060 mortgage brokers nationwide.

By giving mortgage brokers access to a complete suite of lending products and a comprehensive range of software tools and support services, Connective enables each Broker to better service their clients and maximise profitability.

While staff numbers are low, the business is large and growing. Connective ranked 24th in the 2009 BRW Fast 100 list of rapidly growing companies. With over $800 million in new loans written each month and trailing commissions to be calculated and reported for an ever-growing loan portfolio, a robust IT infrastructure is critical to manage the huge volumes of data that drive the business.

The business problem

Connective develops a suite of software tools for mortgage brokers. With a number of software developers on staff, Connective is a technology-savvy organisation. Despite this, like many small growing companies, no-one was dedicated to managing internal IT resources. “Looking back now, we recognise that we were managing IT more reactively than proactively,” says Glenn Lees, Principal at Connective Services.

“We knew enough to be able to set up a new server when we needed new storage capacity, but we never had time to focus on the big picture IT issues. Nothing major did go wrong at the time, but we began to realise that we weren’t really using IT to drive the business forward. We recognised that we needed to be much more strategic.”

“We began to look for an IT partner that could provide responsive desktop support for our internal users and strategic support to our management team on company IT infrastructure.”

Partnering with Combo

“We considered a range of providers but were horrified by the open-ended proposals,” says Glenn Lees. “Combo stood out because they put themselves on the line just like we do with our mortgage broker customers.” “Combo receives a fixed annual support fee per computer, regardless of how many support calls are required to keep users up and running. It means that the onus is on Combo to ensure that everything runs smoothly. The model was a deciding factor for us.”

“Staff members call the Combo support team if they have an issue. The vast majority of calls are resolved remotely during the call. I only hear about it later in Combo’s regular reporting. Users are happy and it’s freed up so much more of my time to focus on strategic issues.”

Connective desktop computers operate in a Microsoft Windows environment. To support the company’s internal software development team and to deliver web-based products and services to mortgage brokers, Connective maintained six servers with MySQL databases, Java, JBoss and Adobe Flex software. Some servers were underutilised while others were reaching capacity.

“We were going to buy more servers, but Combo recommended a server virtualisation solution which has enabled us to pool the capacity of all of our physical servers,” says Glenn Lees.

Business benefits for Connective

“The flexibility that virtualising our servers provided has been a fantastic change for us,” continues Glenn Lees.

“Now we can add or remove virtual servers at any time without impacting our business operations. It has also provided a significant capital saving because pooling storage across all of our servers takes advantage of previously under-utilised capacity and avoids the need for unnecessary additional servers.”

“Our users love the Combo relationship because the Combo team is always available, they genuinely care about the people on the ground and if there’s a problem they fix it fast”.

“To be honest though, as a Principal of the company, I love the partnership with Combo because I can relax in the knowledge that I ‘have the IT box ticked’.”

“I used to worry all the time about what could go wrong and what IT issues our continued growth might throw up. Now with Combo they understand where our business is headed and they come to me with advice before I even think to ask. That real partnership leaves me free to focus on confidently growing the business.”