CRN Impact Awards: First Focus enables Western Australian Institute of Sport to operate with remote staff

Sydney managed services provider First Focus IT has been named a finalist in the 2021 CRN Impact Awards under the Modernising Infrastructure category, with its work with the Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS).

First Focus was tapped by WAIS for an infrastructure refresh, replacing its aging on-premises Citrix environment, legacy servers and thin clients that had once enabled efficient workflows, but has turned into barriers to efficiency and collaboration as WAIS grew.

WAIS supports professional athletes with training, facilities and programs that help them compete at the highest levels. Its staff numbers grew from 10 full-timers to a team of 75, prompting an image overhaul and a new office.

“Our colleagues in the [Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra] and abroad were using tools like Microsoft 365 to collaborate and share work processes,” WAIS corporate services manager Damien Fitzpatrick said. “WAIS was using thin clients connected to assets on a local network.”

First Focus migrated WAIS to its private cloud offering to replace the infrastructure, and also brought in Microsoft 365, OneDrive and SharePoint. The MSP also helped set up emails, verify signatures, deploy firewalls, planned cloud backups and set up a virtual private network (VPN) to secure access to data for its remote staff.

“We started the transition in April 2020. No one was in the office thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. We were all working from home. The fact that it was all done during this period is doubly impressive,” Fitzpatrick said.

The upgrade hit a milestone at the end of July 2020 when WAIS finished its onboarding process and migrated all its managed services, and finally completed in February 2021 as both the hardware replacement project and the decommissioning process were completed.

“First Focus brings a level of responsiveness and personalisation we didn’t know we needed. We get quarterly business reviews full of forward-looking projects. They’re quite helpful from an ICT perspective, and a big improvement on our expectations,” Fitzpatrick said.

“I can be confident that daily stuff is just taken care of – no need to intervene. Now I can look forward. Without worrying about ICT, we’re free to do more interesting things. We’ve got the base in place – it’s set and forget.”Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.

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