case study: SJS Finance
Could Assembly provide a unified telecoms infrastructure & support solution for a global investment company?
The Challenge: SJS Finance is a real estate investment & portfolio management company specialising with circa 50 staff across 4 offices in the UK & Africa. With a central London headquarters, SJS has achieved substantial year-on-year growth and has ambitious growth plans in central & eastern Europe.
As a global company operating in a fast-moving, highly competitive market, SJS had always understood the important role that IT played in maintaining their competitive edge. With key staff in South Africa & Zimbabwe and a head office in London, the management team knew that a stable, secure telecommunications platform and IT infrastructure was essential to their continued success and future growth.
SJS Finance had a complex IT & telecoms solution that had no central management and had developed on a piecemeal basis over several years. Procurement had been on a local basis at each of the four sites, resulting in a hugely inefficient mix of hardware, software, services and support selections which meant vendor management was an operational nightmare and internal service delivery was highly problematic.
The Process: The management team decided that in order to grow the business further they required a unified, stable & scalable IT infrastructure and telecoms platform that delivered a consistent, high quality user experience & enabled staff to collaborate effectively with colleagues and clients across the globe. Assembly's proposed solution was to adopt a two phase approach to consolidate and centralise SJS’s disparate third party services & map and rationalise it’s physical IT infrastructure.
Phase one involved the transition of day-to-day IT support services for the 50 users and 12 servers from multiple providers to Assembly’s dedicated support team. Assembly’s extensive global partner network meant that local support for on-site requirements was sourced from one of our existing African partners. During this process the Assembly solutions consultants began scoping and designing a more streamlined, unified IT infrastructure to be hosted and centrally managed in the UK.
Phase two focused on a root-and-branch review of all SJS’s third party services. This included the technical & commercial negotiation of improved connectivity solutions, SIP and voice/video services. The migration of user/network support services was implemented whilst Assembly maintained a working relationship with the incumbent support providers to ensure a smooth transition. Core systems were moved to Assembly’s London data centre, and a hosted desktop solution was rolled out across the company.
The Results: SJS now has a scalable IT infrastructure network which is highly secure and downtime is a thing of the past. The upgraded connectivity at all sites, combined with the alignment of staff devices with the new Unified Communications platform has enabled a collaboration culture that means colleagues can work with each other and clients in real-time across different time zones.
Placing SJS’s core infrastructure in Assembly’s data centre has minimised SJS’s capital expenditure commitments for future budgeting & planning. This has also reduced the total cost of ownership across their IT estate and licensing costs have reduced by circa £20k annually.
The company has a unified support & services function for the first time, and this has given SJS a single strategic relationship to manage, whereas previously there were dozens. This has greatly improved their own operational efficiency and provided simple, clear & actionable BI, enabling better-informed strategic decision-making as they enter their next phase of growth.
“We needed to find a partner that could not only give us strategic technology advice but also then deliver the agreed solution. From our first meeting we had absolute confidence in Gerard & the team, and we are delighted with the results.”
MD, SJS Finance