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Berry Street modernizes IT and prepares for new era of work with blueAPACHE

Berry Street modernizes IT and prepares for new era of work with blueAPACHE

AustralasiaCase StudiesTop Stories

Berry Street, one of Australia’s largest independent family service organizations, is utilizing blueAPACHE’s emPOWER managed services after it needed to be taken from an end-of-life environment to a modern one that would meet its service delivery needs. 

For over 140 years, Berry Street has provided services to children, young people and families. It is one of Australia’s largest independent family service organizations, offering a diverse range of programs to around 35,000 people in Victoria each year. Services include family violence support, education services, trauma services, out-of-home care, and parenting and family services.

The challenge

As a not-for-profit (NFP) organization, Berry Street was focused on gaining maximum value from its IT assets. Dealing with legacy IT infrastructure, Berry Street found that staff members were not getting effective technical support and the service itself had become unreliable.

The requirement to modernize became urgent in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, when lockdowns meant that the organization’s 1,400 staff members needed the ability to work from home. Berry Street’s existing systems did not support remote working reliably and there was a risk that critical services to its clients could be impacted.
The IT users at Berry Street cover a wide gamut of tech-savviness, with most users heavily focused on providing support services for their clients rather than on working with IT systems. Therefore, the lack of responsive help desk support was a key issue for the organization.

Neelu Kaur, Head of IT, Berry Street

Neelu Kaur, Head of IT, Berry Street, said: “We needed to find a managed services provider that could take us from an end-of-life environment to a modern environment that was futureproof and would meet our service delivery needs. As an organization we were looking for a partner that could also scale with our growth demands.”

Technology is a key pillar of the service that Berry Street provides, and the executive team planned to renew its investment in IT systems. As part of this strategy, Kaur was appointed to the newly created role of Head of IT. The next step was to find the right partners to help Berry Street modernize and transform.

The solution

Berry Street undertook a comprehensive request for proposal (RFP) process that ultimately revealed blueAPACHE to be the ideal managed service provider (MSP) for the organization’s needs.

Kaur said: “blueAPACHE was experienced in working with NFPs and had similar values to Berry Street, so we were confident in choosing blueAPACHE for managed services, initially encompassing help desk and infrastructure support.”
With confidence in the solution’s alignment, Berry Street began building a migration path to blueAPACHE’s emPOWER managed services catalogue.

Kaur said: “The transition began in March 2020, and the Coronavirus pandemic hit almost immediately, requiring Berry Street to provision its 1,400 staff members to work from home. blueAPACHE helped Berry Street to mobilise its team to work from home and delivered the transition on time and within budget, despite the pandemic disruptions.

“While the relationship started as a managed services arrangement, Berry Street quickly wanted to move into a modernization initiative, continually improving our solutions and ensuring we had the services we needed. In this, Berry Street regarded blueAPACHE as an extension of our team and a true partner, not just an MSP.”

The benefits

Since transitioning to blueAPACHE’s emPOWER managed services, Berry Street has achieved the improvements it was looking for in terms of help desk effectiveness and environment modernization.

Kaur said: “Berry Street is an NFP with diverse tech-savviness among users. blueAPACHE understood this very well and knew how to support these users. Our staff love the blueAPACHE help desk team where they know everyone by name. Most MSPs don’t have a dedicated support team for clients but blueAPACHE gave us a dedicated team of service desk agents who know our users and environment.

“This saves a lot of time because the blueAPACHE team understands the context behind help desk requests and can resolve issues and support our users more effectively.”

When it came to modernizing the technology environment, blueAPACHE also understood that Berry Street needed to achieve maximum value from its investments, choosing the most efficient and effective solutions within a budget. The blueAPACHE team works with the organization to determine the most cost-effective and sensible solution for each business need.

Kaur said: “Berry Street relied heavily on blueAPACHE to help understand what was required from a modernization perspective not just to modernize the services but also to ensure that the infrastructure behind those services was right. We worked together to design the new solution architecture and define the future state that the organization needed to get to.

“Together with blueAPACHE, we designed a transformation roadmap including costs and how to achieve our desired future state. This let the IT team present a compelling business case to the board, securing the resources we needed for this project, with the primary focus on de-risking and stabilising IT.”

Following the managed services implementation, Berry Street began investigating a solution to replace its end-of-life, on-premises voice solution. After another rigorous RFP process, blueAPACHE was again chosen to assist with the move to a new provider. blueAPACHE is now in the process of migrating Berry Street to a Microsoft Teams telephony solution.

Kaur said: “Our services would be severely impacted without this IT transition. It would have been impossible to provision staff members to work from home during COVID-19 and even face-to-face services would have suffered due to lack of timely access to essential information.

“The relationship with blueAPACHE has been instrumental in Berry Street’s ability to continue providing these essential services to our clients, especially during the heightened needs created by the pandemic.

“Almost all Berry Street staff members said they were very happy with the support they received from blueAPACHE during this time, which is an outstanding result. blueAPACHE has since assisted us with a return-to-office program. Throughout the disruption, blueAPACHE remained focused and collaborative, and the intimacy the team has created with our users has made it possible to mobilise projects very quickly.

“At Berry Street, we look forward to continuing our strong relationship with blueAPACHE so we can continue to deliver important services to help Victorian families through tough times. Whether staff members are working in the office or remotely, they can continue to provide services such as the family violence support line and keeping children connected to their education. Doing this in partnership with blueAPACHE has been extremely fulfillling.”

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