Dominic Sargent, Director of Technology at CXC, tells Intelligent CIO about the company’s IT transformation journey with Tecala over the past couple of years, facilitating the company to optimize its technology environment and user experience.
Established in 1992, contingent workforce management company CXC has grown to become one of the largest operators in the sector. With a presence in more than 50 countries, CXC helps companies engage and manage contractors and casual staff by assisting with everything from onboarding and invoicing to payroll and risk compliance.
Scalability through improved global support
Until about eight years ago, CXC operated as a network of offices in different markets around the world. A decision was then taken to conduct a management buyout and bring the Australian and New Zealand offices under the same corporate umbrella. About four years later, that umbrella was extended worldwide with all remaining offices becoming wholly owned operations.
CXC’s Director of Technology, Dominic Sargent, said at that point the company increased its focus on consolidating, streamlining and standardizing the underlying Information Technology infrastructure.
“This was when we became aware of the limitations of our existing technology partner who we had been working with for more than 10 years,” he said. “We decided it was time to find an alternative which was better placed to meet our requirements for a modern workplace and leading IT infrastructure that could scale over time and provide robust security for an ever-present cyberthreat landscape.”
After conducting a thorough assessment, a decision was made in January 2019 to embark on a consulting engagement with Tecala to leverage its standard approach to aligning technology with CXC’s overall goals for global growth in the years ahead.
A key part of the overall strategy was building out a public cloud security roadmap which concentrated on tightening security measures across the business. This was then followed by on-going consulting to provide CXC with a future IT plan, which included the migration to Tecala’s cloud and managed services.
The agreement also covered day-to-day IT support for all offices and staff together with access to strategic advice and change management to enable a smooth transition for new solution deployments and assistance with future planning.
The relationship went ‘live’ in July 2019 when Tecala took over responsibility for centralized 24/7 helpdesk support and was also tasked with streamlining and standardizing infrastructure support and developing a standard operating environment that could scale with remote access and reporting capabilities.
Work also began on a series of company-wide IT projects.
Security in the cloud
As the cyber-crime industry continued to flourish, it became crucial for CXC to provide secure access across multiple locations. The initial consulting engagement, building out a public cloud security roadmap, emphasized the tightening of security measures across the business. This flowed into a future state roadmap which included migration to Tecala cloud and managed services.
Change management for identity-based access
To provide breach protection through superior identity-based access, including Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), Tecala worked with CXC to complete an Azure Active Directory-based single-sign-on deployment across the company.
The project was significantly enhanced by Tecala’s change-management program, developed to ensure a smooth transition without disruption to staff. The process involved ensuring that staff in all offices were aware of updates that were being made and how this might impact them. The training and readiness component ensured that staff had secure remote access and understood the benefits of Disaster Recovery-as-a-service.
“The deployment was then fully completed in just three weeks. It involved the replacement of our legacy identity management platform and a shift to the new Microsoft alternative. The result has been the elimination of passwords and the introduction of identity-based security,” said Sargent.
“We have already seen a number of attacks that have been thwarted by the SSO system and so it’s already proven to be a significant upgrade for the company.”
The project has also improved the user experience for all staff. Everyone can now log into their device and have access to all the corporate IT resources they require without the need for multiple logins and passwords.
Streamlining and standardizing infrastructure for the modern workplace
Overcoming the challenge of shadow IT
Another challenge that Tecala helped CXC to overcome was a proliferation of shadow IT across global offices. Because many offices had been operating relatively independently for many years, they had invested in a range of different hardware, software and services.
“We had no oversight of exactly what was in place and whether it was being updated and patched,” said Sargent. “Working with Tecala this situation has now been resolved and we now benefit from a standard operating environment across the company.”
Improving user experience
Developing a standard operating environment that could scale and enable remote access and reporting capabilities was an initial priority. Tecala completed a comprehensive refresh of the networks across the three company offices in Australia, one in New Zealand and another in the Philippines.
The disparate legacy system was unable to provide remote management or reporting. Consequently, Tecala’s rollout of a centrally managed infrastructure and certificate-based access system “enabled us to do away with passwords and significantly increased security for all staff,” said Sargent.
Strategic technology support
As part of the strategic partnership, the two organizations come together each quarter for a strategy workshop. The consensus that is achieved in this forum facilitates an on-going optimization of the environment to support CXC’s growth plans.
“These strategy workshops enhance our ability to think beyond today,” he said. “We work together to understand emerging technologies and, critically, assess how they might support and drive our business strategy. Tecala continues to challenge the status quo and, together, we ensure the IT roadmap stays current.”
Future objectives enablement
Although much has been achieved during its relationship with Tecala, CXC still has a range of IT projects yet to complete.
Sargent said plans include finding ways to further improve collaboration and standardization, and the deployment of a fully managed hardware solution which will enable full configuration for new devices and staff members anywhere in the world.
He said: “Once this is operational, staff members globally will be able to purchase a new device and, when they first log on to our infrastructure, that device will be fully configured with our standard operating environment and applications. This will happen without the need for any hands-on attention by either our internal IT team or Tecala.”
Sargent said CXC recently re-signed with Tecala and extended its contract to continue to optimize CXC’s technology environment and user experience.
“When it comes to our IT infrastructure, Tecala has really changed the game for us,” he said. “We now have consistent, 24-hour support that can assist our company around the world. What’s more, we are confident that we are keeping abreast of technology advancements that will support our business outcomes. I’m confident they will remain not just a provider, but a true partner into the future.”Click below to share this article