Life’s busy enough in any sector of the hospitality industry without having the constant worry of data security and an unreliable IT set-up.
Our team at HostUs can take the worry away. It starts with an audit of your current system followed by a menu of options for the way forward.
You order. We set it up and run it. Hassle-free technology at last.
CASE STUDY: WEST ADELAIDE FOOTBALL CLUB
At a glance:
- State-league sporting club with wide range of departments and users from physios to fans plus a gaming opeation.
- The issues: an aging IT system and manual back-ups plus the need for management to see all facets of the operation while users kept siloed.
- Add a need for offsite log-ins when team travelled plus of course, security and cost efficiency.
- HostUs deployed the old system to purely gather and store the round’s game videos.
- New system with an onsite server plus automatic offsite backups, secure remote log-ins plus updated software for all users.
- The old equipment was utilised rather than mothballed.
- All processes centralised with management overview available.
- The system travels with the team.
- No maintenance costs on data hardware.
- New telephone system to come.
West Adelaide Football Club is an Australian Rules Football Club in the South Australian National Football League. The team, based in Richmond Oval, is commonly referred to as both The Bloods and the Westies.
The club plays at the professional level, with a full slate of divisions and departments that is expected of such – players, trainers, coaches, physiotherapists, youth leagues, sponsorships, ticket sales, fan clubs / fan base, and a full front office. It’s an involved operation.
In addition, the club also operates a licensed gaming (video slot machine) venue, including bar and bistro.
Like many commercial entities, the organization’s IT infrastructure was aging, with its day to day performance clearly dictating that it was nearing the end of its life cycle. Many of the functions were completely independent of the other (i.e., gaming separate from ticket sales), which made sense from an operation standpoint, but also meant a lot of legwork for management to see the larger/complete picture. In addition, the legacy system did not allow for offsite work – you had to be in the office to do anything.
Backups were handled manually, with someone backing up to, and then taking home, a flash drive. This was very time consuming, and not very secure. Nor was it reliable (as only one employee knew all of the steps required).
These issues coincided with the arrival of new leadership, who looked to upgrade and improve the complete IT infrastructure.
The Wish List
The organization wanted to not just improve overall IT performance, but also had a desire to keep the business entities separate, while also being wholly visible to management. In addition, offsite work capability was paramount. The football club, like all football clubs, traveled frequently, so if employees could log in from the road (or work from home), productivity could be markedly increased. Backups also had to be improved so they were seamless, automatic, and complete.
Of course, security was essential, as was price. In addition, if the organization could get away from the standard “buy/own the equipment, and pay for maintenance whether it’s needed or not” business model, all the better.
Lastly, several options were very important. The club wanted the option to be able to set up new users internally (while also having HostUs do it if they wished); they wanted the option to use whatever existing hardware was still usable; they wanted the option to have previous football game videos freely available, but without slowing down the servers; and the option to integrate a future VOIP phone system was desired as well.
We repurposed the existing equipment to save and deliver the weekly roundup of league games for the coaches and players to view (these do not need to be saved year after year, so this was a very good use of the existing equipment). This kept the videos available for viewing, but had no effect on the performance of the business infrastructure.
We provided an onsite server (giving them the control options they desired), that is also fully visible to us. Thus, it is run as if it were in our data centre, and we manage the daily backups (localized and cloud) and other tasks. Current terminals were still used, and we provided new ones where needed.
We built a VPN (virtual private network), enabling employees to securely log in from anywhere to work. All components have been kept separate, yet are fully visible to management without having to engage a different person for each entity. All internet traffic is run through the VPN as well, enabling the prioritizing of mission critical applications (such as server access and backups). This ensures everything runs smoothly.
All software, for servers and every terminal, is always updated. Thus, whenever an employee logs in, from anywhere, they are always working the current, patched version, and has the same access and desktop they are used to.
Every item on the wish-list was checked off. The company got to use their old equipment for an important aspect, we centralized all of their processes while also keeping them separate, anyone can work from anywhere and have the same experience on the road as they would in the office, and all backups, licenses, and updates are automated and current.
The company no longer has to pay maintenance on servers, routers, and switches, instead directing that IT spend to something useful, like the previously-mentioned remote workings and licensing. In other words, their IT dollars actually produce tangible benefits (instead of just keeping IT working).
In the future, we will be incorporating a full VOIP Telephony service, as well as completely taking over as their internet provider.
In the words of David Wittwer, General Manager Operations: “We wanted offsite back-up’s; we wanted to be able to access the server remotely so that staff could work from home, after hours or when they are away on trips to our country zone; and we wanted to upgrade our computer system and software without having to buy a lot of new computers. HostUs provided a cost effective solution and implemented it with a minimum of fuss.
An end note: The Company that previously handled the IT offered to come back and do it for a 100% sponsorship (in other words, free).
The answer from the West Adelaide Football Club was “no”.