Escaping the constraints of physical locations with Microsoft 365 and Windows Virtual Desktop
“The back-end transformation was a huge task, and not without hiccups, but the results have proven themselves. The full SaaSAge team were always available whenever we needed help, including Andrew and the senior team. They were always proactive with weekly meetings, and we could always rely on them to address any issues immediately,”
Vital Parts is a manufacturer and distributor of plastic, rubber and metal components for a wide range of industry uses. They have a wealth of technical knowledge and experience in designing, developing and supplying component parts for all types of use.
But they didn’t have the technical knowledge and experience to implement the IT transformation required to help their business grow, which is why they turned to SaaSAge.
“I’d known Andrew for a few years, but I got in touch when the pandemic hit and we proved working from home was feasible. With storage space at a premium, this was a great opportunity for us to replace our on-site office space with more storage capacity.”
Mike Holt – Managing Director
The global Covid-19 pandemic had proven that businesses could work remotely when forced to and it opened up new opportunities for those able to take advantage. Those like Vital Parts.
Operating from their facility in Kent, Vital Parts knew that if they wanted to grow their business, they’d need to expand their premises. And with storage units in such short supply (and very expensive), they needed a way to maximise existing space and move out of the area.
But they were constrained by their IT systems and server set-up, tied to a seemingly inflexible Sage 50 database and remote desktop service.
“Our biggest challenge to moving to a remote way of working was our business operations and integrations. We run all operations through Sage 50, and needed a specific remote desktop service,” says Mike.
Vital Parts’ entire application stack and business workflow operates through Sage 50, so that had to stay. But their remote desktop service? That could be improved.
The majority of remote desktop services are overpriced and lack the security that we insist on at SaaSAge, so we recommended using the new Windows Virtual Desktop.
To do that, and maintain all the existing, business-critical integrations with Sage 50, we moved the entire desktop to a new, secure Azure virtual server.
“SaaSAge recommended Windows Virtual Desktop and gave us the confidence and assurances to move to Microsoft 365,” says Mike.
To bring the whole team onto an IT platform that would allow work from anywhere, we implemented a full move to Microsoft 365. This back-end transformation brought all data, workflows and applications into a cloud-based setup.
We worked hard to maintain and improve all workflows, updating every laptop with Microsoft 365 software in a very short timeframe.
“The back-end transformation was a huge task, and not without hiccups, but the results have proven themselves. The full SaaSAge team were always available whenever we needed help, including Andrew and the senior team. They were always proactive with weekly meetings, and we could always rely on them to address any issues immediately,” adds Mike.
In just six months, we successfully moved Vital Parts’ Sage 50 to a new, secure virtual server – along with the whole application stack and integrated workflows.
A move that ensures every application, every process and every piece of essential operational data was accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. From MRP to picking and packing software – it’s all available remotely – meaning Vital Parts can essentially operate from any location.
It also means the company can act fast whenever a new business opportunity arises – like a competitor retiring in Bournemouth. Vital Parts were able to move in quickly and hire that competitor’s staff, unpacking software and onboarding people into their organisation-wide system in just hours.
“We now have a fully secure, fully flexible remote working setup that works with all our processes. It means we have near unlimited expansion opportunities and can act fast whenever we want to recruit,” says Mike.
And with Microsoft 365 delivering seamless remote working, Vital Parts can convert desk space at their head office into the storage space that’s in such short supply.
“We’ve gone from 20 people to 50 in just six months, and the speed at which we can do this is entirely down to SaaSAge” adds Mike.
By putting the foundations in place now, we’ve minimised the need for any big changes over the next few years and mitigated future spend in the organisation – a win for all involved.
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