With 14 studios around the world the organisation had developed a highly distributed computer network. It was fine for servicing local processing requirements, but was limited in its ability to underpin collaboration – and highly inefficient as back up, email and disaster recovery was handled at a distributed rather than a group level.
According to Tom Leyden, the head of technology at Hassell, the $10 million a year computing budget was being “drained” by the sheer effort of trying to keep the system operational and properly backed up.
Back up windows were routinely missed, and if architects in one studio wanted to access designs from another studio it meant transferring files which were typically of the 500 Mbyte scale. DropBox use was widespread, with no oversight of the intellectual property flooding out of the business through the service. The organisation had also effectively run out of storage capacity.
While the business continued to operate Mr Leyden understood that it lacked the information systems agility that was needed for the future. In addition there was little respect from Hassell’s 800 employees for the 30-strong IT team which was trying to keep the distributed network afloat.
Working with Cloud Solutions Group the company first overhauled its infrastructure – consolidating back up, archiving email and centring disaster recovery around its Melbourne data centre. According to Mr Leyden this initial overhaul is expected to save $1.5 million over three years.
Having resolved the core computing issues, the business is now looking at various cloud and collaboration platforms including tools such as Yammer and Microsoft’s range of cloud offerings. “We are trying to enable people to collaborate, to connect virtual teams,” said Mr Leyden who said that a migration to cloud storage might be one of the first steps the organisation takes.
A safer DropBox? Read on