Thursday, 25 July 2019 11:59

Countrywide Food Distributors deploy Microsoft Azure

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Countrywide Food Distributors deploy Microsoft Azure Image Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wholesale distribution group Countrywide Food Service Distributors has selected Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform as part of its strategy to streamline its IT systems.

Countrywide, which has a network of more than 115 food distributors, says that instead of relying on a “patchwork quilt of systems and suppliers”, it has moved a lot of core services to Microsoft Azure and is planning to deploy Dynamics 365 next.

The firm says the systems transformation has already seen SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server, Domain Controller, Active Directory Sync, Exchange and Web Servers move from on-premise virtual machines into Azure.

And the company says other workloads which were previously tackled by virtual machines hosted in a third-party data centre and have now been moved across to Microsoft Azure include Web Server, and the primary and secondary database servers.

Countrywide also says that when Ali Badr joined the company as IT Manager, the business didn’t have the sorts of reporting tools that it really needed to keep distributors properly informed.

By February 2020 Badr hopes the transformation and embrace of Microsoft’s three clouds will be complete.

Countryside says that moving to a cloud-based solution has also had a major impact on the way that its employees and distributors work.

According to Badr; “Now they can work from home. All they need is an app and they have everything there”.

“The documents – everything. And, that is without compromising security. It gives so much flexibility – Office 365 is fantastic for co-authoring, when people are working in collaboration.

“They’re all working together on one document at a time. And, Teams, for example – they can just pass their comments on what they’re working on. It’s just fantastic. It has revolutionised the workplace.”

Badr says he is also enthusiastic about the possibility in the future of using Teams for Countrywide’s telephony needs.

The company already leverages SharePoint as a secure way for its members to share information with external users.

And Badr says, “The best part is, Microsoft Office 365 has this security and compliance module which is like – it tracks each and everything. Risk is reined in.”

“The approach means there’s much greater clarity for managers who can see the stock on hand, the inventory levels for members and customers – and be confident about the integrity and security of that information which is critical to support decision making and forecasting.”

According to Badr, the result of the move to Microsoft’s three clouds — Office 365, Azure, and shortly Dynamics 365 is clear — instead of needing four people to manage IT infrastructure, Countrywide can now do that with just one person, freeing up the other people for other more valuable work.

And Badr says the move has also significantly lowered backup and recovery costs.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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