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Optimising IT takes more than software updates

Business

The team at Blackbird IT has made it their mission to find ways to save clients not only time and money but also the headaches that come with disjointed business systems.

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Based in Adelaide, South Australia, IT firm has been helping companies streamline their processes for more than a decade, but Director Ben Corbett said the launch of their Blackbird Advisory service met the growing demand for strategic advisory services.

Corbett said their recent work with Light Regional Council in South Australia illustrated how Blackbird Advisory could help solve complex problems.

“We worked with the council to build an in-depth understanding of their IT and operations after winning a tender for their Managed IT services,” he said.

“The initial audit identified an underperforming wireless network which was upgraded. Consistency across the laptop fleet was achieved via the development of a Standard Operating Environment to improve ease of use and support.”

Corbett said that like many businesses, the council had legacy systems that had been inefficiently migrated to the cloud. Optimising the Microsoft expenditure was an easy way to offset other IT investments.

“By rationalising the ongoing Microsoft Azure costs, we were able to save the council approximately $3000 a month,” he said.

When Light Regional Council reviewed the internal records management solution, their business general manager Lara Matters contacted Blackbird IT to see if they could help.

“We are not a software company, but we listened to the specific requirements and realised that the outcomes could be achieved with existing systems,” Corbett said.

Matters was looking for a better way to manage the governance issue surrounding the complicated General Disposal Schedule for council records, something that was being handled by a clunky and expensive program that was separate from where the documents actually sat.

“Basically, there are all sorts of records, all different types and across these types there are compliance requirements of how long the council must keep them for,” Corbett said.

“They had to upload documents into a system just for it to tell them when they could get rid of them.”

The Blackbird Advisory team, including consultant Dr Karen White, determined that the solution was something the council already used: Microsoft SharePoint.

“We got rid of the old software that was costing a fortune and also got rid of the need to copy files across,” Corbett said.

“Again, like so many companies, they didn’t know the power of the tools they already had at their disposal.”

Blackbird IT worked to develop a proof of concept over the winter and presented it to the State Records department to ensure it was compliant and seek approval for the use of the Microsoft suite.

From August to November they brought the system into full production and Corbett said that the decommissioning of the old solution will result in $40,000 of ongoing annual savings from not having to run multiple systems.

Matters, from Light Council, was impressed enough with the work to enter it into the Local Government Information Technology SA (LGITSA) Awards and they won the Excellence in Information Management Award, among others with this entry that outlines the project and solution.

“The next step for this award is an opportunity to showcase the work at both a national and then international level. So, we are focusing on the continual development and improvement of the system to further raise the bar,” Corbett said.

He said the records management system winning an award had also got more than seven other councils interested in Blackbird Advisory’s work and that they had also recently expanded into NSW with the appointment of a state manager.

“The problem Light Council faced is common among so many organisations and businesses. We see a huge opportunity in helping more organisations leverage their existing IT investments more effectively to achieve better value.”

It has been a big year for Blackbird IT, with new service offerings, solutions focussing on local councils, expansion into NSW, a growing team and a new office. They have also just been certified under the Great Places to Work program and if you’d like to know more, you can find them here.

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story.

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