Simarco manages rapid growth seamlessly with Azure

With plans to double revenue by 2021, Simarco needed to prepare its business for a period of acquisition and rapid growth. Modernising its data centre has helped the company to achieve new levels of flexibility and scalability.

Key benefits

  • Migrated servers to Azure to make infrastructure flexible and future-proof growth
  • Put business applications in the cloud to make integration of new companies simple
  • Deployed Citrix XenApp to enable all employees to access applications from anywhere
  • The result: Simarco on track to capitalise on recent expansion and meet ambitious revenue targets

Background

Simarco is an award-winning provider of international freight forwarding and logistics services. In 2016 it wanted to move its 20 on-premise servers to the cloud to help it manage a period of significant business growth. Cloud Direct was appointed to assist with the migration and make Simarco’s IT future proof.

“Cloud Direct was a good fit for us. We are a medium sized but ambitious company. We wanted a cloud specialist that understands where we are heading and would give us great service.”

Jason Moon, Head of IT, Simarco

The challenge

The biggest challenge facing Simarco’s IT team was that the company was growing by acquisition. It increased its number of locations in the UK from four to seven and was about to open another new office in Portugal. Simarco wanted to integrate its IT across all these sites and have all employees use the same business and productivity applications. It also wanted to free itself from day-to-day infrastructure management and concentrate on other strategic objectives – such as the technical integration with global partners that is so critical to success in the freight and logistics industry.

Jason Moon, Head of IT, Simarco said: “When you’re acquiring companies, you get silos of on-premise infrastructure. That can be a big barrier to progress. Moving all our infrastructure to Azure was a perfect solution.”

The solution

Cloud Direct helped Simarco manage a successful migration of 20 on-premise servers to Azure. This led to a number of other initiatives that have helped Simarco to merge its new businesses successfully.

Access key business applications from anywhere through Citrix XenApp

Following the server migration, Cloud Direct deployed Citrix XenApp hosted environment in Azure to ensure that all Simarco staff could access their key business applications from anywhere and on any device. Introducing SmartScaling, Cloud Direct were able to cost optimise the Azure infrastructure to drive return on investment and leverage all the benefits of a scalable and secure Cloud. Delivery of scalable services has resulted in a 40% cost saving vs running the services 24/7. Cloud Direct continue to work with Simarco to look for further areas of optimisation to drive greater ROI with regular service management reviews. 

Enterprise-grade cloud managed security

The merger of the companies in the Simarco network has been made easier by the security services built into Azure, encrypted storage accounts and rolesbased access control have been key to achieving Simarco’s security requirement. These services have also helped meet compliance with all global requirements, including the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In addition, Cloud Direct’s ongoing security management and reporting, powered by Azure Security Center delivers predicative threat analysis and ensures remedial actions can be taken before the security of the platform is compromised. 

New opportunities to drive the business forward

With maintenance taken care of, Simarco’s IT is now focused on new projects. For example, it is now working on improving technical integration with its global delivery partners by using out-of-the-box connectors in Azure Logic Apps 

First class support and consultancy

Now that the cloud migration is complete, the project continues to be driven by Cloud Direct’s consultants and support team. “The support we’ve received from Cloud Direct has been first class,” said Jason Moon. “They always work to the timescales we’re looking for. They also have in-depth knowledge of Microsoft products that will enable us to keep exploring new opportunities to be more efficient and productive.”

“We’ve taken a big step forward in terms of flexibility. Our staff can access our applications from any site or location. Whenever we need to provide access for any other site, the process is seamless.”

Jason Moon, Head of IT, Simarco

Results

Simarco has set itself a target of doubling revenue to £100m by 2021. Successfully merging its IT infrastructure in Azure has given it the perfect platform to reach that target. Today, all Simarco employees can easily access Azyra, their specialist logistics enterprise application that is crucial to the management of business operations. Simarco’s IT team is also able to contribute to the business’s growth because it is no longer responsible for day to day infrastructure management The infrastructure management, cost optimisation and security is all handled by Cloud Direct.

“Around 80% of what we do now is focused on helping the business to move forward. We don’t worry about maintenance or upgrades at all.”

Jason Moon, Head of IT, Simarco

Want to achieve rapid growth like Simarco? Learn how to grow, compete and thrive the fourth industrial revolution at our Azure roadshow event next month.

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