Hungry for change: Snack Brands Australia overcomes migration hurdles to build architecture for secure, dispersed teamwork

Case study 7th October, 2020

Snack Brand Australia Case Study Image

One of the country’s largest snack food suppliers, Snack Brands Australia (SBA), is home to a huge range of iconic Aussie brands, including Cheezels, Kettle, Thins, CC’s and French Fries. Currently producing over 200 million packets each year, SBA’s products are proudly Australian made.

But when the company was acquired by Universal Robina Corporation (URC), they found themselves with a new sister company abroad and a heightened need for secure collaboration across locations. Most pressingly, they needed to update their traditional exchange server and reduce hosting costs while accommodating a growing archival data exchange.

To address these issues, SBA leveraged a long-standing relationship with Harbour IT (HIT) and laid the groundwork for the sort of agile workforce that would eventually become necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives and challenges

The migration project was part of SBA’s broader vision to build common platforms with a sister company overseas. The organisation was looking to migrate data from an outdated version of Symantec Enterprise Vault into Microsoft Office 365 (O365), which would help them move toward cloud-based continuity of services and reduce some on-prem hosting costs.

But, especially with dispersed teams spanning Oceania, SBA needed to minimise disruption to users as much as possible. Additionally, the organisation was keen to switch to a new endpoint protection offering.

Finally, with a lean internal IT team, they would need additional support without blowing out project costs.

Solutions

As the logistical realities of the O365 migration became clearer, the project team had to stay flexible. This included a total recalibration early on, with the project initially planning a “big bang” approach that would bring across all data at once. However, over 200 users and more than a few shared mailboxes meant archival data had to be migrated and tested in batches, increasing the overall project timeline.

SBA Account Manager Alison Jeffrey says it was crucial to have a specialist who could communicate on a nitty-gritty level with customer teams and understand necessities.

“Our pre-sales technician had the high-level specialist skillset to really talk to SBA’s team on a technical level. Our project engineers are often doing the implementation work, but we needed that technical voice to be able to communicate with the customer and agree on a way forward.”

During testing, there were a lot of users and multiple sites, but only one infrastructure lead and one helpdesk technician to support them all. SBA made use of HIT’s virtual and in-office floor walkers to troubleshoot issues and help users navigate changes.

This was also SBA’s IT team first time deploying the new advanced endpoint security solution, so HIT’s experience helped.

“SBA had broad knowledge of what needed to be done, but there’s a lot of little tricks of the trade that you pick up if you’ve gone through the process before. HIT’s specialist knowledge was a big help in that respect.”

Outcomes and future work

Despite complexities along the way, SBA and HIT were able to switch to improved endpoint security and migrate from Exchange to O365 while maintaining access to both sets of data from multiple devices.

Impacts for both users and the broader organisation included:

  • Reduced operational expenses and Enterprise Vault maintenance costs
  • Access to collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, making remote work easier
  • Ease of management for O365 exchange online platform
  • Improved communication and collaboration across business units and devices
  • Improved security

SBA would later see ongoing value during their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though many of their manufacturing facilities have needed to remain open, their workforce was well-equipped to work from home wherever possible.

“I’ve worked with lots of organisations in a pivot to remote work, but SBA was one of the least affected because they had already laid the groundwork for remote collaboration,” explains Jeffrey.

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What’s next? SBA and HIT are working on a strategic review to ensure IT and business goals are aligned, including a deeper focus on security and potentially further migrations to build on common platforms with other business units.

Find out how you can overcome migration hurdles to enable an agile workforce and improve endpoint security by contacting us here.

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