Mangano IT Helped Butler Partners Protect 20+ Years of Legacy Data And Move to a New Era of Efficiency
Butler Partners, a geotechnical, geo-environmental, and groundwater consultancy, specialise in investigation, design, materials testing, and construction control for diverse projects in various locations and environments.
But although the firm is highly recognised for their practical approach and solution-based results, their internal IT systems lagged behind their cutting-edge consulting services. To shore up the 20+ years of data stored in the company’s systems whilst improving productivity and efficiency, Butler Partners engaged Mangano IT to support their transition to Microsoft’s Modern Workplace environment.
The Risk of Legacy IT Systems
“We had been operating an old server-based system through our IT, and whilst it was reasonably well organised for storage of our project data, it was on its last legs and not up to contemporary standards”, explains Mike Neighbour, Principal at Butler. “Like many businesses, we had squeezed every last little piece of life out of it and had potentially neglected our investment into future IT needs”.
Although the existing system, though old, was well set up for project data, there were a number of other business functions that were suffering due to the nature of its construction and deployment.
The team’s logs, site plans, and reports were laid out in a logical, folder-based directory, other elements—including their specialist engineering software and the business, quality, and accounting systems they had developed around Microsoft Office suite objects—were more haphazardly built. Because these additional systems weren’t always easy to find or utilise, team members often found themselves working in silos, hampering productivity.
System performance represented another ongoing issue. According to Neighbour, “Performance could be up and down. Under our old system, if there was a power outage where our server was located in Brisbane, then the entire business slowly got crippled”.
Recognising the potential risk these challenges posed to Butler’s ability to operate sustainably, the team set out to find a partner who could bring their data and business processes into a more modern platform.
Commencing the Tender Process
Initially, Butler went through a tender process with three groups before eventually awarding the opportunity to Mangano IT.
Speaking on the decision, Neighbours says, “We didn’t really know exactly what our end solution would look like as we are not IT specialists, so, like many, we were looking for an expert to advise us on how to set up a better system. We listened to a few groups, and it was Paul [Mangano] who gave us with the most confidence that he understood what we wanted and how to provide that to us”.
In particular, Neighbours notes that, “Our assessment was that they were aligned with what we wanted to do, and they were going to be accessible to us and could execute what we wanted to do at a value-for-money proposition”.
Leaving Legacy Technology Behind
Based on early assessments of Butler’s existing technology, our team recommended moving from on-prem to the cloud through a SharePoint migration. We also proposed setting Butler up on Microsoft M365, leveraging a combination of corporate and field/frontline licenses that would provide the functionality their on-the-ground workers needed in a cost-effective manner.
Deploying the security features of Microsoft M365 enabled a significant uplift in security posture for Butler Partners; further, we identified an opportunity to move their network to a Meraki/SD WAN cloud-based environment, which we anticipate will drive even greater security and performance gains.
“Our assessment was that they were aligned with what we wanted to do, and they were going to be accessible to us and could execute what we wanted to do at a value-for-money proposition”.
Mike Neighbour, Principal, Butler Partners
Butler elected to use the Christmas period to complete their transition because, as Neighbour explains, “the construction industry pretty much shuts down for a couple of weeks”. Throughout the process, Neighbour and other Butler stakeholders appreciated the level of attentiveness offered by Liam Adair, Project Delivery Engineer at Mangano IT.
“Liam was working very closely with one of our very dedicated, hard-working people over the Christmas and New Year’s break”, he describes. “He really became one of the family. There are a few other companies that I know who went through similar processes over the Christmas period, and from conversations with them I know that our transition went the smoothest of anyone”.
Notably, Neighbour called out the balanced perspective Adair brought to the project as being critical to its success. “[Liam] wouldn’t go in and say, ‘look, I’m the IT expert,’” says Neighbour. “He knew when he had to step up and provide technical advice, but when it came to the impact of things on our business, he was very respectful which led to a really powerful working relationship”.
Though some internal challenges did arise throughout the process—as is common in any major IT systems transition—Neighbour found Mangano IT to be extremely responsive to any concerns he shared. “Rob and Paul are tremendous to work with. They’re happy to take your call. If there’s something that’s frustrating you, you pick up the phone, and you know things are going to get sorted out”.
A New Era of Efficiency and Security
Reflecting on Butlers’ new IT systems, Neighbour and his team have seen improvements in a number of key areas. “There’s been a large improvement in the control we have over our quality documentation”, he states. “There’s a massive improvement in the centralisation of our standard forms and access policies and procedures. It has saved us hours of work and improved the uniformity and conformity of our quality systems”.
Butler has also gained confidence in the security and integrity of their data, as well as the efficiency of their workflows. In Neighbour’s experience, “The SharePoint site has been pretty revolutionary. It’s now laid out in a much more logical fashion, and people are able to work in it far better than in the past. Now that we’re in this new environment, we’re finding things within the environment that are making our life easier”.
“There’s a massive improvement in the centralisation of our standard forms and access policies and procedures. It has saved us hours of work and improved the uniformity and conformity of our quality systems”.
Mike Neighbour, Principal, Butler Partners
Following the completion of their migration, Mangano IT continue to support Butler in their digital transformation, delivering a level of care the firm has come to appreciate. “There’s that classic thing where you’re working with a company, and the guy at the top fawns over you until you’ve signed on the dotted line and then you never see them again—and you can never get hold of them again”, says Neighbour. “Mangano hasn’t been like that, and I think that’s a real strength”.