Crowe Horwath creates greater agility through IT consolidation

Crowe Horwath New Zealand has the largest accounting, audit, tax and business advisory footprint in New Zealand.

Crowe Horwath's Phil Mulvey.

With 22 offices across the country and a substantial presence in over 100 countries, Crowe Horwath pride themselves on being locals and a part of the community.  

The Challenge

Crowe Horwath had a vision to operate as a truly national business, by consolidating its IT platforms to provide common access to client records and services from any location. This would also drive a culture of ‘one’ firm.

Initially, the organisation consisted of a collection of 22 individual offices run out of six business hubs throughout New Zealand, each with its own IT systems, localised support and no ability to share capacity or data. This produced inefficient use of resource and high IT costs, which lead to disparate use of IT across different locations, and a lack of integration, with no consistency across the software packages.

With over 600 staff and a footprint spanning the length of the country, the business was unable to tap into the potential from each region and instead had to regularly reskill its staff. This impacted on client billing and job rotation, making the process inefficient, costly and the business less agile. Of the six business hubs, five were in need of new server systems and upgrades so moving to an outsourcing model was the next logical step.

The Solution

Datacom helped Crowe Horwath to transition each of its six regional hubs to a single IT platform, by migrating all existing systems to Datacom’s cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform. During the migration process it became apparent workload requirements would be different, and the costs involved would change significantly. With this in mind, lead times were adjusted to suit.

Citrix and thin client were implemented to remove reliance on desktops and to create a more consistent experience across the organisation. At the same time, Crowe Horwath sought to streamline its numerous accounting applications to create consistency and drive efficiency through the business. Datacom brought its knowledge and experience to help Crowe Horwath deal with its primary software vendor, APS.

Crowe Horwath are now able to move work to where capacity or capability exists, allowing them to offer better and different levels of services to their growing portfolio of clients with greater control of IT spending.

A national, fully managed service desk was created to bring measurable delivery across all locations and services. The introduction of an external service desk required a different mindset, as staff were used to having IT support on site. Improvements are being made to the service desk model to make it more interactive and deliver faster solutions, as both companies acknowledged that the need to train and educate staff on utilising this service has been a big learning curve.

The Technology

All six regional IT hubs have been migrated to the Datacom cloud IaaS platform, with some consolidation. Citrix and thin client were implemented to remove reliance on desktops bringing a consistent experience. For a more efficient network portfolio, together with a full management and monitoring of the network were implemented. A national service desk has been set up to provide fully managed services.

The Partnership

Datacom has become a trusted partner of Crowe Horwath, with a recognition that success comes from building solid relationships through working closely with key stakeholders. This was achieved through openness in dealing with the client to get the right solution, and by working collaboratively with both IT and staff. We were part of the communication chain to the business and a two-way due diligence process allowed Crowe Horwath to understand our expertise and delivery capabilities, while we ensured we understood their business requirements. 

“In our line of business, relationships are key, and we’ve made a conscious effort to ensure that Datacom understands our business and client needs, while at the same time we understand what they can deliver. We wanted a secure and stable IT infrastructure that was scalable and would deliver our business’s vision. The Datacom team are great to work with, their level of professionalism and expertise around storage and data security is a big step forward for our business.”

Phil Mulvey - NZ CEO, Crowe Horwath

The Results

  • The number of server farms reduced by more than 50% after moving to the Datacom cloud IaaS platform.
  • Built-in flexibility by removal of redundant IT systems has enabled the business to access the latest technology and systems without additional expense.
  • The number of APS databases reduced from six to one.
  • Customer experience has improved, as Crowe Horwath is able to scale up and down depending on the requirements of the business.
  • Consistent and transparent service to staff regardless of location has enabled better resource sharing across the group.
  • Staff have guaranteed access to help by using Datacom’s support services compared to the previous in-house situation.
  • Clear leadership lines have created stronger and more inclusive investment decisions rather than multiple individual views.