Based in Carnaby Street, London, Career Moves Group is a specialist recruitment agency focused on media – publishing, PR, and broadcasting – and a range of other industries such as finance and utilities. Founded in 1985 and privately owned, the firm employs 23 staff and places on average 657 permanent and temporary candidates each year. It works for a range of high profile clients including Channel 4, EMI, MTV, Penguin Group, Publicis, Sky, The Independent, Random House and Sage.
The primary motivation for CMG to adopt a Cloud service was to have experts look after its hardware and software and to improve its provision for disaster recovery. In addition, the Cloud means that CMG has increased operationally flexibility and scalability.
Steve Mason, Career Moves Group’s IT manager, explains, “Failover is now much better and measured in just a couple of hours plus moving to the Cloud makes our business more agile. Opening a new office is easy and requires very little investment – all IT systems are now off site, so all that is needed is an Internet connection and staff are up and running.”
“Furthermore, moving to the Cloud is cheaper in the long term as CMG now leases its IT equipment rather than buying it, and servers are virtualised so that hardware is used to its maximum. Leasing has three key benefits: first, it avoids the obvious upfront capital expenditure, second, the latest hardware is always provided, and third, software licences can be scaled up and down depending on CMG’s needs. As a result, the expectation is that during the contract, 10% on total IT costs will be saved utilising a Cloud model.”
Oncore IT is providing a full enterprise Cloud service which covers application and virtualised server hosting, storage, online back up and disaster recovery, email anti virus and spam protection, 24/7 monitoring and support. To facilitate the move to the Cloud, CMG purchased a 100 MB leased line to connect its offices to Oncore IT’s highly secure data centre in the City.
In addition to hardware, Oncore IT also has responsibility for CMG’s key applications. These include RDB Pro Net, a recruitment database solution, TempAid, payment and invoicing software for recruiters, along with Sage, and Microsoft Office and Exchange.
Mason says, “In terms of transitioning to the Cloud, it was a relatively simple process and our staff didn’t really know what was happening. Onsite and Cloud systems were run in parallel and, on switch over day, all that users had to do was login slightly differently.”
Now a long-term customer, CMG first selected Oncore IT in 2006 after poor experiences working with another IT outsourcing firm who supplied unreliable servers and down time was commonplace. Mason says, “At one stage we had three days without IT. That meant staff couldn’t work, we lost candidate placements, and of course, revenue. Down time is just too costly – if systems go down for just one day, it could easily pay for six months of IT.”
During the original tender process, CMG looked at six firms, their solutions and how they do things, selecting Oncore IT because of its impressive data centres, NOC (network operations centre) and quality of staff. Mason says, ”Oncore IT’s technical knowledge is phenomenal and their problem solving skills are excellent. You give them an issue and they fix it, plus their account management staff are very supportive and you’re not seen as just a number like some of the bigger firms.”
For six years, Oncore IT provided a managed service for CMG with all its IT infrastructure located onsite at its Carnaby Street office. Today, CMG has fully transitioned its IT systems to the Cloud in a project which took one month to complete.
Mason says, “The concept of the Cloud is a bit dragon-like at the moment as there’s lot of myths associated with it. But once you understand that all you’re doing is putting your servers off site and giving the responsibility of hardware and software management to really professional and expert people who look after it, the whole FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt] surrounding Cloud goes away.”
In terms of offering advice to other companies considering embracing the Cloud, Mason says, “You need to look very carefully at who you are going with and how you will be supported. If three days of downtime becomes ten, it could cost you your business. You’ve got to choose a partner who you trust and where there is a good working relationship. Our journey was seamless based on our past experiences working with the Oncore IT team.”
Paul Cook, Oncore IT’s head of sales and marketing, says, “A step-by-step transition from onsite managed services to the Cloud has worked very well for CMG. The key thing for a Cloud partner is to demonstrate that they are able to scale, can guide clients over time by offering a consultative service so that shifting to the Cloud isn’t precarious. This also means that any investment made in a solution day one isn’t wasted.”
Oncore IT achieves this by offering a one-stop-shop service having invested in its own best-of-breed infrastructure and data centre facilities. It also guarantees SLAs, and has account managers and technical staff skilled in helping SMEs over time with their IT solutions.
Cook concludes, “The last thing a SME can afford is to get into a scenario where their [Cloud] partner fails to deliver because some aspect of the service is subbed out and then a blame game starts between the different parties. Ultimately companies like CMG want to focus on their own business and leave IT to the pros, so partnering with an organisation who owns the whole IT jigsaw is key which is where Oncore IT excels.”