Brennan overhauls IT for Northline

Monday, 22 November, 2010

National freight and logistics company Northline has signed a five-year contract with Brennan IT to deploy a refreshed, futureproof information technology and telecommunication infrastructure to underpin its growth.

Worth about $1 million a year, the outsourcing agreement requires Brennan IT to provide Northline with a hosted managed service, including servers, a national private network linking all Northline offices and telecommunications infrastructure that allows for portable personalised numbers and videoconfereincing. Northline’s new technology infrastructure, backed by fully redundant Brennan IT data centres in Sydney and Brisbane, allows the company to deploy the latest release software without any disruption.

Northline CEO Craige Whitton said the overhauled IT infrastructure would equip Northline to manage its business in a new way. “First of all, it allows us to serve our customers better,” he said. “It provides more streamlined communications within the business and out to our customers. It gives us more mobility at work: Every employee will have their own portable phone number, so no matter where they are located within our national operations, our customers can get hold of them.

“This enhanced mobility also allows our guys to sit in front of a customer, log in to our system, enter notes and let customers see what’s happening on their account. This real-time access to our business systems makes it easier for our people to make faster decisions and provide better service to our customers.

“This hosted infrastructure also gives us a much more stable and futureproof platform. It allows us to plug-and-play any type of software and hardware that helps deliver better service to our customers or to grow the business from an operational perspective.

“Another benefit is that we’re paying for this infrastructure on a per-user, per-month basis, which allows us to align our IT costs with seasonal changes in demand. While aligning costs was not a driving factor for this decision, because we had already done that to an extent, it is an advantage.”

Northline is an Australian logistics company that specialises in servicing remote locations throughout the country. The privately owned business, which employs about 400 people, provides freight, warehousing, international freight services and undertakes special projects throughout Australia.

Backed by a service level agreement with 99.99% uptime, Brennan IT is providing Northline with an entirely new infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform and national private internet protocol (IP) network. Based on Microsoft Windows Server 2010 software running on tier one server hardware, it replaces Northline’s 16 ageing servers which were running Windows Server 2003. As well as providing fast and secure inter-office data communication, the network carries telephone calls using voice over IP technology, significantly reducing call costs for Northline.

Brennan IT has also deployed a Cisco Call Manager IP telephony system, with each of Northline’s 300 office-based employees receiving an IP-capable phone handset. Northline’s new IT infrastructure also allows for unified communications, so an employee can make a telephone call to another Northline office, commence a videoconferencing session on their PC and then share documents over the network in real time.

Whitton said the new IT infrastructure allowed greater efficiency by using technology to create more synergy. “We are running collaborative software over the top of the infrastructure,” he said.

“Importantly, Brennan IT is a good cultural fit for Northline. It’s an established and growing business which is large enough to deliver what we need nationally, but small enough to be responsive to our needs.

“The five-year contract should allow us to grow with them and them with us.”

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