Quantum’s ICT Transformation strengthens support for the housing and homelessness communities of Gippsland

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Quantum Support Services (Quantum) is a not-for-profit organisation that has been providing support and care to community members across the Gippsland, Victoria region since 1987. Quantum offers a range of transformative services—in areas of youth crisis accommodation, out-of-home care, family and domestic violence, tenancy advocacy, and support— to assist in addressing and resolving homelessness for some of the region’s most vulnerable.

Quantum strives to continuously improve the agility and adaptability of its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems and network. Hosted across multiple sites and servers, the low bandwidth and poor security controls hampered internal productivity and core service delivery.

To drive greater workforce efficiency and flexibility, Telstra and Oreta were engaged to initiate and execute Quantum’s ICT transformation. As Quantum’s preferred partners, Telstra and Oreta worked closely to help deliver cloud-first connectivity and telephony with Microsoft 365, underpinned by a highly flexible SD-WAN network deployment.

Legacy ICT systems that hampered growth

Before engaging with Telstra, Quantum’s ICT infrastructure was based on legacy technology that wasn’t fit for purpose. Over the years they had accumulated a large on-premises data centre footprint that was scattered across multiple locations in Gippsland, connected through MPLS infrastructure that was slow, would frequently go down, and lacked the bandwidth needed to support their growth ambitions.

Performance and stability issues led to important corporate documents and knowledge disappearing permanently, directly impacting business performance. In addition, if staff had to access corporate servers remotely, they were forced to use a slow VPN link to connect into their central network. That was challenging during the COVID-19 lockdowns, when most of its organisation had to use remote connectivity to access important data and services.

Mobility was also an issue, as Quantum only had 50 mobile phones and 50 laptops to be shared amongst 170 people, making them reliant on their in-office desktop hardware. Quantum’s email services used an old, hosted version of outlook; the primary telephony solution was a legacy PABX phone system; and internet services driving the legacy network were poorly sized, which limited the ability to collaborate and interact with clients.

When Quantum approached their previous managed services and telecoms partner to help them address these challenges, they found they didn’t have the scalability to help them achieve their goals. The Quantum team quickly went to market and decided that Telstra and Oreta were the right partners to guide a comprehensive transformation that improved almost every element of their ICT systems and processes.

“We needed a partner that could help us grow as an organisation. We needed someone who understood what we needed and was committed to helping us learn and build over time.” says Andrew Dawson, ICT Director at Quantum Support Services. “We got that from Telstra and Oreta. We see Oreta as our IT function and treat their service desk as our people.”

A comprehensive digital transformation that fit business requirements

After carefully assessing business priorities, Telstra and Oreta started developing a ‘big bang’ solution to transform Quantum Support Service’s ICT systems. Building multiple elements in parallel, the Telstra team worked with Oreta to migrate Quantum’s corporate data and application environments to Microsoft 365 and Azure.

This involved a whole of business ICT change that needed to be done quickly and efficiently. Telstra and Oreta helped Quantum move their email server from the old Outlook system to an updated platform on Microsoft 365 and developed an in-office environment with new workstations, monitors, and docking stations. They also built a new mobility strategy, shipping backpacks with mobile phones, laptops, and other equipment to its 170 employees to enable a hybrid working environment.

At the same time, Telstra and Oreta moved the organisation to SD-WAN from their MPLS links, supporting a seamless transition to M365 and Azure. SD-WAN offers Quantum more resilience, with constant uptime that gives their people more time with their clients.

Quantum also worked with Telstra partner FiveP to help execute the migration of data from their old on-premise systems to the Azure and M365 environment. FiveP helped Quantum develop a security model that encapsulates this data management, carrying out team workshops and making sure procedures were compliant and up to a good standard from the beginning. 

Shortly after the initial transformation, Oreta also assisted Quantum in a WI-FI uplift at all locations, with new, faster access points built to accommodate stronger in-office connectivity.

Quantum now have a cloud-first digital strategy, with unified communications and a platform that synchronises seamlessly between user devices, meaning teams can easily work from anywhere and pick up right where they left off.

Driving better outcomes for the people of Gippsland

Quantum Support Services’ new ICT environment was developed in alignment with their growth plan strategy. The implementation of the new ecosystem resulted in better visibility, removal of redundancies and in turn maximised efficiency in their processes. This led to a significant employee growth of 26% in 2020 which exceeded their set target goals for 2022. The cohesive ICT system allowed the organisation to improve connectivity, time management, resource distribution and focus on driving better outcomes for their clients and community.

Telstra also worked with Quantum to find the most cost-effective solutions relevant to their industry. While this is partly achieved due to a shift towards OpEx cost models, Telstra also made Quantum aware of their eligibility for a Victorian whole-of-government pricing scheme known as the Telecommunications Purchasing and Management Strategy (TPAMS). This allowed Quantum to procure some of the technology for a lower price.

The new systems facilitated a much higher standard of efficiency, meaning the organisation could spend less time on admin and more time on value-adding services that benefit clients.

“We were previously very limited in terms of remote work and we spent a lot of time on admin,” says Glenn Kruithoff, Chief Financial Officer at Quantum Support Services. “Now, we have the opportunity to build solutions that directly implement and influence client outcomes. That wouldn’t have been possible without the work everyone has put in over the preceding 12 months.”

Telstra, Oreta, and FiveP are all committed to supporting Quantum Support Services’ ambition for future growth. As Quantum continues to enrich the wellbeing of Gippslanders, Telstra and Partners continue to ensure technology is never a bottleneck, so organisations can focus on the services - and the people – that really matter.