WDEA Works

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Enriching local communities

WDEA Works is a community focused not-for-profit organisation offering Disability Employment Services (DES), jobactive programmes, Training (RTO), Social Enterprises, NDIS programs and activities. Founded in 1989 in Warrnambool, they have helped over 40,000 individuals find meaningful and inclusive employment, improving their lives and enriching local communities.

The organisation wanted to modernise operations and empower their workforce—a team of over 440 people in offices across regional Victoria and South Australia—to work more flexibly and reliably to meet the needs of the communities they serve.

Preparing for organisational expansion

As part of the organisation’s workplace modernisation and expansion, WDEA Works determined that its ICT infrastructure required a comprehensive, cost-effective upgrade.

“WDEA Works was predominantly office-based, however, we had the desire to improve our ICT infrastructure and so got rid of desktops and handsets replacing them laptops and mobile phones. We knew that we needed better network, redundancies, and security,” said Mark Koch, Director of Strategy and Growth at WDEA Works.

Some of the key objectives this transformation aimed to achieve were to:

  • remove single points of failure within critical IT infrastructure.
  • improve resiliency of the IT infrastructure at critical/key sites.
  • build a core IT infrastructure that is scalable and repeatable.
  • maximise the value of existing IT investments.
  • improve staff experience within the organisation; and
  • improve the security posture to prepare for accreditation and compliances.

WDEA Works engaged Telstra to analyse and identify potential processes, systems, and solutions that needed upgrading.

Seamless integration with no business outages

Telstra partner Think Solutions helped WDEA Works to set up a data centre, which was critical in assisting the organisation with compliance and governance requirements. Barracuda CloudGen Firewalls were used as the SD-WAN and firewall devices at critical sites leveraging both Telstra Next IP® and Telstra Internet Direct (TID) simultaneously for redundancy and performance.

Understanding the need to power WDEA Works with fast, reliable, and secure internet connectivity, Telstra Next IP® and TID were deployed to provide enterprise-grade, high-performance network experience across 24 sites. This provided guaranteed bandwidth, which helped in avoiding congestion and configuration issues, improving staff productivity with high-speed internet, and ensuring optimal performance of business-critical applications.

“Our biggest challenge was to complete the project with zero or minimal business outage and end-user disruption, which we managed to achieve thanks to our meticulous planning and efforts,” said Pedro Duarte, Think Solutions Business Development Executive. 

Telstra Calling for Office 365 (TCO365) was then deployed to provide a simple, cost-effective, and collaborative experience for WDEA Works teams located across Australia. TCO365 enabled the staff to make calls to landlines or mobile phones within Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams. This allowed them to be more responsive and improved their collaboration, and productivity while offering a single user experience across all sites and simplifying IT management within the organisation.

“We could look back proudly and say, of those six key objectives, Telstra was, probably, the only provider who could truly respond to all of them and big credits to Telstra and their partner ecosystem.”

Pedro Duarte, Think Solutions Business Development Executive.

Telstra also provisioned a rack at Equinix data centre, installed Cisco Meraki Network Switching and Wi-Fi, and provided a new remote desktop services environment, Nutanix, along with Nutanix Health check and recommendations. Telstra hosted workshops with the WDEA Works’ team to elaborate the changes, features, advantages, and benefits of the solutions implemented.

“All these technological advancements really came down to us needing to remain connected, ensuring staff could have a face-to-face conversation and have the technological support to do their work. We work with some of the most vulnerable people of our communities and we need to be connected at all times” said Andrea Hogan, Communications and Engagement Director.

Keeping the information secure and meeting compliance

One of the most important criteria for WDEA Works is to keep their customer data secure as it includes confidential and private information. As a registered NDIS provider, the organisation needs to comply with strict protocols when using or sharing personal information.

A security solution based on Barracuda was deployed to improve perimeter security, Microsoft Office 365, and email security to prevent modern cyber threats. With the help of the solutions implemented, WDEA Works could securely share data to help people achieve their employment goals.

Additionally, the number of calls received by the organisation’s IT helpdesk has reduced, which means there are lesser issues to be solved and less downtime.

“This is only the beginning for us, how we interact with our clients and has forever changed as a result of this new technology. Getting this technology implemented has already created opportunities and we’re experiencing the benefits of operating as a truly united organisation. Our next steps are to investigate developing applications and online portals for our clients which is an exciting goal to move towards.”

Mark Koch, Director of Strategy and Growth at WDEA Works.

In line with WDEA Works’ focus to expand their services and serve their communities exceptionally well in every possible way, Telstra’s solutions offered a cost-effective, durable, flexible, reliable, and scalable infrastructure that are future-ready to meet their evolving business and operational demands.

From a business perspective, our client numbers grew exponentially. Thanks to automated workflows, eSignatures and a reduced carbon footprint – we are ready for it. We are no longer bound by location; now we’re able to work seamlessly with some of the best minds across Australia as well as expand our client services. We are the masters of our own destiny,” claimed Mark