How ‘cultural fit’ contributes to Collins Barrow’s IT outsourcing strategy

CentriLogic, which last year expanded its footprint with a new facility in the Greater Toronto Area and an acquisition, has added another Canadian company to its roster of organizations looking to outsource its data centre management.

Audit, tax and advisory firm Collins Barrow Toronto has been seeing tremendous growth since 2010 with revenues up 200 per cent, and it expects this expansion to continue over the next five years, due to both organic growth and its acquisition strategy. COO Rhonda Klosler said it made sense for the firm to examine how it managed its IT infrastructure. “Besides the pressure from growth, we look at technology as a tremendous partner to the business in terms of delivering to clients and you need to have stability around that.”

That need for stability was also a big driver for Collins Barrow Toronto’s 39-month contract with CentriLogic, which encompasses data centre co-location managed security services through CentriLogic’s primary hosting site in Mississauga combined with a backup facility in downtown Toronto linked by a dedicated connection.

The financial advisory firm is the largest member of Collins Barrow National, the eighth-largest group of chartered accountants in Canada. Klosler said the company had been maintaining its own data centre from an office in downtown Toronto and has strong in-house IT capabilities, but was frequently encountering power outages due to being in an older building with outdated infrastructure. The firm was already looking for other options when a flood in the fall of 2014 led to an outage that lasted nearly 20 hours. “It was completely ridiculous and a significant impact to the business.”

It also validated Collins Barrow Toronto’s decision to find an external provider for its infrastructure management, and an RFP process saw five candidates seeking to take on the role, including some large national IT providers, with CentriLogic winning the business due its alignment with financial service firm’s culture, said Klosler. “CentriLogic was a good fit because it mirrored our story.”

Not only was CentriLogic very competitive from a technical perspective, she said, but through the proposal process it became clear it was also an entrepreneurial organization that was interested in its customers’ overall business goals. “They spoke our language,” said Klosler. “We felt comfortable they understood our story and where we were going.”

She said people come to Collins Barrow for its expertise, and it opted to look to CentriLogic for its expertise. “It’s important to have experts on staff but not necessarily hosting our data.”

Collins Barrow Toronto completed its migration to CentriLogic in October, including all of its corporate IT infrastructure, as well storage for corporate files and documents, which includes sensitive information such as IPOs, SINs and health records. The relationship with CentriLogic also included deployment of a managed security server residing in the environment that includes network anti-malware, network Intrusion detection and prevention, and advanced threat detection.

Looking ahead, Collins Barrow Toronto is looking to outsource its corporate Microsoft Office 365 environment to CentriLogic. For now, Klosler said the company’s IT team has the assurance that if anything out of order happens, they will be alerted within minutes by CentriLogic. “They sleep better at night.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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