“We engaged with KBG IT to carry out all of the IT related work in helping us become an independent organisation, and they also became the first point of contact for all IT related issues our internal staff faced.
Bharat and his staff were highly professional and proactive, they advised us on all the options and then presented them to us.
KBG IT also upgraded our servers to the latest version and migrated our emails to an Office 365 environment; this was all done with minimal downtime and within tight deadlines. KBG IT staff were available onsite if any major issues were to be encountered. KBG IT also dealt with 3rd party suppliers within the Netherlands to make sure all of our IT services were migrated over in time; this enabled us to concentrate on other aspects of the transition.
“We had no issues communicating with KBG IT’s staff as they were friendly and easy to get on with, we found their engineers highly experienced in a wide range of technologies. I would highly recommend KBG IT to carry out any IT related work for you.”
Sander Elting, Director, Wallich and Matthes
Wallich and Matthes is a Netherlands broking firm based in Amsterdam. The company provides financial services in money and capital markets and offers services in the areas of long and short-term financing, commercial paper, certificates of deposits, bonds, medium term notes, private placements, and derivatives.
KBG IT Consultancy (KBG IT) was hired by Wallich and Matthes to manage the IT transition for a company split. KBG IT was responsible for delivering a transition project to split data between the London and Amsterdam office, review and refresh hardware and software, meet financial services compliance and security requirements, and provide appropriate policies and procedures to support the change.
KBG IT achieved this within seven months, by communicating effectively, working closely with local teams and going the extra mile.
Splitting data between multiple locations and managing compliance
In 2015 broking firms Martin Brokers and Wallich and Matthes split as part of an acquisition between BCG Partners and RP Martin.
Separating the Wallich and Matthes Amsterdam and Stockholm locations from the London site required a smooth IT transition. It was critical to avoid disruption to core business functions and the sixty users in the Amsterdam office.
Wallich and Matthes has distinct IT compliance and security needs along with the usual day to day business requirements. Financial service experience, technical expertise and the ability to build strong relationships with local teams were required.
It was business critical to:
- Split existing data between London and the other locations, setting the correct permissions
- Meet compliance requirements around email management
- Meet security requirements for virtual working
- Identify the most suitable hardware and software, and ensure that everything was up to date, within warranty, fully supported and operating efficiently
- Provide ongoing IT support with a smooth transition to post-project local support
KBG IT appointed as international project lead
KBG IT Consulting was appointed to deliver the transition project. Managing Director Bharat Gorsia had prior experience working for Martins Brokers London office. CEO Stephen Welch selected KBG IT to take on the IT support for the Netherlands in February 2015.
The first step was to split the data for the Amsterdam office from the data used by the London office.
The NetApp Storage Area Network solution was isolated so that only the Netherlands could see their data, and it could not be accessed by the London entity. Further permissions were given to the Stockholm office as required.
Before the transition, the company had 12 servers in a mirror set-up between London and Amsterdam, with six servers in each location. The Netherlands retained six servers after the split, decoupled from the UK office. Those six servers were then consolidated down to two.
A new Windows 2012R2 Active Directory domain was built in parallel to the existing AD domain, migration of users and groups was then carried out between the domains, this was to ensure a seamless cutover to the new segregated environment.
All PCs were enrolled to the new Wallich and Matthes domain, and shared Mailboxes were created for managers. Email distribution groups were reviewed and restructured.
The Amsterdam and Stockholm offices needed to be able to see one another’s data, so KBG IT Consultancy carried out replication between the two sites to enable this.
In addition to the Netherlands office, KBG IT had to consider the requirements of a small entity in Stockholm. There was a requirement to bring the Stockholm data in line with the Netherlands, and Bharat visited the site to ensure that data was stored in the right places, and offer support and reassurance to the local teams.
As a hedge fund, it is essential that Wallich and Matthes is compliant with regulations on email retention. KBG IT set up a 10-year email retention using a Mimecast configuration tool synced to Active Directory. This allowed all users to log into and check old emails under a single user name.
For virtual working, KBG IT set up a server side VPN with two-factor authentication using an RSA token, to allow Wallich and Matthes users to work remotely without compromising security.
The split offered an opportunity to review existing hardware and software, and identify out of date, out of warranty and unsupported products. KBG IT carried out replacements and upgrades across the board, including:
- Migrated to a new Windows 2012R2 Active Directory domain
- Groups and Users migrated using the Active Directory Migration Tool
- Upgrade from Microsoft Office 2010 to 2013
- Hybrid configuration of Office 365 including the migration of emails, mailboxes and shared calendars from on-premises to cloud. This included importing existing .pst files.
- Office 365 DirSync to sync Active Directory with Office 365
- CRM upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics working in partnership with a local CRM specialist
- Upgrade to Lync
- Anti-virus software update
- VMware upgrade to Version 5.1
- Replacement of out of warranty UPS power supply to run the servers
- New DHCP server in partnership with a local Network team
- Replacement of printers with configuration to Office 365
- Recommendations for wireless internet implementations in a possible new office, later deployed by the local Network team
- A move from tape back-ups to a network back-up on a removable drive
- Mobile device management
KBG IT led on the necessary change policies and processes. The existing desktop environment was heavily restricted. Working to the Group CEO, KBG IT reviewed and customised group policies to relax this, while also adhering to the security policy.
KBG IT was also responsible for mailbox policy, and set send and receive sizes, and designed the disclaimer for the email system via Mimecast.
When the transition project came to an end, KBG IT conducted a knowledge share session to hand over to a local Netherlands outsourced IT support company. This was one of several local Netherlands teams that KBG IT worked with closely to deliver outstanding results.
Successful transition and local handover within seven months
KBG IT successfully delivered the project within seven months.
By upgrading software, Wallich and Matthes has access to the most appropriate hardware and software products for their needs and the comfort of knowing that all products are fully supported.
Project success factors included:
- Excellent communication, with weekly meetings between KBG IT and Wallich and Matthes
- Leveraging the expertise of local teams and partners, to deliver the best results
- Going the extra mile with late night on-site working and delivery to tight deadlines
Wallich and Matthes's staff describe KBG IT as a knowledgeable, expert partner, with excellent communication and a commitment to outstanding delivery.