Parkwalk boosts productivity through a simple cloud for the modern era

Parkwalk Advisors is a leading investor in high-potential, hard-science technology companies, to commercialise the discoveries made at the UK’s globally-ranked research universities. To date, the company has invested in over 100 UK technology spin-outs, secured over 1,000 patents to protect their technology and processes, and raised in excess of £1bn of funding since 2010.

Problem

Parkwalk’s ageing IT infrastructure didn’t match the level of high-tech innovation it was used to investing in. The company needed to transform to remain competitive for the modern era.

Expectations

  • Better support remote working to boost productivity.
  • Future-proof the business to attract the best talent.
  • Instill governance, control, security and compliance

Results

  • A more agile company for the modern age
  • Enhanced security posture
  • Eliminate or lower capex investment

In today’s modern working environment, people need to be ‘always connected’ so they can complete every task as quickly as possible.

But despite being one of the UK’s leading growth fund managers with £1.2bn net assets, and backing world-changing technologies from some of the UK’s best universities and research institutions, Parkwalk was reliant on yesterday’s IT.

The on-premise infrastructure that was cutting edge five years’ ago, was now ageing and starting to place the company at a disadvantage. Remote working was challenging. To access the files they needed to perform their job, the consultants had to either be physically in the office, or connect via a VPN, which was slow and cumbersome.

Needing to keep pace with change and transform its operations for the modern workplace, Parkwalk decided to move to new premises. In the process, it sought to upgrade its infrastructure so it could properly embrace current trends.

In transitioning to an agile, cloud-based model, Parkwalk hoped to leverage the best technologies available to service its clients, while wrapping everything in the principles of good governance to safeguard and retain control of its data, and ensure ongoing compliance with the heavily regulated FCA.

“Atech was incredibly professional, efficient and helpful in modernising our business. Now we operate on cutting-edge infrastructure to match the world-changing innovations we invest in.”

Enrico D’Angelo, Finance Director, Parkwalk Advisors

Designing Parkwalk 3.0

As a leading UK Azure Cloud Service Provider (CSP), Parkwalk chose Atech to support its transformation. Taking them on a cloud-based journey to modernise its way of working, Atech used its tried and tested methodology to redesign Parkwalk’s environment. Aligning the business with modern workplace requirements, now it doesn’t matter whether the consultants are in the office, on client site or working from home, they have everything they need to be productive and remain protected at all times.

The transformation focused around the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, which includes OneDrive Sharepoint, Teams and Intune. As well as delivering a new office environment that would befit a progressive organisation that actively seeks to invest in the latest information technologies.

OneDrive Sharepoint

To enable remote working, Atech migrated Parkwalk to the cloud. Now, its consultants can access the information they need anytime, anywhere with ease, and without needing to battle the VPN. And users can sync their folders to their desktop, which enables them to work offline if required.

Furthermore, with all the data now stored in the cloud, it frees up valuable, expensive storage space on Parkwalk’s physical servers.

Teams

To enable greater collaboration, Atech helped Parkwalk to adopt teams. A central hub of activity, it brings people, content, apps, productivity and communication tools into shared spaces that Parkwalk’s consultants are already using.

By embracing modern meetings, Teams allows the consultants to review relevant content and past conversations ahead of the meeting so the time they spend is more productive. As well as enabling others to join in remotely using audio conferencing and video.

Teams also helps Parkwalk to attract the best talent, since it enables the business to empower its employees, allows them to engage with the business and each other in new ways that help the business stay at the cutting edge.

InTune

To simplify and secure Parkwalk’s operations, Atech implemented InTune since it supports the remote workforce and protects data at all times.

Integrating with over 2,500 SaaS applications, Parkwalk’s consultants have access to the tools they need to best serve their clients. And with single sign-on enabled, it removes any barriers to access that might impact productivity.

But perhaps Intune’s greatest asset is its security, providing protection to Parkwalk’s devices with the ability to remotely wipe data, set alerts that notify users of active threat analytics and data tracking.

Cloud App Security gives Parkwalk enterprise-grade protection, while Advanced Threat Analytics goes beyond basic network security software to consider behavioural analytics that can identify advanced threats in near real time. Identity Manager gives Parkwalk on-premise identity and access management, while Enterprise Mobility Management controls the corporate applications and data that its consultants can access when working remotely.

A new office experience

Parkwalk was keen to give its employees the ‘wow!’ factor on their first day in the new office. To achieve this, Atech recommended the company adopt a laptop-only model, using Microsoft Surface devices. Not only are they some of the best devices currently available, they meet the company’s requirements for today and for the next 3 years, work seamlessly with Microsoft 365, and in the event of an office disaster, employees can simply work from home to continue business-as-usual.

Atech also created a leading-edge Zoom Meetings Pro conference facility. Now the team was powered and connected by the best technology to boost overall productivity, and able to share screens and co-annotate documents for more interactive meetings.

“Atech has shown us a way of using technology to smash our competition out of the park. By reinventing our business with a really good, modern system, we now have the tools to ensure better governance and greater control, so our data remains safe, and our business compliant, at all times.”

Boosting productivity and the bottom line

The six-week project was completed out-of-office hours so it didn’t affect business-as-usual. As a result, Parkwalk encountered zero downtime during the transformation process.

By creating a modern workplace, the team now has the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, and still feel connected to the office through a single sign-on for a seamless working experience.

What’s more, the organisation expected that the transformation would be a costly one, and that the cost of this new modern workplace would exceed the running costs of the outdated on-premise model. In fact, the investment and the running costs turned out to be far lower, meaning not only was productivity boosted, and the end user experience enhanced, but it was cheaper too. This is typical for what we see with our clients, with opex savings ranging from 30-50% in most cases.

Through its enhanced security posture, and by staying on top of its risk profile through the managed service, Parkwalk maintains an above average security score in its Microsoft 365 environment.

“The goal was to create a technology platform that enabled our business to scale, while leveraging the benefits that modern tech has to offer. We got all that and more. Through Atech, they showed us the possibilities of the cloud, sharing a vision of how modern companies work and then helping us to see how our business could be transformed in a way that met our exact requirements. The bonus was it eliminated the need for any capex investment, since everything is included within our MS365 license.”

 

See how Atech can support you

Preparing for the modern workplace is about more than a simple cloud migration. Your infrastructure needs to be managed and optimised 24/7 to ensure it continues to add value to the business, while demonstrating compliance and security. This is all part of the Atech service.