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Opera Australia hits the right note in IT transformation with Tecala

Opera Australia’s multi-year IT transformation program with Tecala results in outstanding IT performance gains and cost-savings.

Founded in 1956, Opera Australia is the nation’s principal opera company, presenting more than 600 performances each year. As well as serving its dedicated subscriber base, Opera Australia introduces thousands of new people to the art each year through innovative productions, such as the now iconic Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

A program of transformation

In 2019, under John Horn’s leadership, Opera Australia appointed Rasim Ustun as their ICT Manager. In consultation with the organisation, Mr. Ustun developed a 3-year IT transformation strategy. This was in response to the realisation that the IT and communications platforms supporting Opera Australia had become outdated and inflexible. In addition, the new IT department had realised that its technology service level requirements were not being met by its existing managed service provider, with their levels of support falling short of what the company required to ensure smooth ongoing operations.

Essentially, Opera Australia had ‘outgrown’ its existing partner and needed a more dynamic relationship with a strategic IT partner to ensure that ongoing investment in IT remained in lockstep with its business vision.

The success mid-size organisations are having is significantly enhanced if their business vision and IT are aligned. According to Gartner, aligning IT with a business’s strategy is achieved through the ‘five capabilities of alignment,’ which focus on great leadership, disciplined IT investment, compelling vision, and a continuous 3-5-year plan that’s supported by a strategic relationship with your technology partner.

With Tecala’s support, Opera Australia has been able to turn their IT into a platform for enabling change, which has resulted in being able to adapt faster and drive continual optimisations to accelerate business growth. Through the pandemic, this helped ensure the organisation’s survival.

Over the course of the three-year engagement, Opera Australia had started consultations within the organisation, to understand the key stakeholders’ requirements, their concerns, as well as analysis of their employee’s requirements from technology.

One of the main challenges identified by the Opera Australia team through this process was that its existing technology platforms lacked innovation to enable an efficient and flexible environment. And with research also showing that people in the organisation had very ‘little trust in IT’ and its capabilities, Opera Australia needed a partner who could provide state of the art IT systems and platforms, while delivering support that could earn the organisation’s trust.

Over the past few years, Tecala has been focusing on developing dynamic modern workplaces for its clients. These are environments where the business systems, operations and platforms have been successfully designed and implemented to meet the physical, technological, and cultural needs of the people and the organisation as a whole.

With people being one of the most powerful forces for innovation in any organisation, ensuring they receive the best possible experiences from IT starts with understanding how the business’s employees and clients operate, interact, communicate, and collaborate on a daily basis. From a technology point of view, it then means empowering them with the things they need to do all the above in the most enjoyable, effortless, and productive way possible.

“We realised we had to make some significant changes to our infrastructure to ensure it would be able to support our future plans,” says Rasim Ustun, ICT Manager, Opera Australia. “We set about looking at a range of alternatives to establish what would be the best fit for the organisation.”

A more flexible, cloud-enabled, workplace

The IT strategy put together by Ustun addressed all aspects of the Opera Australia’s technology requirements, including IT policies and procedures for the organisation, the development of a backup and disaster recovery capability, and a robust cyber security plan. Importantly, bringing back innovation to the organisation to enable growth was key.

Ustun says that one of the first projects to be completed was a migration from Opera Australia’s ageing data centre into the Tecala private cloud. “Some of our servers were around 12 years old and so it made sense to move our applications and databases to a modern, best of breed platform.”

Next, attention was turned to upgrading all the company’s devices from Windows 7 to Windows 10. This step was designed to improve performance, increase security, and ensure compatibility with new software packages.

The collaborative focus then moved on to delivering a unified communication and collaboration platform. Tecala led with the replacement of a legacy Avaya telephone system with Microsoft Teams. This significantly improved the ability of staff members to manage calls and route them between locations.

“It also gave us the ability to have staff working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns of 2021,” says Ustun. “Without this infrastructure in place, we would have been unable to continue operating as normal during this period.”

The existing company-wide data network was also upgraded to better handle future growth. Existing equipment was replaced with Juniper core and access layer network, significantly boosting capacity and improving application performance for all users.

“We also deployed a tool that allows the Tecala team to remotely configure and manage user devices. If a home-based staff member is having problems with their PC, a technician can assess the situation and take the steps needed to get it back up and running.”

To provide additional reliability and security, Tecala also configured a cloud-based disaster recovery capability for Opera Australia. Should an incident occur, core applications and databases can be quickly restored to minimise the impact on day-to-day activity.

2022 and beyond – a modern era for technology at Opera Australia

Under Ustun’s guidance, Opera Australia understood that the modern era requires a business and people management platform that can take advantage of digitalisation in the workplace. It’s essential that this modern workplace platform is unified and cloud-enabled, provides end-to-end visibility, and is accessible to people working beyond the traditional boundaries of your managed network. Early adopters of these solutions are seeing significant advantages in productivity and cost efficiencies, thereby priming their businesses for growth.

With Opera Australia now 24 months into its three-year agreement with Tecala, further opportunities for future projects are being identified.

This year will see Opera Australia roll out its SharePoint and Teams governance project that will significantly improve communication and collaboration between the different people at the organisation.

Keeping the working environment safe and secure is another ongoing challenge, with a key criterion being end-user awareness training. So, along with multi-factor authentication, a CASB implementation, and penetration and vulnerability testing, Opera Australia will be delivering an on-going end user education project that will keep its people fully informed and supported.

Tecala will also be providing an extension of the Opera IT team for special events, such as the popular Handa Opera on Sydney harbour. This ensures additional IT capacity is available for the length of the show and provides ongoing assistance throughout.

“Tecala now has a full understanding of our operations and will continue to provide the support we require to keep everything up and running in the years ahead”

Opera Australia is a living, breathing example of an organisation that’s realised the importance of creating a people-first approach to IT. By building trust in IT, providing state of the art IT systems and platforms, and delivering ongoing support from a local team of technical experts, Opera Australia is realising that when you put your people first, they are empowered to show up as their best selves and are supported to maximise their potential and excel in their roles.

With Tecala, we now have in place a valuable technology partner who will continue to work alongside us as we deliver future performances… “Their industry-leading technical knowledge and experience will ensure our IT infrastructure remains up-to-date and able to provide the support we require as a vibrant and growing organisation.
Rasim Ustun
ICT Manager, Opera Australia

Why a Technology Capability Assessment?

We use our Technology Capabilities Assessment to engage directly with you and your teams, to measure how well your existing ICT solutions, services and platforms are meeting your business objectives.

Once we fully understand your business dynamics we’ll provide recommendations on the solutions and long-term strategies you need to ensure your people and business enjoy the very best experiences from your IT platforms, services and applications.

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