Netsurit proved that successful digital transformation does not begin with technology, but with overhauling the organisation with a customer-focused goal in mind.
Gamefinity and Filmfinity, formerly known as Ster-Kinekor Entertainment while still in the Primedia Group, were founded in mid-2018. Their core business is as the distributors and in-country partners for brands like Sony PlayStation, Sony Films, Disney, Warner Bros and more, bringing the world’s leading gaming entertainment content, products, film content and accessories to customers in South Africa.
The businesses first engaged with Netsurit in 2010, when the former IT manager needed to find a strong partner with various skills to support their Microsoft and VMware product support requirements. At that stage, the businesses had not yet embarked on a defined IT roadmap or standardisation programme.
“At the time of engagement, we had in-sourced IT,” says the Chief Financial Officer at Gamefinity and Filmfinity. “When you in-source IT, you need employees to perform the work internally; this takes internal IT resources and may require employees you do not have.”
The situation led to challenges with group technology and human resourcing issues. The IT systems were not in a stable state and there were days when the companies were unsure whether e-mails were coming through, making it challenging to conduct business. This was especially problematic as most of the contracts were with companies in US time zones, and e-mail was the main form of communication.
The business problem
Gamefinity and Filmfinity were seeking the certainty of a stable IT environment with daily management. They could no longer afford the administrative issues they were experiencing with in-sourced IT.
The businesses needed an IT services partner with strong Microsoft, VMware, security and IT staffing expertise. The provider also had to be in a position to advise and implement any new products or technologies that could save the businesses money, while at the same time, increase productivity.
“As we are in the entertainment industry, we needed to be at the forefront of technology and IT systems. It was imperative to ensure that our environment was well protected and in the event of any issues, we had a team available that could quickly assist us.”
Netsurit initially assisted with the replacement of all ageing servers and desktops, using VMware as the virtualisation platform. Virtualisation reduces capital and operating costs, minimises and even eliminates downtime, increases IT productivity and efficiency, and provides greater business continuity.
Filmfinity’s virtual desktop environment served the business well over a seven-year period. More recently, they embarked on a digital transformation journey using the Office 365 suite of tools.
“Microsoft Office 365 is designed to help organisations digitally transform workplace collaboration,” says Netsurit account executive Akash Munsaur. “Many customers use virtualisation, and they’re always looking for ways to cut costs and improve the user experience in virtualised environments.”
The move has proved to be extremely beneficial to Gamefinity and Filmfinity. “We no longer have to be office-based,” says the management team. “Now, if our CEO wants to access a common document, he can get it from either Microsoft OneDrive, which provides personal cloud storage, or the Microsoft Teams site, which is our unified communication and collaboration platform.
“With security and intellectual property being key to our business, we also needed to ensure that the solution provided was able to secure our business data while providing 24/7/365 access to it.”
The business change has assisted the various units to work together more closely, and more effectively. “We no longer have to rely on third-party tools to share data with our business partners, and we are being kept very busy as a result of new-found efficiencies.”
Following the roll-out of the solution, Gamefinity and Filmfinity have achieved steady cost savings from the IT team. “As with any technology, there was an initial cost associated, but luckily the partnership with Netsurit has allowed us to show a yearly savings process.
“A recent change proposed to us by our dedicated account executive Akash Munsaur allowed the business to realise a yearly saving of more than R500 000.”
Looking to the future
Gamefinity and Filmfinity view Netsurit as a key strategic IT partner for the years ahead. “Netsurit ensures that all solutions are tried and tested before being implemented, and cost-savings are also a great motivator.”