Almost a decade ago, specialist business finance broking firm Finlease became a sectoral leader in establishing remote workforce capabilities. Using Canon Business Services (formerly Harbour IT) to help them establish virtual private network (VPN) pipelines to on-premise Citrix servers, Finlease became one of the few in a risk-averse sector to provide off-site connectivity.
Fast forward to 2020 and with a workforce now numbering 85 across Australia and the Philippines, it was clear that although Finlease was now operating on a hybrid Citrix physical server/cloud model, the company’s IT infrastructure needed to evolve to meet requirements and continue to provide workforce flexibility.
Finlease once again turned to Canon Business Services (CBS) to provide an updated solution that would accommodate its steady growth.
Established in Sydney 1989 with the aim of offering SME companies with better alternatives for equipment finance than they were getting from their banks, Finlease quickly found a market niche.
With a philosophy centred on doing a job well and being a highly-present and trusted ‘face’ for SMEs seeking finance, Finlease became the go-to broker for industry groups that included aviation, road transport, boats, manufacturing, packaging, forestry, software and more.
As a privately owned small business, Finlease’s dedicated and long-serving staff also gained a reputation for their ability to meet clients wherever and whenever, from local fast-food cafés to farms and from construction sites to clients’ homes.
The Finlease model centred on having staff physically close to their customer base and so satellite offices began to emerge in places such as Mackay (Queensland), Orange (New South Wales) and Humpty Doo (Northern Territory).
Yet, as Finlease discovered, such growth can come at a high cost when IT infrastructure doesn’t keep pace, and although front-facing customer processes remained unaffected, at the backend the team grappled with increasing system downtime and delays onboarding new staff.
A VPN that had originally only been designed to connect a small percentage of the workforce for short periods was also limited to use on specific devices—often staff members’ own—via a VPN app.
The protocol not only struggled to offer stable and continuous workflows; it lacked the flexibility of mobile connectivity. And enterprise-grade security and monitoring required more layers of configuration and maintenance, contributing to increasing complexity and limiting scalability.
Meanwhile, the 400–500 new transactions Finlease was completing per month meant data storage was also becoming a particular concern. Solutions such as adding additional on-premise servers had proved to be only a short-term fix and the company’s IT Manager—who was always the first point of contact for IT issues—was spending increasing amounts of her time troubleshooting system dropouts.
COVID constraints added increasing urgency to resolve the issues.