Background
Background

Client Profile

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.

Client Testimonial

“We engaged Simultech IT to manage all our IT needs. They upgraded our servers and migrated our emails to Office 365; all done with minimal downtime. Simultech IT also dealt with 3rd party suppliers within the Netherlands to make sure all of our IT services were migrated over in time. Simultech IT’s staff were friendly and highly experienced in a wide range of technologies and were our first point of contact for all IT related issues our internal staff faced during the transition. I highly recommend their services”

Executive Summary

Simultech IT were hired by Wallich and Matthes to manage the IT transition for a company split. Simultech IT were 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.

Simultech IT achieved this within seven months, by communicating effectively, working closely with local teams and going the extra mile.

Background

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 have 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

Simultech IT Appointed As International Project to Lead

Simultech IT was appointed to deliver the transition project. Managing Director Bharat Gorsia had prior experience working for Martins Brokers London office. CEO Stephen Welch selected Simultech 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 Simultech IT carried out replication between the two sites to enable this.

In addition to the Netherlands office, Simultech 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 are compliant with regulations on email retention. Simultech 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, Simultech 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. Simultech 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

Simultech IT led on the necessary change policies and processes. The existing desktop environment was heavily restricted. Working to the Group CEO, Simultech IT reviewed and customised group policies to relax this, while also adhering to the security policy.

Simultech 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, Simultech 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 Simultech IT worked with closely to deliver outstanding results.

Background

Successful Transition and Local Handover within Seven Months

Simultech IT successfully delivered the project within seven months.

By upgrading software, Wallich and Matthes have 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 Simultech 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 Simultech IT as a knowledgeable, expert partner, with excellent communication and a commitment to outstanding delivery.