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"A Comfort Blanket"
Established in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail manufactures and distributes the finest range of malt whiskies and spirits from its distilleries in Benromach and Grantown on Spey. With a retail premises on South Street, Elgin, the company – which boasts 150 staff – recently launched the oldest whisky in the world.
Behind the scenes of this reputable brand – operating on both a B2B and B2C level – is a six-strong IT department. And recognising that they can’t be everywhere and do everything all at once was an important step for them to take.
With a strong dependence on IT operations – including network infrastructure, cybersecurity, software, hardware and assets – for almost 20 years the IT team at Gordon & MacPhail has worked alongside ITP Solutions on custom programming, specialist support and bespoke solutions to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as it should.
From the very beginning, ITP understood what it was that Gordon & MacPhail needed to support their end-to-end business model. In the early stages of the partnership, ITP offered specialist support in custom application design – as well as implementing network infrastructure and security, including diagnostics, design and integration procedures.
When Margaret Ramage, IT manager at Gordon & MacPhail, first joined the team 17 years ago as the then sole in-house IT specialist, she quickly realised she could rely on Sandy and the ITP team.
“ITP Solutions’ technical and development team is very capable and has supported us over the years with complex, bespoke applications. Moreso, the strength of ITP is that they have made themselves a part of our team – a comfort blanket that we can go to for security and infrastructure support,”
Margaret, Gordon & MacPhail
Although the in-house IT team has now grown, the scope and success of the business has seen ITP Solutions continue to work alongside Gordon & MacPhail to ensure their IT systems remain at the leading edge.
Over the years, ITP has continued to support the company, helping it to move away from legacy systems and adopt the latest technology – while remaining on call with specialist infrastructure and cybersecurity advice.
“ITP acts as if they are part of the in-house team,” added Margaret. “They’re very quick and really do support us. We just can’t fault them.”
At present, ITP Solutions is focusing its efforts on sourcing and installing server replacements, and managing firewall configurations, software updates and installations.
Margaret commented: “Although I have a very capable team, often we’ll reach out to ITP for a sense check or more specialised advice on areas that myself and my team don’t have the capacity to manage.”
“We’ve had members of ITP’s team come onsite – once for two weeks to support us when he had several projects in the works,” said Margaret.
“ITP came and offered support and training to one of my staff. They’ve always been very good at helping to train my team, giving them additional skills, knowledge and confidence when we roll out new systems and hardware.”
This free exchange of knowledge – of not gatekeeping the complexities of the work carried out – has been a cornerstone of ITP Solutions and Gordon & MacPhail’s long working relationship. And the expertise flows both ways, as the IT team educated ITP on its processes…
Margaret said: “It’s not just about understanding the business; it’s about understanding us – the IT team – and our capabilities. They understand my standards and they understand the team's standards, and what’s important to us – they really do know us”.
“The ITP development team, for example, understood how our end-to-end business process worked and the complexities within it. They were able to write and provide bespoke software for our team by using this knowledge – which in turn has been a simpler, more cost effective solution for the company.”
On several occasions, ITP Solutions has visited Gordon & MacPhail onsite to help carry out registered industry assessments.
On these visits, ITP conducts walk-throughs around the site with the team, sharing advice and guidance on best practices, potential risk factors and improvement strategies.
Sandy of ITP Solutions has committed to this service annually, working with the team and discussing what they’re currently doing and where improvements can be made – there are no limitations to what they will do for their clients.
Margaret said: “ITP won’t try to sell you something you don’t need and are always eager to help – we’ve found ourselves on many occasions seeking out their advice on new software extensions and integrations, technical procedures and updates, security updates and any other industry related qualms we might have.”
“For me, ITP is very much part of the team at Gordon & MacPhail, helping us to grow in both understanding and confidence,” said Margaret.
“They appreciate that we have our own, in-house IT provision and have integrated themselves within that. They have been a constant for us for nearly 20 years, working with several of our staff for many of those years.”
With Gordon & MacPhail restructuring its team across a technical stream and a business stream, ITP Solutions has now taken on a more dominant role in the management and maintenance of network security and governance in the technical stream.
“They’re not a company that just wants to do the service themselves for financial gain,” said Margaret. “They want to do the best for my team, so we can do the best for our business.
“They’ll come and sit with the team, taking them through different training – virtual disaster recovery, security, servers, etc. – and helping them grow in confidence. They appreciate that we have a team and are respectful of that, tailoring their service to us and our needs.
“Sandy and the team at ITP have been a constant over the years with very few changes – which is really helpful. They provide us with the comfort and security to do our job to the highest level.”