Case Study: Unison transitions to cloud-based infrastructure

Case study Unison

“I am part of a Not for Profit Managers group and I often recommend KMT if they are looking for a managed service provider in Melbourne. I find them friendly, knowledgeable, and prompt. The team at KMT goes out of their way to ensure our issues are solved as quickly as possible, one time I can recently recall is during the first lockdown we had to revert to remote working and needed some laptops, they were up and running with our staff in only a few days. KMT understands the urgency and works with us to resolve our issues right away. I can always get hold of our IT support team to get help with my queries when needed.”

Sam Maksud, Unison

Information Technology Services Used

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  • kmt service iconStrategy
  • kmt service iconCloud
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Head Office



Not-for-profit organisation

End Users


Office Locations


Unison was created when Yarra Community Housing (YCH) and Urban Communities Limited (UCL) merged to create a single entity. The merger brought together more than 130 employees across over 12 sites.

Unison provides a broad range of housing services for owners, renters, and people who are homeless. Its mission is to create vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities where everyone feels welcome, safe, and proud of where they live.

Operating across Victoria and Adelaide, Unison provides affordable housing to people on low incomes, social housing to people on benefits, and transitional housing to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Unison also leases and manages private rentals and is an experienced Owners Corporation Manager. Unison aspires to create mixed tenure communities where residents are linked with social and economic opportunities and able to easily access local services.

Managing over 2,700 properties across Victoria and Adelaide, means many of Unison’s employees work remotely. Employees were having difficulty entering tenancy and maintenance data while offsite because the ICT infrastructure was spread out across multiple sites. Employees were also unable to access real-time information and experienced frequent hardware failures because the server infrastructure was at capacity.

Who are Unison?

Unison is a top, licensed real estate agent that provides a wide range of housing services for investors, homeowners, renters, and even homeless people. The company leases and manages a variety of market rental properties on behalf of private investors. It is involved in managing residential and commercial properties on behalf of owner-occupiers, private investors, and the government.

Unison has the vision to create communities that thrive. They are committed to creating vibrant, diverse, and sustainable communities where everyone will feel welcome, safe, and proud of they live and conduct businesses. To make this possible, the company is involved in a range of properties. They have options that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of people on benefits. They are also engaged in transitional houses for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Unison has a great deal of responsibility across Victoria and Adelaide. The company understands the need to keep its IT system in top shape since the housing needs of several families depend on them. They also understand the need to keep the system accountable to all partners and investors. From the point YCH and UCL merged to birth Unison, the company has strived to maintain its robust IT infrastructure. And that is why is a top, reliable IT managed service provider like KMT is onboard.

“Unison needed a reliable, safe and cost effective IT system that would support employees working offsite and help them better identify and respond to residents’ needs. They also required ICT infrastructure that would support the merging of two separate organisations into one entity.”


Driven by Unison's mission, a more innovative and nimble IT system was urgently needed.

Working remotely to keep communities safe

Like in other places around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia meant that businesses could not operate as they normally do. It was obvious that Unison had to adapt fast to keep the system running. There was a need to keep staff safe and also reduce the health risks to the communities. To comply with the lockdown and social distancing guidelines, staff had to start working remotely. This transition to an entirely new working environment is never easy. In addition, It was also pertinent that the transition is completed as quickly as possible. That is where having a proactive IT Managed Service Provider became essential.

As Unison’s  IT managed service provider, Kaine Mathrick Tech consumed all ICT infrastructure into Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing platform. Unison’s Telarus Private Network was connected to Azure via an express route.

A staff intranet and document management system was introduced using SharePoint and all emails were migrated to Exchange Online. Updating to Microsoft 365 gave staff access to internal communication tools including Skype for Business and Yammer, an enterprise social networking tool.

A strategic infrastructure that made sense

Over 35% of workstations were over five years old and several workstations were running on Windows XP which was no longer supported. This complex and dated IT environment resulted in increased downtime and high support costs. Another challenge was that YCH and UCL had their own systems and applications with no integration between them.

Summary of solutions provided:


  • All sites were previously migrated to Microsoft Azure, removing all server infrastructure from all sites, and allowing the client to centrally manage data.
  • Preparation of the IT environment to suit the needs of staff who will work from home during the pandemic
  • Procurement of additional hardware for staff, especially laptops that are equally as powerful as the office desktops
  • Configuring the new systems and supporting the staff to transition from working in the offices to remote working
  • A remote desktop farm was implemented to provide a similar platform and experience for all users, regardless of location
  • Helping Unison to change the way they work by moving primarily to a phone service
  • Being available to respond to issues that can arise from the transition and new working arrangements


  • Updated and centralised IT infrastructure that suits the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Fast response to the needs of the company to adapt to the challenges of the pandemic
  • Smooth transition from office to remote working arrangement for key staff members
  • Reduction of the health risks posed by the coronavirus to staff and the community
  • A robust IT infrastructure and system will help the company respond appropriately to future challenges.

Shifting to a professional managed IT service provider

After identifying the major problems, KMT implemented the perfect solution to each problem. A staff intranet and document management system was introduced using SharePoint and all emails were migrated to Exchange Online. Updating to Microsoft 365 gave staff access to internal communication tools including Skype for Business and Yammer, an enterprise social networking tool.

KMT built a Remote Desktop Services hosted environment to ensure all applications and desktops could be accessed safely from any location, at any time. KMT also updated workstations based on priority over a three-year period. In the first year, workstations over five years old were replaced, followed by workstations over three years old in the second year and all other workstations in the third year.

Devices were selected based on employee requirements with top-quality mobile devices provided to employees working offsite.

One of the most significant benefits of working with KMT is the confidence they radiate. The team at Unison understood the severity of the pandemic, and that business operations had to change immediately. KMT enabled them to do just that. In a true KMT style, they moved in swiftly and helped the company adapt quickly to the challenges of COVID-19.

Thanks to KMT’s thorough intervention, there has not been a disruption of Unison’s business activities during these dark days of COVID-19. The valuable services offered during this pandemic have immensely helped Unison provide an ongoing high level of services. According to Celine Savage, ‘it is business as usual for us even though 90% of Unison staff were working from home.’ This is what you should expect when you work with a reputable MSP like KMT.

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“The expert knowledge and guidance from KMT meant that our ability to collaborate between office sites and teams has improved dramatically.  We are now well placed to respond to changes quickly in the way people work and interact in the office.”

Cloud-based infrastructure increased productivity & reduced downtime

The creative and cost-effective IT solutions introduced by KMT ensured that YCH and UCL were able to seamlessly merge into one platform and organisation as Unison.

Moving to cloud-based infrastructure saved Unison a total of $180,000–$210,000 over a three-year period because they no longer have to pay for onsite hardware and servers, a managed firewall, or an internet link from their private network.

The expert IT management, improved ICT infrastructure, and updated devices mean employees experience less downtime and are able to provide an optimal service to their clients. The staff intranet provides employees with easy access to information, documents, systems, and applications which support staff productivity, efficiency, and compliance.

Employees can easily update information in real-time while working offsite which helps them better identify and respond to residents’ needs. Internal communication has also improved through the introduction of new online communication tools.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Services ensure all applications and desktops run on a secure server that supports staff mobility, allowing employees to work safely and efficiently from any location.

Benefits include

  • Improved administrative efficiency
  • Improved efficient IT Support with a dedicated Help Desk Team
  • Increased flexibility for workers with remote working solutions
  • Improved staff retention and user experience
  • Business growth even in tough market conditions
  • Power-saving and cost-efficient cloud solution
  • Increased Cyber security resilience  and flexibility
  • Removal of aged on-premise IT infrastructure

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