Case Study

Douglas Chemists case study

Enduring business partnerships enable seamless IT solutions

Enabling seamless IT at Douglas Chemists: a relationship case study


Key points:

  • Client name: Douglas Chemists
  • Client need: IT support for 12 head-office staff to manage 29 franchise stores and 220 endpoints
  • Project duration: 2016 to present
  • Project location: Australia
  • Key outcome: Years of proactive IT services management resulted in easy work-from-home transition during the COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Key people: Cassie Burton, Douglas Chemists IT manager; Sean Dendle, Cymax founder and CEO 

Douglas Chemists is a national brand with national IT requirements. These are requirements Cymax is able to meet proactively, as well as through remedial support as required. But the emphasis is very much on the proactive side.

As the realities of COVID-19 have been changing the world of work, Cymax’s long-term proactive support for clients has helped them transition their operations in this troubling time with minimal business disruption.

High among these clients is Douglas Chemists. Read on for a case study of how the strong relationship between them, as client, and Cymax, as their managed IT Services and cloud provider, resulted in the operational agility to respond to the unexpected.

Douglas Chemists – leading pharmacy management


Douglas Chemists is a franchise group that manages 29 pharmacy stores across Australia from an operational head office in Brisbane. Brands including Priceline Pharmacy, Discount Drug Stores, Soul Pattinson Chemists and Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse make up the collective that provides medications and health advice to customers nation-wide.

Managing an overall in-store team of more than 550, the 12-strong operations team at Douglas Chemists relies on a comprehensive IT solution. It’s a solution Cymax is perfectly positioned to provide.

The key person at Douglas Chemists is Cassie Burton who acts as IT manager and works closely with Cymax.

“From the first meeting, I had an instant rapport – that feeling you get when you know a company is going to be an asset to your team,” Cassie explains.

Founder and CEO of Cymax, Sean Dendle, has ensured that initial rapport was an accurate representation of Cymax’s abilities. Employing a team of experienced IT engineers, Cymax offers full-spectrum IT support to Douglas Chemists and its workers.

“Any challenges Douglas Chemists have, they know we have their back,” Sean explains.

This includes the challenges faced by Douglas Chemists due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Making a connection

The relationship between Cymax and Douglas Chemists was born out of circumstance. In 2016, Douglas Chemists wanted more from their current IT managed services provider – but they weren’t getting it. This shortfall was top of mind for Cassie Burton while she was attending a Pitcher Partners “Tech Talk” that happened to feature the presentation “Cyber Security: Big Business for You and Online Offenders” from Sean Dendle and Bradley Smith, an Account Executive from Dell.

Approaching Sean following the presentation, Cassie made the connection that led to a vitally important business relationship. Cymax and Douglas Chemists signed on to work together less than a month later.

Soon Cymax was in charge of Douglas Chemists’ IT management and tasked with the job of keeping the franchise management company on sure IT footing going forward.

Fast forward to 2020, and both the healthcare and business sectors were facing unprecedented circumstances. However, Douglas Chemists was already ready for just about anything.

The COVID-19 challenge

The coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant upset to businesses all across Australia. With many companies transitioning to working from home, their IT requirements took a sudden, sometimes overwhelming, turn. Not so for Douglas Chemists.

With the assistance of the dedicated Cymax cloud support team, this was a smooth transition. It was simply a case of acquiring a few extra pieces of hardware – laptops with access to the existing cloud-based server environment – and then training staff on how to use Zoom and Basecamp to conduct office interaction.

“It took less than half a day’s effort,” Cassie says.

“Compare that to stories you hear of some companies taking two weeks to make the work-from-home transition. We were extremely well prepared.”

Much of the technical side of the preparation was down to Cymax’s IT management. Before the pandemic, the Douglas Chemists team already worked across two offices. Thus, they required an IT solution that was location-independent.

Cymax helped to ensure that Douglas Chemists’ digital environment was (and remains) entirely cloud-based and secure. When it came time for the staff of 12 to suddenly all work from home, all the Douglas Chemists team had to do was set up their laptops at home and log-in as normal.

The only hiccups were that some staff needed better laptops and when staff tried to log in to Zoom meetings via the Cymax-managed portal.

Issue one was resolved with a quick trip to the local computer store. Issue two (only a problem because logging in to Zoom via the meeting platform itself offers better functionality) was resolved with a few quick training phone calls. Rolling out the comms management platform of Basecamp went without a hitch.

The legacy of proactive management of Douglas Chemists’ IT needs meant the challenges presented by COVID-19 were minimal overall. Transitioning to working from home was all but seamless.

It’s a good thing too, because the pandemic has made stable and effective pharmacy services even more crucial in public health.

The right team for the job

Cymax leader Sean Dendle is one of Douglas Chemists’ main points of contact but he’s by no means a one-man band. With a team of highly skilled engineers under the Cymax umbrella, Sean is able to assure that every client receives first-class service.

“With Cymax there’s no changing level of support that you see with larger companies like Telstra,” Cassie explains. “I have built up a rapport with the Cymax engineers I work with. Matthew Hawkins, Brent Sellin, Yasantha Warawita and Connach Bretherton – to name just a few – have been amazing to work with.”

Cymax’s client-first approach also dovetails with a dedication to a two-way learning environment. Cymax doesn’t just fix IT issues, they also find ways to teach clients about those issues. This empowers clients to be able to handle similar problems themselves.

Proactive IT managed services you can access

Cymax is one of Australia’s leading managed IT services companies. With decades of industry experience, we put our clients first to ensure bespoke IT solutions tailored specifically to their needs.

If you’re looking for expert IT managed services, get in touch today.

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