Client Case Study: Improving business productivity and scalability



Queenstown tourism business Glenorchy Air is a family-owned and operated scenic flight company that’s been in business for 30 years. Rated the Number One tour and activity in Queenstown on Tripadvisor, the business was thriving until the pandemic hit and it scaled down extensively.

James showing off spectacular Milford Sound.jpg

Owner James Stokes decided to use this downtime proactively – with support from Regional Business Partners Network funding – to completely remodel the backend of how they ran their business.

“I took over the business in 2019 and we ‘made do’ with the booking and communication systems and processes we had in place. When we were busy, in the heat of battle, it was all on. We just dealt with it, not realising why everything was so stressful.”

When Covid turned off the tourism visitor tap, he had time to properly assess how the business operated.

“We needed to work out how to make the business run better when the tourism industry recovered, and streamlining our IT was a key area.”

“I’m not particularly computer literate but I realised that working on some Macs, some PC’s and using different communication tools like WhatsApp, different Dropbox files, Google Drive and our phones, having everything all over the place, wasn’t working for us.

“We knew Both Brains General Manager Jenni Powell through previous business connections and when we realised what she and owner and founder Ryan could do to help us, it really was a lightbulb moment.”

Key objectives

Both Brains Managing Director and founder Ryan Howard and his team says Glenorchy Air needed robust systems in place to ensure they could operate in a streamlined environment ready for growth.

“Customer service is key as a tourism business, so ensuring the team were trained, confident and competent with the tools and systems we introduced was important,” he says.

“The goal was to ensure they had fully integrated and intuitive systems to manage their workload in preparation for business growth when the borders re-opened. Our advice centred around best practice for maximum productivity, including advice on available and applicable business tools.

“We decided to cut back on the number of applications they had in place and focus on maximising use of license inclusions. Microsoft 365 and Azure offer solutions for connectivity, collaboration, seamless day-to-day running of a business and easy scalability.”

“Moving to the cloud resulted in easier collaboration for the Glenorchy Air team who are based in different locations at different points of the day, such as James, their pilots, the booking office and shuttle drivers.”

Essential to the IT overhaul was ensuring that James was comfortable with the tools available to maximise staff productivity with current and future team members, and that the whole team was up to speed with the procedures needed to work remotely in the case of lockdowns.

“Following our initial Teams calls which outlined our problems, Ryan came up with solutions and we trusted his judgement and expertise on that,” says James. “We slowed down the process a little because we have a fairly complex range of documents and manuals that are subject to Civil Aviation Authority sign offs and audits, so it was vitally important that all our ducks were in a row at all times in case of an audit. It’s critical to our ongoing operation.”


The Both Brains team migrated Glenorchy Air documents, communications and booking channels from multiple systems to the Microsoft 365 Suite as well as migrating Line of Business (LOB) applications to Azure. Glenorchy Air moved over to Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, additional licenses were added and Multifactor Authentication introduced. Staff training was an essential part of the process.

“The whole system was put into place very efficiently and training was simple but very effective,” says James. “We found Teams easy and intuitive to work with and changing to shared docs pretty straightforward."

Glenorchy Air in flight.jpg

“We can log in from any workplace by computer or on our phones, keep communications specific to one individual, specific to flights or even our pick ups and drop offs. It makes everything so much quicker, easier and safer.

“Ryan built an intranet system for us which ensures all operations are run from a single point, I’m very much impressed with that.

“Productivity has increased because there’s no more timewasting on anything, and if we had to go into lockdown tomorrow everything would run seamlessly.”

James says the company is now in a position to look at future growth thanks to better backend processes enabling the team to focus on increased levels of customer service.

“I’d definitely say any business owner should consider talking to Both Brains if they want their IT systems to run better. They have been a godsend for us and our business.”