Here are a couple of case studies that highlight our overall approach to IT support and systems management.
Case Study 1 – Commercial Client
We have been working with this particular client since 2005, during which time they have grown from a very small company with less than 10 staff in total, to an award-winning property maintenance company with approximately 50 office based staff, plus 60 on call-engineers.
In 2012 we completed a project that will enable our client to leverage their existing systems to start franchising their business operation – with the aim of growing the company from their traditional London base to nationwide coverage. We are currently in the early stages of project-managing a move to a cloud-based telecommunication and CRM system, and another project investigating virtualising the existing infrastructure in the cloud to allow for greater growth potential and vastly improved Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity.
ICT have managed our client’s increasing IT needs with the expansion of the business and have been instrumental in allowing them to grow at a rapid rate, while continuing to provide excellent customer service for their staff.
Here are some key areas of improvement to their systems that we have made:
- Expanded the network infrastructure from 1 server and 7 PC’s to an environment that houses 5 servers, 50 PC’s and 60 hand-held PDA devices (used by engineers to access the Service Management System when off-site and at customer premises)
- Assisted with moving to a substantially bigger office space including managing of the IT move, working with cabling specialists when required and migrating the entire office over the course of a weekend with no significant outage to the business in terms of uptime
- Managed and implemented the move to their current Service Management System (Siclops) and current finance system (Exchequer), from previous systems the business had outgrown
- Performed extensive work on the integration between the finance system and the Service Management System allowing for significant improvements in terms of management reporting and systems reliability
- Expansion of the network infrastructure to be able to handle the high call levels they receive and the speed with which they need to be able to process them
- Worked with them on drawing up a Disaster Recovery plan, staff handbook and meet monthly with management team to ensure continued development of their systems
- Set-up RDP (Remote Desktop) teleworking for management team and key users that require the option to be able to work from outside of the main office
- Set up a test environment for their Service Management System, for staff training and for testing upgrades and systems configuration changes
- Migration of their whole email system to a more robust solution
- Introduced a Cloud Based Project Management system (Basecamp) to track and monitor longer term projects, this includes giving access to this software for key workers on the project (both in house and third party)
- Preparing existing systems for the move to a franchise operation. This project included the commissioning of custom coding for their job booking system, designing and implementing new business processes, and configuring existing systems to handle the different legal standpoint of franchisees, while retaining the existing capabilities of the business.
In addition to the above systems improvements, we also provide the following services for this client on a regular, ongoing basis:
- Regular (daily) scheduled on-site visits to carry our pro-active development work on all of the systems as well as providing ongoing support
- Management, implementation and ongoing support for their Service Management System and their finance system, as well as ongoing support for all other systems (Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office, general desktop applications, remote user working)
- Testing of system upgrades prior to roll-out
- Management and performance tuning of SQL back-end for their applications ensuring that they are running as efficiently as possible at all times
- Provide 24 /7 mission-critical support for staff, as they are a 24 /7 company as they deal with emergency maintenance requirements as well as project work so it is key that all of their systems are available at any time of day
- Installation, configuration and management of all hand-held devices. This includes remote support for their on-site engineers and looking after any Blackberry’s and PDA’s within the organisation.
- Systems backup and recovery
- Procurement of all hardware and software as required. This has included replacement of all servers, installation of a backup server and test environment, and the implementation of many new systems.
- 24×7 critical device monitoring. Our systems monitor all the business-critical servers, switches, routers and firewalls around the clock alerting our engineers immediately should a failure be detected
ICT have formed a very strong and long lasting partnership with this company, helping with their business growth every step of the way. We feel it is key to point out at this stage that much of the work we do with them is of a pro-active nature. While our helpdesk is available at all hours to handle any day to day issues as they arise (normally making use of our remote support tools), we also utilise our on-site time with them to continually improve the systems in place as well as implementing a variety of projects and bespoke solutions as outlined above. For any new third-party projects ICT work with them from the tender process through to completion, providing advice throughout the entire process through to the actual implementation.
Case Study 2 – A London Producing Theatre Company
ICT Partnerships have been working alongside this particular theatre company for around 6 years. The theatre company, like many arts venues we look after, have remained roughly the same size over the time that we have been looking after them. However, ICT have worked with them during that time to ensure they are maximising any investment within the organisation as well as pro-actively implementing network changes.
- Set-up of IT user forum, bi-monthly meetings for key department heads to discuss current and future IT needs as well as look at any ongoing issues within the organisation
- Installation and migration of existing server to new server and new email system (Microsoft Exchange)
- Implementation of Disaster Recovery strategy
- Migration from their old accounts system to their current system
- Working with Blackbaud who provided their previous box office solution (Patron Edge) to implement patches, new releases and provide on-site server monitoring and tuning
- Management of the migration to a new cloud-based ticketing system (Spektrix)
- Managed migration of website to new web design company and providing hosting for website and a number of micro-sites. This includes configuration of cloud-based hosting servers and full testing
- Ensuring PCI DSS compliance within the organisation, both in terms of online compliance and overall compliance within their in house network infrastructure, including regular security audits
- Providing full Business Critical Out-of-Hours support for Box Office and theatre staff
- Being an active part of the tender process for their new Box Office system. This included providing advice, sitting in on all product demonstrations and asking key questions to potential providers
- Regular (twice weekly) on-site visits
- Working with the Theatre company to help choose their new telephony solution that will be implemented towards the end of this year
- Regular management meetings to ensure all of their IT needs are being met, including providing budgetary recommendations to allow for ongoing improvements within the organisation
As with all of our clients that are around the size of the theatre company, we recommend regular scheduled site visits to allow continued improvements within the organisation as well as providing excellent day to day support. When providing on-site staff, we essentially try and limit the number of people who will make these regular visits – we usually assign one or two main ICT engineers to cover scheduled visits. This ties in with our approach to essentially provide not only an IT team to help support and nurture the business, but also an IT Manager who would take overall responsibility on projects and continued system improvements.