Challenge: LED (LED Leisure Management Ltd) is a charitable, not-for-profit organisation which aims to build on the range of cultural, sporting and physical activities. It employs 420 people, across 15 locations, and requires integrated data and the facility to work between sites and home. It had an old network that needed updating without any budget or compromising performance.
Solution: LED asked Claranet to design, implement and manage a new high-performance application hosting environment and network, to keep its employees connected securely to critical data and applications, and create a solid foundation for future projects and expansion.
Result: LED enjoys a more flexible workforce and is able to offer better customer service.
Upgrading an old network
With work/life balance in mind, LED was keen to make multi-site and home-working more interactive and productive, but weren’t confident that their infrastructure was capable of delivering these functions efficiently or securely. LED had outgrown its previous operating environment.
The IT network had evolved over time and had become fragmented, with limited capacity for development and arrangements for business continuity. Regular outages were being experienced and IT staff were reacting to service problems rather than exploiting potential developments.
Bandwidth, speed and reliability limited what we could achieve on the old infrastructure and there was no easy way to link our sites into a cohesive private network from which staff could access email, share information and work collaboratively.
Head of Finance and IT, LED
Managed network and VPN
LED turned to Claranet to design, implement and manage a new high-performance application hosting environment and network from the ground up, to keep its employees connected securely to critical data and applications, and create a solid foundation for future projects and expansion - without costing more money or compromising on performance.
Essentially we needed a complete overhaul and to start afresh. Claranet understood what we needed immediately- so we had complete confidence that they would be able to deliver something that was built around us.
Combining their expertise in hosting and networks, Claranet designed a bespoke, highly available and scalable hosting platform that could satisfy LED’s needs, was compatible with existing in-house skills, and could evolve with plans for future growth - all managed via a dedicated portal.
Mindful of LED’s designs on flexible working, the solution includes the provision of email, video conferencing, desktop sharing, document management, presence and secure instant messenger. Claranet’s managed desktop service facilitates the standardised deployment of operating systems and applications. By standardising their desktops, LED has been able to reduce their support overheads, freeing up time whilst improving user satisfaction.
Crucially, all of these applications are delivered over Claranet’s Virtual Private Network (VPN) which runs exclusively across Claranet’s core MPLS network. Claranet takes responsibility for managing the network, to ensure high availability and performance, while also ensuring the application performance to the user is prioritised in line with the business expectation.
Flexible workforce and better customer service
LED saw dramatic improvements to performance immediately, whilst keeping their network at the same size; a testament to the careful specification of system requirements at the beginning of the process. This has had knock-on effects in terms of the efficiency of staff and the speed of customer experience.
We now have a remote access tool which is robust; our people can have nearly the same experience when logging on from home as at work. We went from having a workforce that felt under pressure operationally due to the unreliability of our systems, to one that was able to think more strategically. It’s all about adding value to our customers.
Control has been a primary benefit of Claranet’s platform. LED’s IT department now has complete in-house control of email, firewall changes and platform configuration via a dedicated portal; and where they lack in-house skills, Claranet is able to assist.
Everybody is very pleased. We now have fewer help desk calls than we had before.The platform provided has given us the headroom to think strategically about technology and how we can use it to grow the business. Claranet understood the imperatives, working closely with us and going the extra mile that was needed to help us progress. We can now face outwards, listen and react to the markets, and begin engaging more actively with our existing and a new customer base.