A stable architecture
- Executive engagement via a comprehensive IT audit
- Desktop Virtualisation to give staff flexibility
- Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery service
- Ongoing IT partnership
Founded in 1947, British Horse Society Ltd (BHS) is the largest equestrian charity in the UK, protecting and promoting the interests of horses and those who care about them. In 2014, in common with many other successful charities, BHS identified that in order to support its operations, it needed higher levels of performance from its IT systems, as well as increased IT resilience and security.
From audit to action…
At the start of its engagement with BHS, Commercial carried out a comprehensive assessment of IT across the charity – in addition to a detailed technical evaluation, Commercial produced priority recommendations that could be clearly evaluated and understood by non-IT-specialists at board level.
BHS executives and trustees needed to be very careful about how the charity’s funds were spent, and this set of priorities gave the BHS leadership team a simple but effective way of understanding where to invest for the short term, as well as medium term options.
Remedial work was needed, and Commercial and BHS started work mitigating potential risks immediately, working through the weekend to put safeguards in place. Timely intervention solved problems and averted any major issues. “They have not only assisted BHS at short notice but also worked alongside us through the night to fix issues without impacting our users,” says Dee Scarlett, IT Manager.
With this work completed, comments Lee Dzendrowski, lead Technical consultant, a comprehensive transformation of BHS’s IT Infrastructure was undertaken which included a large infrastructure project to restore the virtual server, storage, switches and firewalls. During the handover period we offered training to members of BHS’s IT team if anyone was unfamiliar with the new technology.
Flexible working, always available
With a successful first phase of work completed, BHS and Commercial assessed medium term opportunities. Two stood out – firstly, many BHS staff travel extensively - fundraising and meeting with members, and it was identified during the audit that particular staff needed easier access to systems and information on the road or at home. A Citrix-based flexible-working solution was introduced, leading to immediate positive feedback from staff.
Secondly, to underpin these improvements, less visible change was implemented to increase system availability, and provide cloud-based backup and disaster recovery capabilities. In the unlikely event that the network goes down, all the data and applications will still be available, and up and running again extremely quickly.
A true partnership
As well as new technology, working with Commercial has led to a new support structure. The Cheltenham-based Network Operation Centre (NOC) supports BHS’s IT team, particularly in relation to complex IT Infrastructure issues, allowing the BHS onsite team with more time to focus on applications to enhance BHS’s business operations.
As Dee summarised: “The systems and support put in place has enabled BHS to work more efficiently. Together we have made a real difference to the work our charity is able to do.”