York Housing Association (York) provides a range of housing and support services to approximately 850 households in Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire, having a mix of general needs including accommodation for single people, couples and families, sheltered housing for the elderly, student accommodation and supported housing for people who are vulnerable, have mental ill health or learning disabilities.
The Business Need
As with most small housing associations, York have no direct IT strategic expertise within their Executive Team and were in the position of needing to modernise and update their technology to ensure it met with future needs and ambition of the business.
3C Consultants were asked to design and implement strategies for the use of improved and leading edge technologies to allow York to deliver against business ambition. This included publishing a strategic IT road map. York had a dated network infrastructure with poor communication links, both to the main office and to outlying sites, which meant frequent interruptions to the working day; a poor user experience and unacceptable system performance.
3C provided York with their Virtual IT Director service, so providing the technical expertise at executive level that York so badly required. 3C assisted the organisation to draw up a detailed strategic priority list by designing an IT strategy with costed improvements over 3 years. This identified the key project deliverables within an overall transition programme with outline costs and project timescales.
Initially, 3C project managed the transition to a cloud based managed service, administering the procurement and implementation process on behalf of the organisation. The managed service meant that improved communication links were installed both at Head Office and outlying sites, allowing colleagues to take advantage of the most recent Microsoft Office applications, through a Citrix zen App desktop. Thin client terminals were purchased and installed in place of PC’s, saving cost due to them being far easier to manage and maintain. In addition, 3C re-negotiated the mobile phone contracts with suppliers resulting in new handsets at reduced tariff rates.
3C have also provided training in respect of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and worked to ensure York were managing data correctly and safely as part of a revised data management strategy.
3C's Virtual IT Director service has allowed York to completely modernise the operation of the business through the acquisition of a new managed desktop service with stable and consistent performance, meaning that colleagues can complete work without IT interruptions. This increased productivity, reduced lost time and improved the working environment. The deployment of a strategic approach has meant that staff now know when issues are going to be dealt with. The business can be confident that future enhancements to systems are budgeted and costed within the Business Plan.
York are now on the road to getting the best out of their applications, improving customer service to residents and reducing operational costs. 3C have also mentored staff members, so assisting the organisation to better manage IT independently in the future.
Derrick Palmer Director of Resources said
“We don’t have the benefit of IT expertise at York at an Executive Level so utilising 3C's Virtual IT Director service, providing access to their significant expertise and experience, has proved highly beneficial. 3C have worked with us over the last 18 months and we have developed a very rewarding and mutually beneficial partnership. They have been invaluable, liberating senior management, helping develop staff members and saving us time and money through their knowledge of the sector. I would have no hesitation in recommending 3C.”