Customer Success Story
Improving care by building resilience
Stanmore, United Kingdom
Each year Norwood supports over 2,500 people from children and families facing challenges in their lives due to additional educational needs, mental health or severe wellbeing issues, to anyone of any age with learning disabilities or autism.
Their wide-ranging services are delivered in London and the South East. They have a workforce of almost 2,500 people, made up of over 850 employees and more than 1,600 volunteers.
As well as employees and volunteers spread across offices and Norwood charity shops, they also manage a number of homes, including their well-known Ravenswood home – a 100 acre site in Berkshire with 400 employees supporting 112 residents with complex needs.
Desktop, network and infrastructure could no longer support business needs.
Like many not-for-profit and care organisations, Norwood’s IT infrastructure had been at the lower end of their priority list, as they worked hard to fundraise and continue offering world-class support and services to their residents and beneficiaries.
Their IT had mostly been outsourced to a third-party managed service provider (MSP) for a number of years, and without the resources to properly manage this contract it had resulted in archaic infrastructure, network, desktop and apps.
Norwood had a significant amount of legacy technology. Their MSP had run out of capacity and was mostly bug-fixing rather than helping the charity to build future resilience by suggesting and implementing new technology and improvements.
When we were asked to review the situation we found infrastructure with no memory left, and a disaster recovery solution that was so outdated it would leave the charity in serious trouble if something went wrong.
The network capacity was insufficient to run modern platforms and there were frustrating performance issues for employees trying to use Virtual Desktop – which was impacting productivity and morale.
We also discovered that Norwood’s HR platform required mandatory upgrades to run payroll and required a modern browser that wouldn’t run on the old infrastructure. There wasn’t enough memory to upgrade and run the platform, leaving them at significant risk of being unable to pay their employees if a solution couldn’t be found.
Delivered multiple simultaneous projects.
We conducted a future-ready tech assessment, meeting with stakeholders across the charity to understand their pain points and get a clear view of where the challenges lay. We conducted focus groups with employees and volunteers and spent time understanding their MSP contract and the service they had received. Within six weeks, we had spoken to a cross-section of the organisation, reviewed all their contracts and systems, created a new strategy and presented it to management and the trustee board.
We then designed the future network, cloud and modern desktop – with a vision, roadmap and achievable programme for delivering these services. Rather than a risky one-supplier approach, we devised a new operating model using a number of trusted partners to supply services for networking and modern Microsoft Azure Cloud.
We developed and managed a full SD-WAN RFP to improve connectivity, capacity, and resilience. All the complexities of firewalls and VPN solutions were included as part of this project.
Whilst the SD-WAN project was in motion, we also had to architect and build a new Azure Cloud environment to perform the mandatory HR system upgrade. The service was migrated and additional security features and elements were added, including a robust cloud backup and disaster recovery solution.
With the urgent HR system issue mitigated, two major projects remained.
The first was migrating Norwood’s enterprise application, which included many legacy apps and unique challenges, to Microsoft Azure. We used Azure Monitor and a range of tools to assess and successfully migrate all the applications across to Azure with minimal downtime.
The second was to architect, design and implement a new modern desktop for all employees. To do this we implemented Microsoft Endpoint Manager to enrol and manage all devices. Due to the complexity of some of the legacy apps, Microsoft VDI was also used to allow them to continue to run with appropriate performance. Video conferencing was also installed in all of the care homes to help employees collaborate across the organisation.
To ease the burden of such a large transformation project, and to make sure that Norwood’s leaders could continue to focus their time on running and growing the charity, we managed all the commercial negotiations as well as the legal contracts for the entire process.
Transformation programme successfully delivered.
The transformation programme has been game-changing for Norwood and has put them in a far more stable position for the future. Alongside the technical transformation, we have supported Norwood with the cultural change programme and training necessary to embed so many new systems and ways of working for their people.
The programme has resulted in increased productivity and collaboration across the organisation; a far more secure and resilient infrastructure; and tangible savings that go straight to helping more people across England.
Their new, fully managed SD-WAN is not only 30% cheaper than their previous solution, but has also greatly improved their bandwidth. Their new Azure private cloud is patched, secure, resilient and has reduced their CO2 footprint by over 50%.
We have now taken over the MSP contract and have doubled capacity whilst reducing the overall price charged by the previous supplier by 20%. Norwood now benefit from a 24/7 managed service whilst making all-important savings on their operating costs.
We continue to be Norwood’s trusted technology partner, supporting them with their IT strategy and delivery.