Customer Success Story
The Abbeyfield Society Transforming their IT landscape
St Albans, United Kingdom
Abbeyfield is a charity for older people providing housing across the UK and internationally. Services provided by Abbeyfield include independent living, care homes, assisted living and homecare. Their Head Office is based in Hertfordshire, with regional offices spread across the UK.
In the UK alone, they manage 102 properties and have 139 member societies that operate a further 282 properties.
Abbeyfield is a values-driven organisation, putting their residents and people at the heart of all they do. Their homes are closely linked to the community to enhance not only the lives of their residents, but older people living locally too
Improving employee and resident digital experience.
There were several problems across the Abbeyfield Family that were having a negative impact on the experiences of employees and residents. Challenges included employees having to use personal technology to do their jobs because their desktops were no longer fit-for-purpose. This, of course, was not only a poor experience, but also a security risk.
Residents were also impacted by poor connectivity issues. Creating a stimulating and homely environment for all residents is a keen priority for Abbeyfield, but poor internet bandwidth meant most homes were struggling with WiFi and streaming services – which could make residents feel disconnected from family, friends and their communities.
Abbeyfield knew that their IT infrastructure was starting to show the signs of a lack of maintenance and investment over a number of years and it was time to start putting it right.
Delivered a Transformation Advisory Assessment to kickstart a transformation programme.
Abbeyfield commissioned us to conduct a Transformation Advisory Assessment of their existing IT products, technology and services and build a realistic roadmap to put them in a stronger position for the future. This is core to what we do and we have developed our own methodology and process to help customers identify their most urgent priorities and pressing weaknesses.
We spoke to a number of employees and partners to better understand the environment and pain points. We also benchmarked their financial costs, reviewed suppliers and mapped out their architecture, where we noticed a number of products were inefficiently performing the same roles.
It was clear from the assessment that there was a significant amount of technical debt due to lots of legacy technology. We knew that Abbeyfield had focused their budgets on creating the best environment possible for residents, but unfortunately this meant their IT had been put on the back burner for far too long, and they were starting to see the repercussions.
Their desktop was insecure and making it hard for colleagues to collaborate because they couldn’t share documents or video conferences via Citrix. They were still using Office 2010, which was also making it challenging to share documents and information with suppliers outside of their network.
Their old MPLS network and old cabling had not kept pace with changes in technology, resulting in poor internet bandwidth and not enough capacity for SaaS-based products, which was impacting the residents’ experience.
Disaster recovery had not been tested for a number of years and their on-premise exchange had not been patched for even longer. There were huge vulnerabilities in their estate which would not only be costly should the worst happen, but could significantly affect their employees and residents.
Abbeyfield was also struggling with an old HRIS, that was over 10 years old and with a vendor who was forcing a migration to an alternative solution.
As a trusted partner we’ve realised £3million in savings and provided the blueprint for success.
Having assessed Abbeyfield’s IT infrastructure, their operating model, supplier contracts and commercials, we were able to build a new IT strategy and project roadmap to completely modernise their ways of working and improve their employees’ and residents’ day-to-day experiences.
This included a new HR platform and modern workspace – involving new laptops, implementing Microsoft O365, new telephony and an employee intranet built for connection and collaboration. We also mapped out the plan and costs to finally tackle their network connectivity, with LAN and Wi-Fi projects.
We worked closely with the transformation team at Abbeyfield to co-create the business case and present it to the trustee board for subsequent approval.
To help progress all these recommendations, we crafted and conducted the full RFP processes for Abbeyfield’s mobile phone contracts, SD-WAN, LAN, Wi-Fi and their HR platform.
We were able to negotiate for their entire estate to be refreshed onto new Android devices for their mobile phone contracts. This gave them 50x the data they had before and 5G connectivity, at a 40% per annum saving on their previous contract.
Across the LAN and Wi-Fi workstream we helped Abbeyfield reduce their costs by 43%, for a significantly improved service for their employees and residents. For the SD-WAN element of the RFP we saved them a massive £400,000 a year, while increasing the bandwidth across many of their sites.
Across all of the different RFP workstreams, we have saved Abbeyfield £3million over the next 5 years.
This sum is a significant saving to the team and means they can now further invest in their infrastructure in the future, as well as improve the lives of all their many residents.