If you were looking to build an extension on your home, where would you start?
Would it be with a sledgehammer and pile of bricks?
Or would it be with an architect, who can tell you what you can and can’t do, and the implications of your choices?
Unless you happen to be an architect, it would most likely be the latter. And you’d have good reason to…
Take, for example, the process of extending a kitchen. You might want to knock down a wall, but if it’s load-bearing, the process isn’t so straightforward – and you’d rather not see your home collapse.
Or you might want to add some windows, but you’re not sure where they should be positioned for the best light, or how they might affect the temperature and humidity of the room.
In both instances – and many, many more – your architect will consider your aims and give you expert advice on how to best achieve them, looking at all the possible outcomes of your choices. And they’d probably do this before you hired a builder – and certainly long before anyone took a sledgehammer to your home.
And so, armed with clear plans based on professional advice and experience, you’d be able turn your dream home into a reality.
Perhaps you’re now asking why should home renovations matter to you as an IT professional?
Well, it’s an analogy that lends itself to our new, unique consulting service. But before I get to the nuts and bolts of it, here’s a little context.
In the UK, some 63,000 professionals work in consultancy roles, in a market that’s worth around £10 billion. Of that market, some 28 per cent work in technology – and consequently, you’d be justified to feel a little swamped for choice if you were looking for guidance on an IT project.
At the same time, you may have picked up on certain headlines about consultancies – stories that quite rightly reveal some of the more unsavoury practices of the big consultancy firms.
And consequently, you might be wondering if consulting is all it’s cracked up to be – and if you should even continue reading.
But stop right there.
You might have noticed I referred to our new programme as a ‘consulting’ service, rather than a ‘consultancy’. But if you didn’t, you’d be forgiven – after all, it’s only a few letters different.
Let me explain this deliberate wording: although we offer IT consulting, we are not a consultancy.
And it’s an important distinction, because at our heart, we’re a very practical, hands-on business technology provider, with the scars to prove it.
And so, when we talk about ‘consulting’ – it’s exactly that in its truest sense. As with the architect analogy, you’ll talk to us about what you’d like to achieve, and we’ll help you get there. And we’ve already been doing this for many years, with clients as varied as the smallest SME, to large public sector organisations, like Kent NHS.
Of course this all sounds too simple to be true, so let’s look more closely at the details.
In the case of our consulting service, we have some specific offerings that we’ve developed based on the experiences of our clients. For them, IT tends to pose an overwhelming number of choices and infinite complexity.
Two areas this is particularly true is in cybersecurity and cloud. And so, we’ve developed our Security Readiness Assessment and Cloud Readiness Assessment. There’s a practical example of how these work below.
You might notice that the names of these packages are pretty self-explanatory. And there’s another important quirk of wording – we believe the world of business IT is already too complicated without grandiose names. So when you talk to us about either of these programmes, you’ll get approachable, friendly advice that’s built around real customers, not our sales agenda.
And this brings me onto another couple of points about our consulting service – points that make the service unique.
Firstly, we are genuinely vendor-agnostic. And so, while we work with a wide range of technology partners, we’ll never push you towards a particular product or service. Our priority is developing loyal customers and to achieve that, we know that it’s no good to be one-hit wonders.
Secondly, our people are unique and remarkable.
Of course, every company has unique people – and most companies talk about their people when in self-promotion mode. So allow me to elaborate on something that stands out for our clients: our people know their work inside out and back to front – but they also know what they don’t know.
And by this, I mean that our people have humility with their knowledge. Because, perhaps more than others, technology is a rapidly-evolving field and no IT company should ever claim to be 100 per cent on top of technology – that’s not how technology works.
What really matters is having curious people who live and breathe problem solving – and who know where to turn when they don’t have the answers, in order to get the right answer and provide it in the most transparent way. This mindset became obvious to me when I recently asked my colleagues to write short statements about themselves for an internal project – as demonstrated by the responses from two colleagues:
“I have tested (and broken) firewalls that cost more than the house I live in!”
“My strongest attribute is being able to take this very technical world to someone who doesn’t understand the technology and break it down to point where they do understand the design and products available.”
And on that positive note, I’m going to leave it there. Well actually, I’m going to say thank you for reading – and that there will be more on the way about our consulting service. But if anything I’ve said here rings a bell, then do get in touch. You can find out more and make an enquiry here – and you can also find me on LinkedIn here.
- How a Security Readiness Assessment could work for you: a real example
One company that has benefitted from our cybersecurity consulting is Premier Partnership (PP). The Doncaster-based firm offers leadership, management, health and safety training – and it was looking to tender for more public sector business. But to do so, it needed to strengthen its cybersecurity. Likewise, PP found that Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus certification was required to renew existing government contracts.
None of this was news to PP. As an AdEPT managed services customer, the company gained prior knowledge of these topics, since we make a point of proactively advising our customers of developments that affect them. In PP’s case, it meant we could help them go straight to Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus certification, bypassing the standard Cyber Essentials (CE) criteria.
To do this, we carried out a Pre-Cyber Essentials Security Check – or ‘Security Readiness Assessment’ – and highlighted the areas where PP needed to improve its cybersecurity, advising how they could be addressed. Next, we worked with PP to roll out these improvements, including networking changes, IT policy updates, and independent penetration testing.
After this methodical process, PP passed its Cyber Essentials (CE) Plus test first time, gaining full certification. PP can now confidently renew and tender for new government contracts knowing that its cybersecurity has significantly improved – to the benefit of their users, customers and partners.
The last thing you need if you’re working in a care home right now is any concerns around your IT infrastructure. We’re all aware of the challenges care homes have faced recently – and continue to face – so it’s fair to say you just need your IT to work properly, correct?
Many organisations don’t even think about their IT until something goes wrong. Yet when your IT does malfunction, it can be time-consuming to fix and it’s a distraction to running your care home effectively.
Think about everything your IT needs to do in your care home and you’ll see it actually underpins almost every activity, including:
- Supporting staff in the office and helping them to be efficient
- Providing hardware and digital resources for residents to use for entertainment, speaking with family and positive wellbeing
- A means for residents to communicate with doctors over Wi-Fi from the comfort of their own rooms
- Supporting you in achieving your CQC requirements
- Keeping confidential data safe and protected against cyber-crime
You can read more about IT challenges for Care Homes, and how to fix them by clicking here.
Overhauling IT in care homes
We’re proud to have supported care homes with their IT in recent months. One example of our work is with a home in Kent that has been running for 50 years.
The team there approached us because their IT was slowing them down. They had an antiquated telephone system, outdated servers, poor Wi-Fi connectivity and no digital data storage for storing information and records.
Rather than working with a variety of companies to solve each of these challenges, the home turned to us to find out how we could help with one overall and consistent solution.
The changes we made
We carried out an assessment of the home’s existing IT infrastructure and made recommendations. The care home was happy with our suggestions and work soon began on improving their IT set-up.
One important change was putting a support structure in place so the staff didn’t have to worry about technology any more. We did this through implementing our Managed IT Services with a 24/7/365 helpdesk, immediately putting their minds at rest.
This was followed by installing an AdEPT Nebula Voice solution to replace the old phone system, so calls to doctors, relatives and internal calls, all started to work properly.
The patchy Wi-Fi was the next challenge we needed to fix – important for residents to be able to FaceTime their families or video call their doctors. We improved the Wi-Fi system with increased access points and a new internet line to improve bandwidth.
Next on the list is updating the servers and storage – but for now, everybody is delighted with the progress made so far.
You can read the full case study here.
Improve IT in your care home today
If you work in a care home and you’ve struggled with your IT systems recently, why not chat to our team about making improvements? We’ll get everything working just as you need it to, cost effectively.
Call: 0208 8501 7676
The IT world has many, many quirks. One of them is the distinction we make with audio-visual (AV) technology. Arguably, most modern devices have some form of audio or visual capacity, so why does AV get its own special label?
The answer to this lies not necessarily in the hardware itself, but rather, like most technology, is all about end use.
We’re all already familiar with domestic AV technology. If you’ve ever bought a new home TV, you’ve probably come across talk about the millions of colours your new screen can display, or multiple speaker configurations. But while technical specs might sound impressive, what really dazzles you is the prospect of your favourite film being so lifelike, it jumps out of the screen, right into your living room.
The distinction between features and benefits is equally important in the business world. Having helped organisations of all shapes and sizes with their AV technology, we’ve learned that successful installs depend on several factors. First, the benefits must offer both the wow factor and good business sense. Second, AV technology is nothing without the right infrastructure. And third, merely hanging a display is not enough – staff must feel confident using the new equipment. All of these factors couldn’t be more true for schools.
Helping teachers as they inspire students
During lockdown, we’ve been very privileged to work on a number of AV installations for schools. Having had long-term plans to upgrade their displays, these organisations realised that doing so while there are fewer students and staff on site was less disruptive – a small positive among the many big challenges of the pandemic.
One organisation that has taken this view is Elthorne Park High School in west London. This is a school that not only helps its students learn and grow, but has ‘curiosity’ as one of its main principles, embracing learning and growth as an organisation too. Consequently, using modern technology is a big part of that growth – and that includes the new displays we’ve recently installed there, while respecting social distancing rules.
Given how there’s a strong and understandable drive to limit youngsters’ screen time, it seems counterintuitive to say that smart displays are a crucial part of education technology. But, like all technology, it’s about context. And in a school setting, smart displays can provide the interactivity that young people love and now expect. And crucially, such displays can greatly enhance teaching and learning.
For example, a smart display can allow a teacher to show a video of explosive chemistry reactions to spark interest in a theoretical science lesson. Or, it can mean a teacher can browse the internet in front of the entire classroom, helping students grasp the importance of using reliable websites for research – a valuable lesson for life beyond school. And when it comes to drama studies, being able to show a film on screen for students to critique not only inspires future actors and entertainers, it can help students develop critical thinking and public speaking skills too.
Of course, with any of these examples, we know smart displays aren’t a substitute for the expertise and enthusiasm of teachers. But as with all technology, these displays can be useful catalyst for something more powerful – in this case, learning.
Another organisation that we’ve recently helped with displays is Skinners’ Academy in north London. Again, we completed the work while respecting social distancing restrictions – something that required careful planning, ingenuity and flexibility – and some physical flexibility too!
Being able to complete this work during lockdown is definitely among our most rewarding installations. Because it means the Academy has something ticked off its long to-do list – at a time when that list is growing exponentially ahead of the return to normality.
And so, we are delighted to have received this feedback from Skinners’ Academy:
“AdEPT Education has been a solid support partner for Skinners’ Academy throughout the years. The AdEPT Education engineers have worked with us with the utmost professionalism to complete their installs for our ongoing projects, even in this unsettling time of lockdown where social distancing rules need to be adhered to.
“Thank you again to our sincere account manager William Asare and his lovely engineers for the great work they have done!”
What more can we say? Not a lot – but if this is the kind of approach you’d like for your own school technology installations or services, then get in touch with our education team. You can find out more here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lessons beyond schools
Technology that enthrals school students has some unexpected lessons for the private sector. At the heart of this is sharing information, engaging people and building dialogue.
For conference rooms – notwithstanding connectivity issues, which we’ll come onto shortly – smart displays obviously provide the means to hold group video calls – which we’ve all come to really appreciate in the past few months. They can also bring people together in another way: allowing people to present documents, on-screen, to everyone. It’s easy to underestimate how useful this can be. Still, if you’ve ever huddled around a laptop screen, squinting to see what’s being discussed, then you’ll know viewing that same content on a larger, clearer, shared screen helps improve collaboration.
For the customer-facing aspects of business, AV technology such as digital signage can serve as the most flexible form of advertising imaginable. A smart display in a reception area, for example, can provide a warm welcome and useful information to visitors. Or for an exhibition, a smart display, featuring engaging content, can draw an audience and break the ice for conversations.
There are many more applications for smart displays. For example, call centres use them to show real-time information about customer calls; they’re ideal for local government planning departments and council meetings; and they can greatly enhance shop window displays.
AV technology is nothing without connectivity
While we’ve talked largely here about the ‘visual’ side of audio-visual technology, it’s worth noting that our expertise and experience extends to the audio too. Similarly – and perhaps more importantly – being an IT company that specialises in all things connectivity, it’s important to consider the behind-the-scenes aspects of AV.
When we approach any AV work, we always take the view that the technology should not only be carefully chosen for individual needs and budget – but it should be installed in the same way an electrician wires a light switch, or a plumber fits a tap, too. In such instances, the electrician ensures the switch is powered properly and the plumber makes sure the water is running.
In the same way, when we install AV equipment, we ensure the new technology is working properly with the network – both for internet and phone connectivity – and staff are fully comfortable with using the new gadgets. We do all of this as one package.
This may seem like a trivial point, but it’s always of great importance to our AV clients. And we’re able to provide this because we’re fundamentally an IT company that has a specialist AV arm. It’s one of the many things that make us different – and it’s one reason we consistently receive glowing feedback. We hope to do the same for your organisation.
The main focus of Age UK is the well-being of the older generation. The coronavirus outbreak has seen demand for their services soar, as the elderly are especially at risk from the virus. Due to these circumstances, Age UK wanted to provide their staff with the ability to work remotely and be able to access their business-critical applications from any location to keep them safe, but also ensure they could still do as much as possible to care for the elderly in their community.
The solution needed to include CareFree, an application that provides homecare management and was designed in conjunction with several home care providers. CareFree is a client/carer management and rostering solution specifically written to meet the needs of the modern care provider.
Without access to this core application, Age UK staff would not have been able to deliver critical services, and this could lead to serious problems for the business and for those they care for.
Age UK approached longtime managed services provider AdEPT to see if we could help.
After initial consultations, with both the CEO of Age UK and other key staff, the team at AdEPT investigated the options to allow staff to safely access the CareFree system and other key resources remotely.
The right solution was to implement a Remote Desktop Solution (RDS) which would allow the external members of staff to log into a terminal server and access their key software.
As security is a key requirement for Age UK, a two-factor authentication system was implemented alongside the RDS. This would send a notification to the user’s mobile device before connecting them to the RDS environment. AdEPT installed a dedicated HP server to support the solution and allow users to connect.
Installation & configuration times were managed to only a single day for each user.
This transformation has allowed Age UK staff to work remotely and flexibly, in a secure and productive manner, without the need to visit the office, ensuring they were able to carry on their good work in caring for some of society’s most vulnerable at this time and in the future.
“I just wanted to write and thank you for the speed in which you solved our problem of remote working on Carefree in the current crisis. We are quick to criticise when something goes wrong, so equally we need you to know how grateful we are for what you have done in a short space of time and the ongoing remote support.“
Finance Manager – Age UK Doncaster
If you or your organisation could benefit from help with your IT or communications please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
- VDC solution radically transforming IT performance
- Huge hardware & licensing cost savings over several years
- Proactive support services for 70 users
- Greatly improved connectivity across both offices
- Transition project executed with no material downtime
- Sandbox test environment for application & update QA
- Fully compliant storage & security functions
- Enterprise-class back-up & DR capability
Kingsley Napley is a leading London based law firm with specialist expertise across a varied and diverse range of practices. They have built their reputation on reliability and trust and emphasise a belief upon the importance for businesses and individuals to be able to depend on top quality legal advice and service.
In 2011, the management team at Kingsley Napley conducted an internal review of their IT function, concluding that they had outgrown their data back-up solution and that their disaster recovery capability was no longer fit for purpose. The decision was made to seek an external service provider with a proven track record of delivering secure back-up & DR services to the legal sector. AdEPT was one of several companies invited to submit a proposal, and, after a rigorous selection process, was eventually named as Kinglsey Napley’s new IT services partner.
With around 350 staff based at its two London offices, any downtime for Kingsley Napley would be not only hugely disruptive but also incredibly costly. Furthermore, as a highly respected law firm, the reputational risk associated with any prolonged outage was not something the management team were prepared to take chances with. AdEPT’s excellent reputation for delivering best-in-class back-up & DR services from our tier 3, ISO 27001 & ISO 9001 accredited data centres, along with our excellent client references, made our proposal the standout candidate from the very early stages of the tendering process. What really gave us the edge, however, was the approach that our team took to not looking at the back-up and DR solutions in isolation but considering them in relation to the overall IT infrastructure at Kingsley Napley.
The obvious starting point for our consultants was to work with Thereza Snyman (Kingsley Napley’s head of IT) to get a full understanding of the company’s back-up & disaster recovery requirements. This involved examining volumes & types of data as well as working with Thereza to define the company’s recovery point & recovery time objectives (RTO/RPO).
This then allowed us to scope a managed back-up & DR solution that was technically robust enough for their needs, meaning it had to be highly available and quickly deployed in the event of an outage or system failure as well as ensuring it was sufficiently secure to meet the statutory & regulatory compliance requirements for the legal sector.
The solution was deployed and Kingsley Napley were very happy with the service. Of particular reassurance was the fact that AdEPT regularly tests all clients’ DR solutions as a matter of course, ensuring that in the event of a disaster we are not testing the system for the first time. When, a few years later, Kinglsey Napley decided that it was time to replace their core server infrastructure, they asked AdEPT to design & propose their own solution.
The timing was perfect. AdEPT had recently launched its virtual data centre solution delivering private cloud services via a flexible, scalable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform allowing businesses to adopt a pay as you use pricing model for private cloud server hosting. AdEPT has two strategically located data centres in west & east London with
each data centre being a state-of-the-art facility that provides the ideal environment from which to deliver core services with 100% uptime. What’s more, as the hardware on which the core infrastructure operates is fully owned & managed by us, all of the anticipated costs of Kingsley Napley replacing their servers simply evaporated.
With management, maintenance & support also delivered as part of our managed services, it was an easy decision for the Kingsley Napley management team. And, as an added bonus, their new VDC solution would integrate seamlessly with the DR solution we already managed.
Naturally, this made Kingsley Napley very risk-averse with the frequent updates & patches that IT vendors such as Microsoft & VMware release on a regular basis. Whilst most of these provide a useful fix for a minor bug in the vendors’ software, it is a fact that on occasion these updates can make matters worse, and in (thankfully very rare) extreme cases they can lead to certain systems becoming temporarily unusable.
As such, Thereza Snyman, head of IT at Kingsley Napley, identified one of the most interesting functions of their new solution as being the ability to first deploy new updates & patches onto a back-up snapshot of their infrastructure. This was made possible by the modular integration of the virtual data centre solution with the back-up & DR solution that was already managed by AdEPT, and meant that the stability of each new update could be tested safely for any bugs before being installed on the live network.
As with most deployments of our virtual data centre solution, we also delivered a managed support service via our 24/7/365 service desk working in conjunction with our network operations team who would manage, monitor & maintain the new infrastructure as well as the security components. Finally, a managed connectivity solution was deployed to ensure consistent access to the hosted network was always available to all staff.
For a law firm that can be managing hundreds of different legal cases at any one time, downtime is simply not an option. Kingsley Napley had spent years developing a reputation for excellence and they knew that any business interruption that impeded their ability to provide the first class service their clients demanded could be hugely damaging to this. The new virtual datacentre solution in conjunction with the DR solution has so far delivered 100% uptime and greatly improved performance across the board.
AdEPT’s hosted services also mean that the cost of replacing key hardware such as firewalls, servers & storage devices has vanished, as we own all of the hardware that our platform operates on. This equates to tens of thousands of pounds saved over the next few years, as well as reducing administration & management time. The virtual data centre model also dramatically reduces licensing costs across the entire IT estate.
Kingsley Napley and their clients also have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all company & client data is stored in in our tier 3, ISO 27001 & ISO 9001 accredited data centres, meeting or exceeding all of Kingsley Napley’s compliance obligations. Furthermore, our regular testing of the DR solution means that in the unlikely event of a major outage, we can have their entire system back up and running in minutes.
When the time had come to invest in a new IT platform, we already had a very strong relationship with AdEPT so it was an easy decision to ask them to tender for the project. Their attention to detail and extremely professional approach was a key factor in their proposal being accepted
Head of IT, Kingsley Napley
Dermalogica have their UK head office in Leatherhead, very close to the River Mole, one of the rivers severely affected by flooding before Christmas 2013. At 11am on Christmas Eve, we took a call to say that their offices were surrounded by two feet of floodwater, the building flood warning systems had been triggered, physical access to the building was impossible, and to add to it all, the electricity supply was intermittent.
Dermalogica are covered by Cerberus Recover, AdEPT ’s Disaster Recovery service, and our Network Operations Centre (NOC) staff were put on high alert in anticipation of a DR situation. Additional checks were made to ensure backups were up to date and copied off site successfully, and as a precaution further backups were taken.
The floods subsided with no impact on the computer systems, although we remained on high alert until well into February when the danger of flooding had passed.
Near disaster Recovery
Location: United Kingdom
Industry: Skin Health
Infrastructure flexibility and resilience
“Having the assurance of the Cerberus Recover service, and confidence that our systems were fully backed up and monitored by their team, meant that our key staff could continue to work as usual via remote access, not affected at all by the threat of what could have been a complete system shutdown with no means of recovery.”
IT Manager UK
- VDC solution radically transforming IT performance
- Huge hardware & licensing cost savings over several years
- Support services for 70 users
- Greatly improved connectivity across all 5 offices
- Transition project executed with no material downtime
- Single point of contact for all IT services
- Industry-leading account management
- Enterprise-class back-up & DR capability
Established in 1817, White & Sons is an award-winning independent estate agent with five offices throughout Surrey. The firm is a forward-thinking business which uses cutting-edge technology backed by 200 years of experience to assist with the buying, selling and renting process.
White & Sons had always believed in technology as a business enabler, and this philosophy had for many years given them a distinct advantage over much of their competition. Preferring to focus on their core business skills, the directors at White & Sons had previously chosen to outsource the management of their IT infrastructure to a specialist local IT support company. By early 2016, however, the relationship had completely broken down and AdEPT were invited to meet with the management team and present our services.
The issues that White & Sons were facing could broadly be placed in two categories. Firstly, their server infrastructure was approaching end-of-life, and they were experiencing frequent outages and downtime which was causing them significant business interruption. Secondly, their existing IT support provider was failing to meet acceptable levels of service when these outages occurred. Slow response times were compounded by an excessively bureaucratic service culture which in turn led to each instance of downtime being unnecessarily prolonged. To make matters worse, any eventual remedy was usually a short-term fix which rarely involved investigating the underlying issue, meaning that another outage would occur a week or two later.
Unsurprisingly, this was the exact opposite of what White & Sons wanted from an IT services partner. AdEPT was asked to provide detailed proposals for a new core IT infrastructure and ongoing IT support & consultancy services.
The team at AdEPT initially conducted a full technical audit of White & Sons’ IT infrastructure in order to fully understand the environment before making any recommendations. The hardware was mostly several years old and would have cost several thousand pounds to replace. The team decided to propose that, rather than replace the existing infrastructure, we would instead propose that White & Sons move to a cloud model, leveraging our industry-leading virtual data centre solution.
This would immediately achieve several of their objectives, the obvious one being that we could very quickly provision a brand-new, fit-for-purpose IT infrastructure to replace their current, underperforming one. Furthermore, as AdEPT already had its own mature, highly-specified, secure & stable IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform, the replication, design, testing & deployment of the new network could be achieved in a fraction of the time that a physical ‘replicate & replace’ project would have taken.
The virtual data centre service also came with an additional bonus: as the hardware on which White & Sons’ new infrastructure would be deployed was already hosted in our data centres as the backbone of our IaaS platform, there would be no need for the client to purchase any replacement servers, firewalls, storage or any other hardware. This meant a capital expenditure saving of over £10k – and the reduced licensing costs that our platform model offers meant a further saving of over £2k a year on software & application costs.
Of course, whilst system performance was a major issue for White & Sons, of equal importance was their desire to achieve a far better support service than they were currently receiving. AdEPT ’s put together a managed support solution that included the transition of support services to our 24/7/365 service desk working in conjunction with our network operations team who would manage, monitor & maintain the new infrastructure.
The lack of any disaster recovery function was another pain-point with White & Sons’ previous IT partner and the company had real concerns around their ability to get back up & running in the event of a major incident. Fortunately, our managed back-up & DR services are seamlessly integrated into our IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platform, which also functions as the backbone of our virtual data centre solutions. This meant that adding enterprise-class disaster recovery to White & Sons’ new IT infrastructure was incredibly simple and completely straightforward.
As with all cloud or hosted services, the final piece of the jigsaw was the provision of a robust connectivity solution to ensure that the company’s 70 extremely busy staff across 5 offices could receive a consistent, high quality user experience at all times. Internet connectivity was improved at all sites, and a multi-site MPLS network was deployed with traffic separated using physical VLANS for optimal performance.
The entire transition project, including the core infrastructure & all services, was a great success and White & Sons were delighted with the outcome. They experienced almost no downtime as most of the work was conducted outside of business hours, and the new solution has resolved all of the technical and operational issues they were previously experiencing.
The consolidation of suppliers to one single point of contact has freed up operational resources and made budgeting & forecasting far simpler for the management team. The switch to our virtual data centre solution, whereby all of the hardware is owned by AdEPT has resulted in estimated capital expenditure & licensing savings of tens of thousands of pounds over the next few years. For a company with ambitious long-term growth plans this ability to not only reduce costs but accurately predict the cost of new office roll-outs are a huge advantage, and future expansion of the business can now be executed with greater confidence than ever.
IT performance across all departments at White & Sons has been transformed, with staff confidence in IT fully restored and individual & team productivity higher than ever. From a service relationship point of view, AdEPT’s industry-leading account management team continue to work closely with White & Sons’ Head of IT Andrew Farrant to ensure that their technology decisions are correctly aligned with their business strategy going forward, and we are delighted to play a role in their continued success.
“Selecting a long-term IT services partner is pretty much one of the most important decisions an independent business has to make. We knew where we wanted to be as a business, and it was critical to find a managed services provider who understood this and could help us to get there.”DREW FARRANT, Manager, White & Sons
AdEPT delivers on a promise
In 2018 AdEPT announced a significant government contract win with the NHS. However, winning a contract is only half the battle – it is crucial to deliver on the promise made in this substantial contract process.
AdEPT is therefore delighted to announce that, under the guidance of the NHS Trusts in Kent, AdEPT has delivered improved network and bandwidth capacity to more than 100 hospital and specialist care sites across the region.
This project facilitates greater collaboration in handling the health and welfare needs of Kent residents.
Following the success of this initial network programme, AdEPT are completing the roll-out of improved bandwidth services to the 300 GP surgeries in the region. This will complete the upgrade of the entire NHS network in Kent.
This ultimately means that 1.6 million people across Kent will receive better care through improved network and bandwidth capacity, financial savings and improved access to clinical systems.
The challenge to be addressed
In 2017, the NHS decided that the 12 years old ‘N3 network’ needed to be retired.
But what was the ‘N3 network’? N3 was a decade old national broadband network for the English NHS, connecting all NHS locations and 1.3 million employees across England, a solution formerly managed by BT.
As a single supplier service, N3 was principally designed to provide access to national applications, such as patient records, hospital appointments and prescription services for NHS organisations.
However, as with all single supplier markets, the network became outdated.
The Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) was devised as a multi-supplier marketplace adhering to single credentials – it is designed to provide an improved way for health and social care organisations across the country – from both inside and outside the NHS – to access and exchange electronic information.
This multi-supplier approach also encouraged competition for the provision of the network, leading to a substantial cost reduction for the NHS.
The digital transformation being felt in all walks of society is being experienced in equal measure across the NHS.
Front line care is increasingly digital. A recent Healthcare News report clearly highlighted a host of initiatives that demonstrate how this transformation is impacting the NHS. Examples of ICT initiatives across the NHS include;
Information security, patient analytics, digitised patient engagement, population health, Electronic Health Records, remote patient monitoring and revenue cycle management.
The healthcare world is clearly changing, with; virtual surgeries, remote consultations and telehealth all improving the way health services are delivered.
However, all these transformations depend on a high speed, secure, cost effective network infrastructure.
Specifically Kent, and the benefit HSCN brings
The delivery of a new Health and Social Care Network (HSCN) to NHS hospitals and specialist trusts in Kent replaces an outdated N3 network, delivering improved access to information and technology and substantial cost savings. Underpinning the transformation of health and social care services in the region.
This improvement was made possible by the competition between network suppliers driven by HSCN.
Kent chose AdEPT because it demonstrated that it would be a flexible and responsive partner to the NHS in the region.
How has this substantial programme been delivered?
The change programme has required strong collaboration between a number of critical partners;
• the NHS Trusts in Kent,
• NHS Digital, and
• AdEPT Technology Group
“The N3 community of interest network (COIN) within Kent was one of, if not, the largest and most complex in England. It’s a credit to the strong leadership and collaboration between the seven Trusts in Kent, that not only was a successful migration of services to HSCN completed, but we were the first to do so in the UK”
commented Tim Scott, Chief Commercial Officer and HSCN Programme Lead at AdEPT.
“Strong programme delivery is critical to complex technology projects. There are four key disciplines and attributes that allowed us to deliver this programme so well: leadership, structure, collaboration and flexibility.
In AdEPT, we found a partner – rather than a supplier – aligned to us in each of these disciplines”.
Michael Beckett, Director of IT, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.
“The migration of the Kent CoIN demonstrates everything HSCN was designed to achieve;
greater collaboration, both locally and with suppliers;
reduced costs for the NHS by virtue of the HSCN marketplace and
using technology to provide enhanced capabilities, that will deliver better care though health and social care integration.”
Mike Oldfield-Marsh, HSCN Migration Manager NHS Digital.
St Dunstan’s College is an independent, coeducational school for 3 to 18 year olds located in South London and founded in 1888. AdEPT Education (formerly Atomwide) have delivered IT services and support to St Dunstan’s College since 2003. Here we speak with the school’s Network Manager John Taylor about his experiences with AdEPT Education over a 15 year partnership and recently their uptake of on-site and remote IT support.
What made you look to get additional in-school IT support?
Our support requirements had reached a level at which we could no longer work as efficiently as we needed to hence we needed to find additional IT support.
What made you choose AdEPT’s Service?
Having worked with them for a number of years and being familiar with their expertise and customer service made it an easy decision to contact them first. From the initial discussions regarding our specific requirements we were confident that they would be able to give us the support we required.
What do you find most helpful about the AdEPT School Technician Service?
We are always assured of a technician in residence who has immediate access to a pool of knowledge and experience. Not just there for if things go wrong, we have been proactively working with with AdEPT to create an ICT strategy to ensure the future-proofing, scalability and resilience of our IT systems for years to come, minimising the risk of any potential headaches or unforeseen costs. They have assisted us by providing all of our server room hardware and client desktops, VoIP provision and support, school site access control, internet provision and school email among other things.
Would you recommend it to other schools and why?
Definitely, we are 100% satisfied and could not operate without their support. Their professionalism and level of support exceed all other companies we have dealt with. The service eliminates any doubt and the costly and time consuming process of hiring our own full time staff and we gain the assurance that we get hand-picked staff immediately.
This was as a result of the Council engaging a supplier to upgrade its Cisco Unified Communication platform and therefore the Council intended to take the opportunity to migrate their PSTN connectivity from existing ISDN30 connections to SIP.
AdEPT won the contract via RM1045, which was to provide 10mb data circuits, SIP endpoints, 85 active SIP channels at the main site and 85 standby channels at a standby site and the transfer of 1,000 DDI. AdEPT were able to identify cost-effectiveness and experience in the migration of services from traditional ISDN to SIP.
The objective of the Council was to find a cost-effective supplier that was able to manage the migration of services to SIP in co-ordination with the upgrade of its Cisco unified communications platform that was being performed by its incumbent supplier.
In its implementation plan, AdEPT was able to demonstrate both the deployment of new SIP services, including new circuit installations, and the porting of DDI from the existing service provider.