Gloucester City Homes
Overview: Exponential-e Combat Ageing Legacy Infrastructure.
Gloucester City Homes is an independent social landlord providing excellent housing management services to over 5,200 tenants. They own and manage around 4,500 rented homes, 501 sheltered housing properties, 270 leasehold properties, 25 commercial units and 21 homeless units.
They are recognised as one of the best housing providers in the country through independent accreditation, including the cabinet office Customer Service Excellence Standard. Gloucester City Homes has ambitious plans to invest in tenants homes, build new homes and create new job opportunities as a major employer in the city of Gloucester.
Gloucester City Homes (GCH) has successfully transitioned from operating as an arm’s length management organisation with all its ICT infrastructure and services being provided by the local council, to an independent body with complex backend demands controlling everything from renewing tenancy agreements to managing burst drains. The transition has given GCH independent control over housing assets and necessitated all tenants to sign new occupancy agreements.
The separation from the council gave GCH the opportunity to refresh their IT strategy and transfer to new IT infrastructure. They wanted a provider that could offer a diversity of provisioned services and ensure they continue improving customer service levels. In terms of previous support, they had an in-house team managing applications; but also used costly outsourced technical and support resources. A need to enable their staff to work remotely and from various locations, such as within the homes of tenants, also meant that they were looking for a provider that could deliver a remote desktop service and increase the productivity and flexibility of their employees.
As part of the engagement, Gloucester City Homes wanted to ensure its IT infrastructure refresh would result in better customer service standards. Since all services are delivered down a single piece of fibre, Gloucester City Homes has the flexibility to easily scale or adapt its infrastructure to meet its changing needs. In addition, Exponential-e provided managed service support and security assurance so that GCH didn’t have to invest large amounts of resource in managing the system.
As part of becoming a digital-first organisation, Exponential-e provided GCH with Hosted Data Centre services, Server Replication to a second Data Centre as well as Managed Firewall, Infrastructure support. Exponential-e’s super-fast 100 Gig Ethernet Network delivered the virtual desktop infrastructure that provides employees with access to a persistent, personal desktop from any device or location for all 120 staff.
In just a short space of time GCH has already seen the benefits that a secure and stable infrastructure delivers. Staff can now move from a desk to a meeting room to home and pick up their desktop in exactly the same state as they left it.
GCH recently underwent a programme where its 5,200 tenants needed to renew their tenancy agreements as part of its separation from the council. Previously this would have been a manual, paper-based process. However, the flexibility of the infrastructure has meant that GCH have been able to use a combination of mobile phones and laptops to run events that allow tenants to refresh their agreements from designated locations throughout the city, something that was more convenient for its tenants and enabled more efficient processing. Instead of tenants completing vast amounts of paperwork and staff entering this on to the system manually, the information could be processed immediately on-site.
Staff at GCH experienced a noticeable improvement to user-experience with quicker log-in and load times, as well faster processing time for data / screen refreshes. For the organisation, this brings significant productivity gains.
- Improved User Performance - with a resilient Network in place, logging in and loading high-bandwidth applications has become quicker.
- Data Stored in a Secure Data Centre - adhering to 7 ISO accreditations.
- Business Continuity - enhanced Disaster Recovery through a hosted Data Centre and replication to secondary Data Centres.
- 24/7 Support - constant access to service desk support to easily rectify any faults.
- Enhanced Security - through identity and access management controls that enrich endpoint security coupled with a private Cloud Network that ensures data resides on the clean side of the firewall.
- Greater Flexibility - to combine different services into a cohesive solution, delivered under a single service level agreement with a single point of contact to manage enquires and resolve incidents.
Gloucester City Homes has enabled its employees to work in a more productive way; there has been an increase in the allowance of flexible working, primarily due to the solution provided by Exponential-e allowing employees to work on the same work applications from any location. This in turn leads to better satisfaction amongst the workforce and also improved customer service levels.
Peace of Mind
The replication of server data to a second Data Centre means that Gloucester City Homes can rest assured they are protected in the event of a disaster. They can promptly and easily access their data from a secondary source and quickly get their business up and running again if the need arises.