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Case Study - Croft Housing

Case Study of a Housing Association in Liverpool

At the end of 2013, Croft Housing moved to a new office and recognised they required some help to identify the IT needs of the growing association. I was invited to meet with key staff to discuss their IT needs and I prepared a specification of their requirements. We discussed alternative solutions and I highlighted the advantages against the cost of the alternatives. The preferred options were agreed and a spec produced comprising two main components: a new data network and a new telephone system. I identified reliable suppliers of the relevant equipment that offered best value for money and recommended the best position for the switch cabinet and the server. The new data network (full 1Gbps capacity) was tested and patched extensively to meet user requirements. Some of the existing infrastructure was incorporated into the new network. The server software was Microsoft Server 2012 with Active Directory services which allowed Croft Housing to manage their users, files and permissions. Daily backups and a static-IPs were setup for security. A second router was ordered and setup as the gateway providing the internet service, in order to keep the network separate from their public WiFi. I also setup URL filtering on the router for added security. Once the equipment was in place, I setup antivirus protection on the server together with addressing and resolution services (DNS/DHCP), the user’s accounts and their personal folders. Setting the accounts and departmental folders up with their correct permissions took a number of weeks and required effective communication with the customer. Some data was also migrated onto the new network. To complete the installation I provided some training and user manuals. Finally I tested the speed of data transfers, setup evening backup routines and maximised the internet speed. The phone system opted for was an analogue-PBX system which required extensions laying out to cover the office. I explained the benefits of PBX in terms of cost and the ability to perform some vital functions such as transferring calls. Overall the project was a completed swiftly and within budget to Croft’s satisfaction.

In 2014, our housing services were expanding and we moved into a new office. A new network and phone system were required to ensure the smooth operation of the association. We approached Martin to help identify our IT Support needs across the service and he quickly provided a technical specification which was easy to understand and hit all the requirements. The journey from proposal to final provision was implemented with efficiency and professionalism and the systems were installed speedily. We were particularly impressed with Martin’s thoroughness and adaptability in his approach.

Ann Rush
Croft Housing Association

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