Our decision to remove Citrix and our thin-clients and replace them with laptops was completed just a few months ago. That decision, along with our implementation of Microsoft Teams has seen staff being able to work from home with the minimum of fuss and very few problems. The recent replacement of our firewall to give unlimited remote access has also paid dividends. Since lockdown, we’ve seen a 300 per cent increase in the use of Teams, and so far Teams and indeed the full Microsoft stack has worked faultlessly.
What this situation has demonstrated to me is the importance of the attitude and actions of your key IT suppliers.
On a positive note, Microsoft (through its account specialists) keeps in regular contact with me and my team and couldn’t be more helpful, and Astro Communications who have recently taken over the management of our network and firewall have provided top-notch support.
However, it’s such a shame that the suppliers of our housing management and housing repairs systems have only been in touch with invoices. These proprietary suppliers could learn a lot about keeping customers happy, or indeed about even keeping customers!
The greatest negative IT aspect for us has been the postponement of our Microsoft Dynamics go-live. We were planning to replace both housing management and housing repairs functions early in April with our eSuasive-developed Microsoft Dynamics solution but we’re now looking at alternative ways of an implementation while still in lockdown.
The lessons for me are synchronise your business continuity plans with your network, architecture and critical systems, foster meaningful relationships with IT suppliers who actually can and are willing to help you and, on a personal note, try to embrace the new ways of working.
Neil Jones is the corporate director for IT & business improvement at Trivallis.