A long-term infrastructure and business continuity project by JMC IT at Arcon Housing in Manchester is now delivering day-to-day benefits to the housing provider’s staff, board members and tenants in areas such as mobility and flexible working, internal communications, and universal credit.
JMC IT installed a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to take processing away from desktop PCs to an off-site location and a Demand IT Online Backup system so that all computer activity from Arcon’s staff can be streamed securely via the internet to a remote data centre.
The Demand IT platform consists of a centralised virtual network infrastructure to free up servers and equipment, making tasks run faster and saving money that would otherwise have to be spent on new kit. The VDI gives Arcon staff more flexibility and the ability to access their desktops wherever they are. Furthermore, Arcon’s housing officers are currently trialling tablet computers which could eventually replace desktop PCs.
Anne Southern, finance director, Arcon Housing, said, “Not only has the JMC IT platform provided everything we asked for, but it has also allowed staff to work remotely and flexibly. Our housing officers have given such great feedback that we’re thinking about rolling this out further. For example, we are considering giving our board members direct access to the IT system so they can really get involved and share information, something which simply wasn’t possible in the past.”
Arcon is also trialling the use of mobile devices for day-to-day activities. Although the changes resulting from the introduction of universal credit are still unclear, Arcon believes that mobile devices could be used to help tenants with the new benefit application processes.
Southern said, “Many of our tenants can’t afford their own computers so if the universal credit changes happen as predicted, we’re planning to give our housing officers internet-enabled mobile devices that they can take to tenants’ homes. Housing officers will then sit with each person and go through their online application to ensure they do not miss out on benefits. None of this would have been possible without the backing of a reliable IT platform.”