JMC IT has completed a large infrastructure implementation and application integration project for Your Housing Group, following its creation in 2012 from the merger of Harvest Housing Group with Arena Housing.
In 2010, JMC IT was commissioned by Harvest Housing to develop a new IT platform designed around its DemandIT system, replacing an outdated IT infrastructure with a much more efficient and centralised core IT system with integrated disaster recovery. This was combined with the delivery of a consistent desktop for application and data access to all users, regardless of location or device.
During Harvest Housing tender process, JMC was the only IT partner to propose a blended environment of Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenDesktop to empower the hundreds of users in a variety of roles. JMC created a platform that was much more energy efficient than those put forward by other suppliers, required much less bandwidth and server power but delivered superior performance.
Simon Morris, executive director of resources, Your Housing Group, said, “What made JMC’s proposal stand out was its blended design of application and desktop virtualisation. As the full dedicated virtual environment was only provided to those who need its added flexibility, we were able to minimise the background power.”
The merger between Harvest Housing and Arena was announced a year later. JMC therefore had to extend the existing DemandIT platform while taking into account the likely future needs of the merged companies.
After the merger, JMC’s DemandIT platform was immediately tested and its scalability proved when 500 new users started using the system. However, the growth capacity built in for the original Harvest Housing implementation was reached in a matter of months, not the five years that had been mutually agreed, so JMC designed a solution that would double capacity, yet build on what was already there. Finally, all of the data and more than 130 business applications used by Harvest Housing and Arena had to be migrated across to the DemandIT platform and the 1,200 users trained on the new systems.
Using the blended Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop virtual environment, Your Housing can now open new offices and operations centres in just a few days compared with the process taking weeks in the past. In addition, the housing provider has not only offset some of its costs by removing a £50,000 annual electricity bill by moving its hardware offsite, but also recovered additional office space.
Morris said, “JMC IT offered a solution that provided optimum return on investment when combined with disaster recovery and business continuity. Previously, our disaster recovery saw half of the kit sitting idle in case of an emergency, but now, we ensure all of our investment is fully utilised on a day-to-day basis while still providing us with the same level of back-up.”
Your Housing now has a centralised system with improved group-wide communications and collaboration, the response teams have reliable applications so they can focus more on customers, and each office also benefits from common databases for better collaboration, reliable application access and systems that run at twice as fast as before.