After eight years of working with Atlanta Technology, the ICT team at LHA-ASRA report on their development of a new IT infrastructure, the adoption of virtualised servers and the delivery of a new disaster recovery service.
LHA-ASRA’s relationship with Atlanta began in 2001 when the hosted ICT specialists developed a remote-access corporate email system; Atlanta now supports LHA-ASRA’s technology infrastructure across six main offices and 43 sites, covering 600 employees, 11,000 properties and 15,000 customers.
In 2006, LHA-ASRA needed to consolidate its Midlands offices. Amit Patel, group head of ICT, said, “The head office was not large enough for everyone and so new premises were sought – Atlanta was central to developing a new ICT infrastructure at this point and during the relocation, Atlanta and our internal ICT staff ensured a seamless ICT delivery. In addition, Atlanta helped to scope the project to ensure the most appropriate infrastructure was chosen to accommodate our future growth.”
Atlanta is now providing support and services for LHA-ASRA’s network infrastructure, VMware-based server and data storage virtualisation, disaster recovery, security and control, and helping to reduce the organisation’s impact on the environment.
Following virtualisation, LHA-ASRA reduced its physical servers from 44 to just nine. Gurprit Sahota, ICT manager, explained, “Virtualisation delivers scalability and allows us to work more efficiently. We have also dramatically reduced our TCO as we no longer require a wide range of expensive hardware or administrative time. This is now all managed and supported by both internal ICT resources and specialised support from Atlanta, resulting in a more efficiently-managed solution with built-in resilience and minimal downtime.”
The disaster recovery service covers six London sites and a further five sites in the Midlands. All data and applications are replicated to a DR centre in Nottingham; LHA-ASRA’s service level agreement with Atlanta means that the systems can be restored immediately in the event of an outage of any kind, with any data loss limited to only 60 minutes.
Commenting on the housing provider’s long-term relationship with Atlanta, Sahota said, “Atlanta takes a strategic view and understands the housing sector very well. We have been working with the same core team throughout our eight year partnership – from scoping, implementation and maintenance, and this consistency has been great. The combination of integrity, honesty and reliability within the team has played a major part in developing our relationship further.”
Anil Majevadia, group director of customer care and ICT, LHA-ASRA, said, “As a new director responsible for ICT, I was keen to review all of our current relationships with suppliers. I have found Atlanta to be very open and honest but more importantly, extremely flexible in the delivery of their services, providing access to both technical and senior management at all times.”
LHA-ASRA has two large IT projects planned for the future. The first is to introduce a CRM system into the contact centre to give customers access to information and services through a choice of channels, at times and from locations convenient to them. The second is to virtualise 450 desktops to support mobile working and improve the organisation’s green credentials. The housing provider also plans to introduce new online services to monitor internal customer service levels.