Formed in 1984, SHG manages over 3000 properties by providing shared ownership and rental. The group is also made up of the Revival Home agency, which promotes independent living for customers. Their charity arm ‘Arch’ supports victims of domestic violence and helps to deal with homelessness in the region. SHG’s core IT strategy is to provide digital services for its customers. Castleton worked closely with SHG, aligning managed services and a suite of software solutions to deliver on SHG’s objectives. This included Business Continuity, Castleton’s hosted back-up and disaster recovery service.

The need

With a predominantly VMware infrastructure and Citrix remote desktop services, SHG’s IT team support around 250 users in over 10 locations throughout Staffordshire. Delivering digital services to their customer base was the main priority, as the current offering was very limited. To enable this, there was a need to enhance the existing infrastructure with the necessary compute power and bandwidth to deliver efficient services. Cloud services including Office 365 would play a part in this service enhancement, as well as software geared up to deliver staff and customer facing apps.

The solution

SHG’s IT department is made up of of 5 staff who manage the delivery of digital services to both staff and customers alike. Castleton worked in partnership with SHG, supporting the IT team with the development and deployment of a range of strategic ICT infrastructure projects, including the most recent; Sure-ITy. This involved the implementation of a flexible cloud back-up service (BaaS), as well as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

Through this, Castleton were able to host a replica of all Staffordshire Housing’s data in the Castleton Cloud, so in the event of any failures, SHG’s data was fully backed-up and protected.

To achieve a more streamlined and cost-effective service, SHG enhanced their digital service by implementing Agile. This mobile solution containing both staff and customer facing apps, enabled SHG’s workforce to operative effectively on the go, without the duplication of tasks – as Agile integrated with other back-office Castleton solutions as EDRM and CRM.

Key benefits of using Castleton

  • Technical knowledge, support and capacity
  • Transparency in the scope of work
  • Ongoing development and support
  • New business ideas
  • Proactive project management
  • Provision of a complete solution

The results

Working closely with SHG’s ICT service delivery manager, Darren Penney commented “Castleton continues to deliver excellent account management, technical support and advice, as well as project management and delivery that we would expect from our IT partners, working as an extension to our in-house team.”

Staffordshire Housing were continually impressed with Castleton’s provision of full transparency in all project work; providing risk and impact evaluations before projects commenced to ensure the teams were fully aware of the potential challenges. “The team at Castleton were able to knowledge share with our in-house IT team. This enhances the team’s skills and in turn enables them to understand and self-manage new technologies implemented.”

One area where Castleton supported with immediacy and proactivity was issues around Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities – particularly around accessing personal data. Within a matter of weeks, server infrastructure had been patched, minimising the risk of data protection issues going forward.

Working to the strategic goals of the ICT strategy, at one stage Staffordshire Housing had over 46 live projects, with Castleton on-hand to provide technical knowledge and support.

Working as an extension of the SHG’s team, Castleton offer reviews and assessments at the relevant stages and bring news ideas to the table, to further enhance services to customers.

I think organisations would benefit from working with Castleton, as they bring a high level of technical expertise, transparency and proactivity to the account and project management. They regularly bring ideas to the table that will benefit the business and help us to deliver better services to our customers. It’s the complete solution for me.

Darren Penney – ICT Services Delivery Manager for Staffordshire Housing Group