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Managed IT Services

Re-focus on what you need to do

Founded in 1911 in Letchworth, Howard Cottage Housing Society delivers more than 50 new affordable homes a year in rural areas.

Whilst IT is central to its business – the reality is that IT is an enabler, not a core competency.

Help was needed. Budgets precluded employing a fully-skilled IT manager so Central stepped into the gap.

    Our ICT is no longer a problem. We operate in a green ICT environment that delivers the stability, reliability and performance that we need, every day. Our users are happy and the organisation can genuinely take ICT for granted now.

    Phil Bell, IT Officer, Howard Cottage Housing Association
  • The case for managed IT

    Howard Cottage wanted to simplify the management and support of their IT environment. The wanted a reliable environment that would deliver a consistent level of performance to users and provide the organisation with a fixed cost for technology solutions.

    Furthermore they wanted to benefit from expertise and insight that they could not afford, retain, or refresh, in house. And to have the comfort of 24/7 services that were also free from holidays and illness.

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  • Legacy systems

    The IT infrastructure was unreliable, expensive to support and maintain and it simply wasn’t helping Howard Cottage to work efficiently. Furthermore development had been ad-hoc meaning no consistency across the sites, making it difficult to manage and support.

    Central began working with Howard Cottage in 2008. Before the project began, Central conducted a full audit of the IT environment to determine exact requirements, and to identify the areas that were causing most issues for users and management.

    Central also considered the level of internal IT knowledge and experience with a view to ensuring that the resource could be applied in the most effective way in the new environment.

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  • Fully hosted solution

    Taking current and future requirements into consideration, Central designed, and implemented, a fully hosted and managed service for Howard Cottage. From its Rochdale data centre Central now manages and supports the full IT environment for the main site and for seven remote locations.

    1st line support is provided by the Central Service Desk, while elements of the 2nd and 3rd line support is provided by Howard Cottage’s own IT resource, backed up by Central’s external team of accredited engineers.

    This provides an effective combination of remote and onsite assistance, giving Howard Cottage a manageable IT workload. The solution also provides the best of mix of hosted, managed and onsite services.

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  • Thin Clients for Efficiency and Footprint

    All the desktops onsite were replaced with Sun Ray client devices. This immediately eliminated significant issues thanks to the reliability of thin client devices and ease of replacement replaced with another one. Sun Rays also use just 4 watts of power compared with 80 watts used by PCs.

    Central apply all hardware and software upgrades at the data centre. This ensures that there is minimal disruption when upgrades are being carried out and ensures that the systems are kept up to date and operating at the peak of their performance.

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