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Housing Association

Posted on: 15th September 2022

The Client

Housing sector challenges have never been greater. Balancing data security with accessibility, improving tenant services and adapting to hybrid working, all against a challenging economic backdrop, has resulted in significant pressure. 

Our customer had merged with another large UK housing group, resulting in serious issues integrating a wide range of disparate and complex systems, portals and applications.   


The Challenge

Two years following the merger, part of the temporary bridge created to integrate two networks and migrate some users from the old domain to the new was still in place, along with some legacy systems which were not fully consolidated. This had created large management and support overheads.  

It was critical to create a new ICT strategy aligned to seamlessly consolidate these systems, and provide an agile and scalable platform to accommodate our customer’s ambitious growth, and its community aims. 

We were invited to perform an independent review and assessment of the existing ICT strategy centering around data centre consolidation and transformation, and recommend immediate, short term and medium term priorities.  

Our Solution

Our senior technical team worked with our customer’s in-house IT team to define a five-year ICT strategy and roadmap that would meet its goals.  

The initial discovery project covered discovery, analysis, design, and delivery stages, to gain a better view of the infrastructure, unearth any issues that may have had a detrimental effect on the programme of works, uncover any previously undiscovered ‘rat nests’ and tailor the whole work package for our customer. This exercise spanned infrastructure and operations, server compute and storage, end user computing, application review, security, disaster recovery and business continuity, network, and licensing. 

Our customer then identified an additional project requirement, based on its plan to place one of its support arms, which employed several hundred staff, up for sale. Its aim was to split the two operations and their related systems, including network infrastructure, and place them into their own separate environments. The ultimate aim was to create a secure environment to facilitate what would be two separately operating businesses, in order to prepare the support arm for potential acquisition.  

This involved recreating a sub-domain in the architecture, segregating this logically and physically, including the splitting physically of office space in an outlying customer contact centre, migrating all the affected users and systems into the sub-domain and giving the acquirer secure VPN access to this - and only this - while they implemented their own permanent links. 

As part of this project our team built a new network, linked it to the current network, created new accounts in the new network for 300 users in the support arm, cloned their email accounts, set up replication facilities to move their email data, and other user/departmental data, upgraded their Microsoft exchange, and split the networks after moving their accounts and data. We also carried out elements of telecoms network changes to split the two businesses away from each other’s dependence upon the previous single network/WAN. 

All of this required high level expertise across multiple skillsets, including networking, AD, Exchange, Citrix, NetScaler and other technologies. The result was two separate networks – the new one with hundreds of staff in it, which was then transferred to the purchaser, along with the data. 

We then completed the project by improving the WIFI and upgrading our customer’s core network, helping them to move and consolidate systems and data in multiple data centres, to help prepare for a move of relevant systems to the cloud, and reduce reliance upon the number of data centres they were using. 

A further project involved installing Remote Skype for Business following a health check of the existing Skype for Business Server 2015 deployment, including the review of DR configuration where there were known issues; Central Management Store (CMS) replication; Skype for Business Server 2015 Component versions; Certificate & DNS Configuration; event log analysis; back end database configuration and performance; and Skype for Business Server 2015 Key Health Indicators were used to analyse collected data. Our team discussed the findings with the customer before we implemented our recommendations. 

The Outcome

The outstanding expertise of our team helped our customer to finally address the longstanding legacy issues of the initial business merger, which were causing the business huge problems. We successfully carried out a technically complex division of the two operating entities – within a very tight timescale – playing a key part in the smooth sale of the support arm, and helping to reduce the number of data centres from six to two, generating significant cost and operational benefits for our customer.  


As problem solvers, we work with all types and sizes of organisation, with a proven record of success across many sectors including public sector, healthcare, finance, manufacturing and not for profit. We look forward to finding out how we can help you too.

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