InfoTech Solutions perform full IT upgrade to enable an increase in productivity
The Business Problem
Asplins Producer Organisation Limited Approached InfoTech with numerous issues and concerns with their aging IT systems.
InfoTech created an IT audit and recommendations report that identified several key elements that could be improved to help the business be more efficient, improve system security and reliability while at the same time reducing the risk of downtime. The key points highlighted from the review were:
■ The Server hardware was several years old and not supported by the manufacturer.
■ Asplins have to keep all data for up to eight years, this entails backups of yearly accounts and email, however, no central backup strategy was in place and email was not archived.
■ Several Computers were running Windows XP which no longer supported by Microsoft and therefore not patched with security updates.
■ Asplins did not have remote access to the IT system, but this is a function that was needed by the business.
■ Due to the rural office location, power cuts are common, and with an on premise IT system, this caused business disruption on a regular basis.
■ There was no business class firewall in place to secure the network from intrusion.
One of the key drivers was to keep capital expenditure to a minimum and keep the costs firmly in the expense column allowing easy budgeting without having to worry about changing the IT system every few years.
A Senior IT Consultant from InfoTech helped Asplins determine the best options to cost effectively resolve all IT issues and refresh the IT infrastructure at the same time.
“At all stages I have felt confident in Infotech’s ability to deliver a secure and workable solution. My staff were supported throughout the transition and the project was completed with minimal disruption.”
InfoTech proposed a Cloud based solution rather than upgrading the current IT systems. The solution we recommended resolved all issues and importantly did not require a capital outlay, which was the preferred solution by the clients. By utilising a Cloud based system option, Asplins staff can work remotely from an alternative location when power cuts happen, thus allowing business functions to continue.
The System is based on a Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services platform allowing Asplins applications to be accessed from any Internet enabled computer anywhere in the world. This server platform was housed within InfoTech’s Cloud.
During the systems migration project, all outdated Workstations were replaced with Thin Clients and a Microsoft Office 365 licensing plan entitle Asplins to install the latest Microsoft Office software on up to 5 devices per user. All email communications are archived for an unlimited amount of time using the same Office 365 Solution.
The End Result
The outcome of the project for Asplins is a new Cloud based IT system to drive the business over the next 3-5 years with reduced IT management complexity. The IT system has been migrated to an easily accessible central platform that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
InfoTech successfully planned, managed and delivered the IT systems refresh project and deployed new hardware, software and licensing plans, which consisted of the following key deliverables:
■ Deployment of Cloud Infrastructure
■ Data transfer from existing server
■ Migration of email services to Office 365
■ Installation of a Remote Desktop Based Cloud Infrastructure during working hours with minimal disruption
■ Deployment of new Thin Client Terminals
■ Installation of Dell SonicWALL Firewalls to protect the local network and secure data between Asplins and the Data Centre.
■ Decommissioning of legacy Server and workstations
■ A central backup strategy was put in place to ensure all data was backed up as per the client’s legal requirements
■ Unlimited Archiving of all email communications
Chief Exec – Asplins Producer Organisation Limited
“Our outdated system was an increasing worry. It is a relief to know that we now have a reliable, fully maintained and supported system. The ability to remote access our systems via the internet has been a valuable tool.”
Established in 1998, Asplins PO has an annual turnover in the region of £50 million, the majority from sales going to the upper end of the UK supermarket sector.
It has always sought the best route to market for its members’ fruit, and maintains professional management and close links to its customers and the consumer.
Asplins PO commenced a three-year EU funded programme from 2014 to provide continuing support for growth and development plans of its growers.
Asplins PO is democratically run by its members for the benefit of the members. Its Board of Directors meet regularly to decide production, marketing, and financial strategy. The Board is supported by its Executive Team under the direction of Julia Payne.
Asplins PO operate from a single site in Faversham.
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