Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation step into the future with IDE Group
Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation (QEF) is a leading disability charity for people with physical and learning disabilities or acquired brain injuries, helping them gain new skills and increase independence for life. With residents, staff and visitors to QEF wanting to use today’s modern technology, the IT infrastructure across its sites simply was not up to the job. QEF chose IDE Group to bring the charity up to speed with the latest tech infrastructure and to modernise its ICT services.
QEF were facing the challenge of an outdated IT set up. For many years, the charity had been using donated equipment alongside ageing servers which were past their effective date and housed across different locations. On top of that they had inadequate internet bandwidth and unreliable connectivity, with sites relying on slow ADSL. This led to performance issues when accessing resources on other sites. Desktops were running on Windows XP, with most staff still on Office 2003.
There also needed to be a consistent platform across QEF’s diverse locations to allow better sharing of information and the freedom to access resources regardless of location. Backup and Disaster Recovery was limited to tapes which had to be changed each night and were close to their maximum capacity.
After significant consultation and audit, IDE Group proposed a solution to modernise QEF’s entire IT estate, making use of the latest software and infrastructure solutions and allowing them to embrace elements of cloud computing, so that they are set up ideally to face the future. All disparate servers and multiple Windows Domains were consolidated into a single virtual infrastructure. Users now log onto a new Windows virtual desktop with the latest Microsoft productivity tools, delivered by Citrix. Users can work effectively from any QEF location or when at home or off-site. The entire LAN was upgraded to support the introduction of campus Wi-Fi for both residents, staff and visitors and for the future introduction of IP Telephony. A desktop hardware refresh joined clients and staff together via the use of laptops and tablets, and where possible old workstations were re-purposed into Citrix terminals to save cost. IDE Group’s state-of-the-art Lifecycle Centre in Kent was used to cut the deployment time of the new devices using automated build tools and proven logistics methods.
QEF also benefited from IDE Group providing a full time on-site engineer based throughout the multi-site campus with intrinsic knowledge of the old and the new IT world; this relationship was critical to a smooth transition and dealing with each location’s unique set of challenges. IDE Group also introduced a Managed Service Contract with Service Desk, remote server, network monitoring and management, Private Managed WAN and the colocation of primary servers with Cloud backup & Disaster Recovery.
QEF needed to jump back on the tech train and make up for lost time. But as a charity it needed to keep costs down. IDE Group was chosen for its mid-size suitability, value and range of solutions and upon an independent internal audit into IT procurement, was confirmed as ‘the right solution at the right time’.