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									                                              Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
                                              Customer Solution Case Study

                                              Social Landlord Frees 50 Per Cent of IT Staff
                                              to Work on Business Development

                                              “Due to Microsoft technology, there are now only 2,000
Customer: Home Group                          helpdesk support calls a month. Moreover, 50 per cent of our
Web Site: www.homegroup.org.uk
Number of Employees: 4,000
                                              IT staff now work on business development projects rather
Country or Region: United Kingdom             than day-to-day maintenance of the systems.”
Industry: Residential social landlord
                                              Keith Woolley, Information Services Director, Home Group
Partner: Silversands

Customer Profile                              Home Group, a social housing provider in the U.K., struggled to support
The Home Group is a residential social
landlord in the United Kingdom. Every year,
                                              its remote workers with messaging services. Microsoft® Gold Certified
it provides affordable housing to more than   Partner Silversands helped Home optimise its multi-domain infrastructure
13,500 socially excluded people.
                                              to a single domain based on Microsoft products. It also added standards,
Software and Services                         processes, and training solutions on a flexible and secure architecture.
 Microsoft Server Product Portfolio
  − Microsoft Internet Security and
                                              As a result, Home Group employees can access documents and e-mail
    Acceleration (ISA) Server 2006            messages anytime, anywhere, and 50 per cent of IT employees are now
  − Microsoft Exchange Server 2003
  − Windows Server 2003
                                              working on business development rather than system maintenance.
  − Microsoft Systems Management
    Server 2003
                                              Business Needs                                      collaborate with the administrative staff based
                                              Based in the U.K., the Home Group is a              in five locations in Newcastle. However, by
 Windows XP
                                              residential social landlord (RSL) that provides     2005, the organisation’s IT infrastructure was
 Technologies
                                              affordable housing. It serves more than 13,500      struggling to support the existing means of
  − Active Directory
                                              socially excluded people every year and             communication used by these employees.
  − Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access
                                              maintains 52,000 social houses.                     These include e-mail messages, mobile
  − Terminal Services
                                                                                                  devices, and a document management system
  − Desktop Lifecycle Management
                                              The backbone of operations at RSL is its 3,500      based on Microsoft SharePoint® Portal Server
  − Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server
                                              housing officers. They work from 600 remote         2001. While the operating system, Microsoft
                                              locations across the country to provide one-to-     Windows NT ® version 4.0, supported 75 per
                                              one services to their customers, such as            cent of the users, Microsoft Windows® 2000
                                              housing management, regeneration, and               Server provided IT services for the rest. As a
                                              community development. One of their key             result of these multiple domains, users could
                                              requirements is easy access to e-mail               not easily exchange e-mail messages, share
For more information about other Microsoft    messages, case-files, and policy documents.         Microsoft Office Outlook ® calendars, and
customer successes, please visit:
                                              This business information helps them interact       schedule meetings.
                                              with housing and finance providers and
Users required constant helpdesk support, but                              operating systems, supporting all users          systems.” In turn, the Home IT team could
the 85-strong IT staff could not cope with the                             including the 600 remote sites.                  deliver business-critical services to remote
high demand. Keith Woolley, Information                                  Microsoft Exchange Server 2003—to provide         workers, such as Microsoft Office Outlook Web
Services Director for Home Group, says: “We                                a single global address list, supports mobile    Access for Internet-based access to e-mail
received more than 7,000 support calls a month,                            and Web-based access e-mail messages and         messages. This helps employees provide better
but it was time consuming to resolve issues in a                           documents.                                       customer service. Woolley adds: “The new
multi-domain environment. The call abandon                               Active Directory® services—for authentication     environment has helped Home take the first
rate at the helpdesk was more than 70 per                                  and authorisation of users.                      step towards its customer excellence
cent.” In addition, the network managers could                           Citrix server farm—to access applications         programme. And unlike two years ago, IT can
not keep a track of the users and were unable to                           remotely using Web-based devices such as         now support all business operations much
provide anytime, anywhere access to data.                                  mobile phones.                                   more effectively.” Other benefits include:
“Consequently, housing officers spent up to 30                           New data centre—for Home Group to unify its        Improved productivity. Employees can access
minutes travelling to an access point to check e-                          offices in five locations in Newcastle to one      documents from anywhere using Internet-
mail messages,” says Woolley.                                              central location.                                  based devices. They save time by not having
                                                                         Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration        to travel to the access points and can
Solution                                                                   (ISA) Server 2006—to provide secure access         concentrate on providing enhanced
To improve the communication services, Woolley                             to messaging and Citrix applications.              customer service.
started a technology restructuring process. He                           Microsoft Systems Management Server                Better collaboration. A single, global address
considered several vendors, including IBM and                              2003—or application deployment, update             list helps users to seamlessly share
HP. But, in April 2006, Woolley chose to                                   management and Desktop Lifecycle                   calendars, schedule meetings, and book
collaborate with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner                          Management (DLM). The Silversands DLM              meeting rooms.
Silversands. He says: “The HPs and IBMs of the                             solution helps enterprises automate the           Higher network security. Network managers
world present great workgroups initially, but                              process of deploying Windows operating             have better visibility of the users with Active
often change the personnel during deployment.                              systems and desktop applications using a           Directory and can route e-mail messages
Silversands, on the other hand, offered                                    centralised Microsoft infrastructure.              more effectively.
consistent one-to-one support to our IT staff to                         Server virtualisation software—to run several      Enhanced user support. Calls to the
help them adjust to the transformation.”                                   operating systems on one physical server.          helpdesk have fallen from 7,000 to 2,000 a
Tim Joyce, Project Manager at Silversands, says:                                                                              month, and the call abandon rate has
“Our experts worked on site rather than from our                        The partner conducted workshops for the Home          dropped to 5 per cent from 70 per cent.
offices. The same workgroup also managed the                            IT staff, covering topics such as Active             Higher business value. With a lower
whole project, which ensured continuity of                              Directory, security concepts, virtualisation, and     requirement for maintenance, 50 per cent of
resource across the programme reinforcing a                             Microsoft best practices. Woolley says: “It was       the IT staff now work on business
strong partnership approach with the Home                               end-to-end knowledge transfer from                    development projects.
workgroup.” First of all, Silversands designed a                        Silversands to our team. We’re now working           Reduced carbon footprint. Since housing
proof-of-concept to help the Information Services                       with the partner to develop an IT roadmap in          officers could cut down on travelling, the
group see the benefits of a single domain                               line with Microsoft products.”                        RSL’s mileage consumption has been
infrastructure without involving any financial or                                                                             reduced. Fewer physical servers due to
business risk. Three months later, in November                          Benefits                                              virtualisation contribute to lower energy
2006, the partner embarked on an enterprise-                            The new simplified infrastructure helps Home          consumption.
wide implementation. The solution went live in                          efficiently manage its IT environment. Woolley       Continuous progress. With a reliable IT
December 2007, resulting in a simplified IT                             says: “Due to Microsoft technology, there are         environment in place, Home is looking to
environment:                                                            now only 2,000 helpdesk support calls a               deploy latest technologies such as Microsoft
 Single domain infrastructure—based on                                 month. Moreover, 50 per cent of our IT staff          Exchange Server 2007, Windows Server
   Windows Server® 2003 and Windows XP                                  now work on business development projects             2008, and Microsoft Office SharePoint
                                                                        rather than day-to-day maintenance of the             Server 2007.

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.

Document published May 2008

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