London - SAS Global Communications, an international provider of managed and professional network services, has announced details of a new contract delivering managed services, on behalf of BT, to The Hyde Group (Hyde), a leading provider of affordable housing in London and the South East, East Midlands and East of England.
Hyde is responsible for the supply of housing, regeneration and related services to more than 120,000 people in the UK, and has a portfolio of over 40,000 homes. Over the last few years the business has enjoyed significant growth arising from stock transfers, mergers and acquisitions, and success with other marketplace opportunities. However, its success has also led to an increasing dependence on technology to facilitate service delivery for its customers; with many new systems and solutions requiring management on its network.
Today, the IT department has responsibility for supporting around 1600 mobile and field-based staff and contractors, and manages the communications of 172 remote sites, including home-workers and satellite offices, which connect to its network.
Until recently, this had become a sizeable problem for Director of ICT Peter McDermott.
“As pioneers in the adoption of IP telephony, we’ve probably had a fairly complex infrastructure since about 2001,” said McDermott. “But as the company has grown, and we’ve bolted on more connections and devices, the network has become increasingly fragile. We began to experience regular failures in our inter-site communications which is a huge problem when, like us, you run telephony across your network. This is because any loss of connectivity takes out the phone system and, therefore, the ability to handle customer calls.”
Hyde has been working with BT for several years, with the telecommunications provider supplying Hyde’s WAN infrastructure and IPT solution, including all of its calls and mobiles. However its support requirements soon exceeded those available from the BT service agreement and to address this Hyde and the BT account team, turned to SAS for a solution.
“I immediately felt comfortable with SAS,” said McDermott. “The company had a good mix of customers, including several large organisations, some with far more complex requirements than ours; this was particularly important as it demonstrated the company’s ability to support and service our needs.”
As an initial project, SAS was asked to carry out an audit of Hyde’s network and identify any high-risk points of failure within the infrastructure. Remedial work was then undertaken which included consolidating a number of network devices, providing additional resilience on some circuits, and optimising all network routing configurations. Working hand-in-hand with BT, SAS also replaced Hyde’s automatic call distribution system with Cisco’s Unified Communications Contact Centre.
Since completing all remedial work necessary on Hyde’s network, SAS has been appointed to manage its entire communications estate. In this capacity, the company acts as a single point of contact for all BT queries received from Hyde, including issues, faults and billing inquiries relating to its WAN infrastructure, Internet circuits, calls, lines, mobile phones, Blackberries and its IPT solution, Cisco Call Manager.
24/7 managed communications services are provided from SAS's network operating centre in Horsham, where the company also manages all moves, additions and changes on Hyde’s communications estate; close collaboration with Hyde’s in-house IT department ensures that the majority of network changes can be carefully planned in advance, and their execution scheduled for a time that guarantees minimal impact on internal and external service provision.
“Because SAS has the knowledge and experience to efficiently navigate BT’s support infrastructure, we’re now seeing much faster resolution of issues than we did using our own management resources,” said McDermott. “Working with SAS has given us a lot more confidence in the services and products we receive from BT; it’s also given us better financial insight on our BT estate, which is absolutely essential for planning.”
Charles Davis, CEO of SAS Global Communications said: “As more and more companies are adopting converged networks, the gap between the services that carriers can offer and those that the customer requires is growing.
“By selecting SAS for its expertise with the BT portfolio, Hyde Housing is now receiving both the services and the products it needs to support a successful business.”
About The Hyde Group
The Hyde Group is a leading provider of affordable housing and makes a significant contribution to meeting housing needs and improving people’s quality of life. Hyde is one of the largest housing association groups working in England, owning or managing over 40,000 homes in London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, the East of England and East Midlands. More about The Hyde Group can be found at: www.hyde-housing.co.uk