Housing group's IT team improves quality and helps to speed up service for tenants

Management software helps Walsall group to redeploy Wan resources

Management software helps Walsall group to redeploy Wan resources

Walsall Housing Group has reduced system downtime and increased the control it has over an expanded network by introducing IT management software.

The IT department at the housing group uses Computer Associates' Unicenter management software to help it to oversee the IT infrastructure and alert it to problems on the network.

The growth of the housing group, since its transfer from the Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council in March 2003, has led to a rapid expansion of its supporting IT infrastructure.

The IT systems have to be reliable and available to support the work of Walsall Housing Group's 800 employees who manage a portfolio of 22,800 homes in the Walsall area.

The software implementation project for an undisclosed sum began at the end of May and is due to be finished next month.

The Unicenter management software sits on a Windows Server 2003 and runs on a Citrix client-based environment. Two of the Walsall Housing Group's in-house IT staff worked with a CA consultant on the project.

Phil Pettifer, network manager at Walsall Housing Group, said, "The resource required to identify the source of problems was forcing us onto the back foot. We needed better control over our IT assets and the ability to proactively manage the system in order to increase our service levels to the group."

According to Pettifer, IT staff had been reacting to problems after they had happened rather than knowing about a potential problem within the system.

Tenants' enquiries and housing application forms are now processed more quickly and effectively while service delivery is more efficient, Pettifer added.

Now he can monitor the whole network in one view and the management software will alert him to any problems, such as a bottleneck of end-user traffic on the network. "Overnight we were able to identify unused resources thereby cutting costs. We went from spending days trying to find the source of a particular problem to having it pinpointed for us by the system."

The software has also reduced the time it takes to back up network data from 13- to four hours.

Building on the early success of the Unicenter project, Walsall Housing Group then started implementing CA's E-trust Secure Content Manager and E-trust Vulnerability Manager in July. The group said the latter module will help it to tighten IT security, including the installation of security patches to combat computer viruses.

On the back of this project Pettifer plans to extend the Unicenter technology to the front-line helpdesk, to enable greater visibility of this area.

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