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Outsourcing gives Scottish charity’s IT team time to think ahead

Carr Gomm outsources IT support to allow internal IT team to think beyond keeping the lights on

Scottish charity Carr Gomm has saved money and enabled its limited in-house IT team to keep up to date with technology by outsourcing its IT support.

The Edinburgh-based organisation, which provides practical support to vulnerable people across Scotland, began to grow rapidly in 2013 and decided it could no longer cope with just its IT head and a part-time contractor providing user IT support.

By outsourcing the day-to-day work of its IT department, the charity was able to spend time planning how IT could benefit the organisation and the people it supports. This led to the roll-out of Microsoft Office 365 and sparked plans to do more in the cloud.

Most of Carr Gomm’s 1,200 staff work remotely, so providing IT support is a constant challenge. Kevin Calder, the charity’s IT manager, and a part-time IT contractor were doing this as the only IT staff, which meant they had no time to focus on longer-term planning, and opportunities to harness the latest IT were being missed.

To address this, the charity’s management decided to outsource its IT helpdesk and support. It selected IT services firm MCSA to provide support from its Glasgow service centre. A two-year contract was signed in 2013 and extended by three years in 2015.

MCSA provides a first- and second-line helpdesk service, supporting users on all IT issues, including remote monitoring, access to a technical support team and on-site hardware server maintenance. Dedicated helpdesk engineers work solely on the Carr Gomm contract, which has enabled them to develop an understanding of the charity’s environment.

Since the agreement with MCSA, Carr Gomm has been able to think beyond just keeping its IT running smoothly and look to the future.

For example, the internal IT team was able to plan the introduction of Microsoft Office 365. “Faced with the alternative of refreshing existing hardware and upgrading Exchange/Outlook versions, Office 365 presented a number of benefits,” said Calder. These included decreasing the organisation’s on-premise hardware and associated maintenance/licensing costs, and ensuring it has an IT infrastructure fit for the future.

“Other benefits included maximising productivity by increasing the ability for mobile working, a reduced resource overhead for monitoring/managing in-house Exchange, and the ability to manage the mailboxes of remote users, whose devices are not always connected to the domain,” he added. “The scope for collaboration and file sharing via SharePoint and OneDrive was also a positive.”

The success of the Office 365 project, which was completed two years ago, encouraged Carr Gomm to focus on getting more from this investment. “Following the successful roll-out of Office 365, we will be looking to further enable the workforce’s mobility and decrease the organisation’s reliance on on-premise hardware by transitioning other key services to cloud-hosted/SaaS [software as a service] alternatives,” said Calder.

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