The Coaching Inn Group (CIG) is one of Lincolnshire’s fastest growing businesses, with a head office in Boston and eight hotels spread across the country, from Darlington in the north to Welshpool in the West. The business has more than 320 employees spread across eight sites, with an expectation of more to come as CIG pursues ambitious growth plans, backed by investors.
Due to the nature and speed of expansion of the business, the original IT infrastructure was unable to cope with the increasing demands placed upon it and the management recognised the need to make improvements. The business had suffered from an unreliable IT infrastructure, with a lot of down time and poor service from the incumbent IT support business, not particularly skilled in the implementation of Cloud services.
It was important any upgrade allowed closer collaboration and interaction between users, to ensure high quality customer service was maintained. The situation not only required immediate improvement, but a future-proof solution that considered the growth plans of the business.
We began with a thorough review of the group’s existing service, including a full network optimisation audit, to highlight all the problems and establish the most appropriate solution. As a result of the survey and our discussion of future needs with the management team, we recommended CIG adopt a hosted desktop environment.
A hosted desktop solution allows users access to the system from anywhere, at any time, with any device and can be used on the slowest of internet connections, even 3G from a Smartphone if needed.
The solution tailored for CIG included all the required dedicated virtual servers, backup and disaster recovery, firewalls and security, along with all the necessary storage for all third party apps and/or a network drive to share between users.
All software is procured on a Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) basis, which not only ensures CIG always has the very latest Microsoft products, but can easily increase (or decrease) the number of users without having to make any upfront investment – the more you use the more you pay.
Our hosted desktop, also sometimes known as Desktop as a Service (DaaS), includes hosted e-mail and all email security. The Qcloud hosted desktop solution removes the need for any server infrastructure on-premise, as everything is stored at our secure site in Tamworth.
Citrix is the mechanism that allows our end users to connect to their hosted desktop infrastructure via a simple URL, entering their username and password to gain secure access. There are no difficult VPN settings or Terminal Server sessions and the user has access to the local ports and peripherals of the machine they are connecting from – printing and accessing a memory stick poses no problem despite using the hosted desktop portal.
The new system ensures staff can communicate and collaborate more easily, to help resolve issues at each of the hotels, as well as their own. Users can log in from any computer in the office, home or even out on the road and access all their applications and data, to help improve productivity. The new email service with advanced anti-spam filters improves connectivity and frees users from unnecessary administration jobs.
The ability to access the full Office suite of applications via the virtual desktop infrastructure will ensure the business is future-proofed for upgrades and patches all in one go. When an upgrade is released by Microsoft, we simply ask CIG if they want it implementing, then every desktop receives the newest version, rather than worrying about individual machines and accidentally introducing a whole range of compatibility issues.
Further resilience has been delivered with an improved storage, back-up and replication solution, managed by the hotel group.
A little on-site training from our engineers has helped CIG staff understand the improved capabilities of their new system, allowing them to increase productivity and efficiency even further.
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