Step One are a Devon based mental health charity with in-patient facilities. Their services include mental health crisis care and recovery, and one-to-one mentoring in employment and independent living skills. The charity works with a diverse range of people who may have a mental health issue and/or a hidden disability, such as an autism spectrum condition.
Step One’s staff work in the community and at their dedicated facilities, including an independent hospital and supported living residences. Step One also offers support and training for both individuals and businesses. The charity’s Through the Gate Support is an employability and support program for former inmates.
The charity has several offices across Devon and they have 120 IT service users.
Step One were reviewing their managed IT services in 2020 when Nexus’s Business Development Manager Glenn Weeks, approached them about their IT requirements. He says:
“I worked with their IT manager Andrew Parle, who, at the time, was the charity’s only IT member of staff, making him a single point of failure should anything happen. He was about to migrate the charity’s data onto the cloud, making them serverless.”
Just as Nexus began to support Andrew, the worst-case scenario happened and Andrew was suddenly hospitalised. Andrew recalls:
“The worst happened and I was not able to work. At the time, it meant if I stopped working, then the charity stopped working too. Nexus came in at really short notice and then we entered into a partnership with them.”
“It was a very difficult job because so much of what we needed to know was in Andrew’s head and he had been solely in charge of the charity’s IT system for ten years.”
Nexus were also missing a lot of information because the charity’s incumbent IT supplier had not been keeping up-to-date records or back-up. Glenn continues:
“If a back-up does not complete properly, then you cannot rebuild the IT system.”
As a result, Step One’s IT system was facing a lot of potential risk.
Nexus deployed a temporary back-up measure. Once the back-up was secured, we were confident we could replace the data should anything happen and we could continue with the migration of data to the cloud. Glenn recalls:
“We wanted to quickly get into a situation whereby if something broke, then we were in a position to fix it. Some of the charity’s physical IT equipment was in a bad way, making the situation even more pressing.”
Nexus now provide Step One with a fully managed IT service, looking after all of the charity’s IT requirements.
With a fully managed IT service, the charity benefits from having Nexus always on standby at a lower cost than hiring someone internally. Andrew now has more time to concentrate on IT projects and strategy because he has been freed up from his day-to-day responsibilities.
“Crucially, the ultimate burden of keeping all the IT systems running no longer rests solely on Andrew’s shoulders. This also means he can go on holiday without worrying, and he has fellow IT professionals he can bounce ideas off.”
“I can go on holiday and I don’t have to be on standby. For me, personally, it has been amazing, and it’s also been great for Step One. Before, if I was busy with one person, then everyone else had to wait. Now we have a team of IT professionals behind us.”
Step One are capitalising on Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which means the charity can run their IT system through one flexible licence (licences can be added or removed, but the core infrastructure remains). Glenn continues:
“A huge benefit of moving the domain controller into the cloud is that employees can connect to it and PCs can be controlled remotely – from anywhere in the world – as if they are still in the office.”
Nexus upscaled Step One’s IT system, making it work in a post-covid world, and we also removed the risk of having a single point of failure. We now support Andrew with IT manpower and expertise; we removed the need for an on-premise IT system and removed the need for a physical space to house the charity’s IT equipment. In fact, the new IT system made the sale of Step One’s office, in the centre of Exeter, much easier. Glenn concludes:
“I think the question businesses need to ask themselves is, if there’s another pandemic, can they survive?