ICT Rationalisation and Managed IT Solutions for Maggie's | Mason Infotech

Maggie's

ICT Rationalisation Enables Maggie’s Centres to Work Smarter

Consolidating its disparate voice and data platforms enabled this innovative cancer charity to usher in new ways of working that ensure it can help more people, more of the time – and in new ways.

About Maggie’s Centres

Maggie’s is an innovative charity offering free practical, emotional and social help to anyone affected by cancer. Founded by and named after the late Maggie Keswick Jencks who died in 1995 after battling breast cancer, the charity’s drop-in centres have qualified professionals on hand to help with anything from nutrition advice to counselling.

Designed by forward-thinking architects, the charity’s iconic centres are based in the grounds of NHS hospitals with specialist cancer units. Today, there are 21 Maggie’s Centres providing drop-in and telephone helpline services to those living with cancer.

In recent years the charity launched an Online Centre, available 24x7 and staffed during office hours, to help everyone living with cancer and their family and friends, whether they have a Maggie’s Centre near them or not.

The Challenge

Having experienced rapid organic growth, Maggie’s wanted to consolidate and rationalise its communications and IT infrastructures to enable smarter, more collaborative working.

As the number of centres grew, the operational impact of managing this dislocated infrastructure was proving both costly and time consuming. With the right ICT infrastructure in place, it would be easier to incorporate new centres as these came on line and assure continuity of service to users.

The Solution

To simplify the day-to-day administration of users, groups and call routing across the entire organisation, Mason Infotech recommended a new hosted IP phone system with built in ‘meet me’ audio conferencing so employees can collaborate with colleagues in any location. The new cloud-managed telephony system makes it easy to add new locations or users. In the event of a local manpower issue or other problem, calls can quickly be redirected to another office to ensure no caller is left hanging on the line.

“It’s now simpler and more efficient for staff to engage with each other, partners and the people we help and, because everything is handled on one server, everything is considerably easier for us to manage,” says Anthony.

Next, Mason Infotech initiated a high performance hosted voice and data distributed network with built-in multi-site management that enables secure VPN tunnels to be established between sites with a single click.

“The scalable, self-healing network has enabled us to address the service issues that used to frustrate users, while giving the IT team full visibility of the entire network – including applications, users and devices,” says Anthony.

“Updates are delivered seamlessly over the web and I can control the entire network, initiating security policies or monitoring performance from a single dashboard – even delving down to see detail on who or what is hogging bandwidth,” he continues.

The new platform means the charity can transition to a new era of cloud-based office applications that will enable its people to work anywhere, securely and with confidence, in new and highly productive ways. Currently, Mason Infotech is rationalising the charity’s internet connectivity, boosting its bandwidth to cope with evolving needs.

“People expect to use their smart devices wherever they go – including our centres. We now have the ability to securely segment our WiFi networks to give visitors public access to the connectivity they crave when visiting our sites.”

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The Results

Maggie’s now has a centralised cloud-managed communications and IT infrastructure that’s easy to administer, update and extend. A flexible SD WAN interconnects all sites to make data sharing an achievable reality.

The telephony rationalisation programme means the charity benefits from more dependable and flexible services, plus a single transparent billing point for its group-wide voice services. Meanwhile, upgrading Internet connectivity at its UK sites means reliable bandwidth capacity is at last available to support ongoing digital and cloud initiatives.

“Mason Infotech have helped us find more cost-effective ways of doing business and assure business continuity. We now have infrastructure uniformity across all branches, which has reduced the administration burden on our small IT team, freeing us to engage in more strategic activities. For example, we’re now investigating introducing video conferencing to further enhance collaboration capabilities across the organisation,” concludes Anthony.

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Mason Infotech have helped us find more cost-effective ways of doing business and assure business continuity. We now have infrastructure uniformity across all branches, which has reduced the administration burden on our small IT team, freeing us to engage in more strategic activities. For example, we’re now investigating introducing video conferencing to further enhance collaboration capabilities across the organisation.

Anthony Crawford - IT Manager - Maggies

Why Mason Infotech?

The relationship first began five years ago, when members of the Mason Infotech team gained personal experience of the services offered by Maggie’s Nottingham Centre and quickly became passionate advocates of Maggie’s unique approach to supporting patients and their family and friends following a cancer diagnosis.

Becoming involved with the Nottingham Centre board, Mason Infotech offered to provide IT support and ICT consultancy on a pro-bono basis to its local centre and help with local fundraising programmes. So when the charity wanted to find a national partner to help mastermind its ICT consolidation project, it turned to Mason Infotech who already had a deep understanding of its culture, remit and vision.

“It’s true to say Mason Infotech has become a trusted advisor that helps define and create platforms for sustainable growth. As well as giving us access to wholesale line rental deals that have helped cut our day-to-day operating costs, they always hunt down the best possible price for all technology purchases we make and discount hardware and equipment to ensure we maximise our funds,” says Anthony.

“From a technical perspective, they know our network inside out, are always on hand to give us guidance and never charge us for professional services or the day-to-day 9-5 support on our IT infrastructure they provide – as a not-for-profit organisation, that’s incredibly valuable to us.”

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