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Cloud helps solar specialist to shine

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A Sheffield-based cloud computing specialist is helping to fuel record-growth at renewable energy specialists The Green Deal Initiative after securing a contract to overhaul its IT infrastructure.

Holbrook-based HA Hosting, which founded and operates one of South Yorkshire’s first bespoke data-centres, was approached by Green Deal Initiative to help it overcome a range of different network issues which had cost the business an estimated £20,000 in lost orders and working time. 

Responsible for helping homeowners to save money on their energy bills by providing renewable energy systems as well as a range home insulation services, Green Deal, has enjoyed significant growth since its formation in 2012.

However its rapid growth, which has seen the business expand from just three members of staff to a workforce of over 200 meant the company’s IT system was no longer fit for purpose, with staff encountering difficulties in undertaking many aspects of their jobs, because of problems accessing email and documents held on its server.

After appointing HA Hosting to overhaul the company’s systems, they identified a number of technical issues, causing the server to run slowly and even preventing staff from accessing network resources. Compatibility problems were also identified, with a range of different versions office and email software being installed across the desktop machines.

To improve reliability, HA Hosting migrated Green Deal’s existing data server to a Cloud Server Platform.

The relocation also ensured enough additional power could easily be added to cope with the extra demands placed on the equipment from the company’s growing numbers of users.

HA Hosing also migrated the company’s email servers, providing a stable and reliable platform that enables email access to staff while both on and off site.

Finally, a fully managed data backup system was also installed, protecting the company from any potential data loss.

Since adopting the new cloud-based system, Green Deal has gone on to help over 2,500 homeowners throughout the UK save over £500,000 on their energy bills and is on track to secure a place in this year’s prestigious Fast Track 100 list, after securing a number of significant contracts with a number of housing associations and local authorities throughout the UK, helping to fuel further growth and expansion.

David Holliday, director of The Green Deal Initiative said:

“As a company specialising in solar energy, it seems slightly ironic that it’s a cloud which has solved our IT headaches.

“Much of our work is dependent upon a rigorous reporting process.

“The new system has helped to streamline this process, allowing workers in the field to send pictures of work undertaken and reports, helping to save considerable time and money.

“I had heard about cloud computing but didn’t really know a great deal about it. After talking to HA Hosting, they agreed to look at our IT infrastructure and help us to overcome the problems we were facing.

“Members of staff can now access email and other important documents via mobiles, laptops and tablets while on site, helping to improve our reporting procedures and the support we receive means that any issues are usually solved within a couple of hours, rather days. It’s played a significant role in our expansion, helping to further fuel our business growth”

“The problems we faced with our IT system were having a major impact on the business.

“In some cases staff would find themselves being locked out of our system and unable to work for the rest of the day.

“At the time we were using different companies to look after different parts of our system, which could result in lengthy delays in identifying and resolving the problems we faced.”

Rory Delahoyde, managing director, HA Hosting said:

“When a company grows quickly, additional pressure can be placed on its IT infrastructure.

“This can result in a complete system failure, costing businesses significant amounts of money in lost working hours. It was clear from the outset of our work the company’s server equipment was no longer fit for purpose – a combination of both increased numbers of staff in the business and lack of maintenance on their existing equipment.

“Green Deal were ideally placed to reap the benefits of cloud technology.

“The new systems meant all members of staff were able to access systems reliably.

“Separating the Network, Server, Email and Client devices meant, we were quickly able to dramatically improve the experience of users within days and ensured reliable access to the network.

“We also examined ways of improving the server performance, before going on to resolve any minor problems on devices like email access on desktop pcs, tablets and phones.

“Using our MS Exchange email platform allowed diaries to be synchronised and emails to be accessed from mobile devices whilst on-site, helping the company to operate more efficiently.

“Adopting a cloud system, has helped the company to future-proof it’s IT infrastructure, meaning as the company continues to grow and expand, additional users can be simply added, without incurring the high up-front costs of purchasing additional servers.”

HA Hosting was founded in February 2008 by experienced IT professionals Rory Delahoyde and Stuart Stones.

The company provides a comprehensive range of hosting, support and data backup services, designed to provide SME businesses with access to an enterprise-level IT infrastructure.

Since its formation, the company has specialised in providing specialist hosting services to small and medium sized businesses, offering a wide range of cloud-based systems, server co-location, as well as data backup. 

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