About Winston’s Wish
Winston’s Wish was established in 1992 to meet the needs of bereaved children, young people and their families. The aim of Winston’s Wish is to provide every child, confronted by the death of a parent or sibling, with the professional support to face the future with confidence and hope. The charity has over 60 employees and a network of 70 PCs across two UK sites – the head office based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and an office based in Horsham, West Sussex, along with six home users based in the North West.
Number of Employees: 60
Partnered with OGL since: 2013
Company Location: Cheltenham, Gloucestershire & Horsham, West Sussex
Company Website: www.winstonswish.org
Charity turns to OGL for IT support and full server upgrade
Before partnering with OGL in 2013 for IT support and a hosted email solution, Winston’s Wish were reliant on a small local IT firm which, although satisfactory, could not fully provide the level of IT cover Winston’s Wish required for their expansion plans.
Winston’s Wish wanted to move to an IT partner who could deliver a full support service nationwide and bolster their internal IT resources. We spoke to the Winston’s Wish IT Co-ordinator, who explained how things have improved:
“We are a registered charity with limited internal IT staff and budget. We realised we needed to upgrade our IT systems and the level of support received from our contractor. We also wanted to explore ways of being more efficient whilst at the same time ensuring adequate IT cover for all our users nationwide”.
“We had been contacted by OGL previously about their products and services so we were already aware of them. Once the decision had been made to find a new IT partner we got in touch with OGL and began full discussions about what they could offer us and what they would recommend to reduce the burden on internal staff as well as placing us in a good position for the future. Dale Warner [IT Consultant for Gloucestershire] came to visit us and talked us through exactly what OGL do, how they do it and how the relationship between us and them would work”.
“As part of being a responsible organisation, we also spoke to competitors of OGL to check that we were getting the best supplier for our needs. We were most impressed by OGL’s professional approach and reassured by their reputation and the existing contracts they have with other organisations in the area”.
“Contracting with OGL was the right decision. We took a full IT support package out with them which includes proactive monitoring of our servers and network equipment. There have been times when issues have been identified and remotely fixed before any of our users even knew there was a problem. All of our systems and renewals are tracked and upgraded on time for us and regular health checks are carried out on our servers and network to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns”.
“Having OGL’s Service Desk at the end of a phone call or email means we are now never without IT support”.
“I would also compliment OGL on the way they respond to queries; always in a timely fashion with full explanation. After all, ultimately, the systems remain the responsibility of Winston’s Wish and we like to be fully briefed on what is happening and any updates, fixes or maintenance jobs that have been carried out”.
“The second part of our contract with OGL was to move to a hosted email solution. The switch from our dedicated onsite exchange server to hosted email was quick and without issue. The result was to free up staff and hardware that were dedicated to running our email system so they could be utilised in ways that contributed more effectively to our aims as an organisation. All of our emails are now stored in OGL’s cloud data centre giving excellent peace of mind that they are kept safe and secure”.
“I would certainly recommend OGL to other organisations and can vouch for their expert knowledge, friendly professional staff and quick response times.”
OGL handle virtualisation project - goodbye Microsoft Windows Server 2003!
Winston’s Wish had been an OGL customer for around nine months when they began to consider a full server upgrade to complement their new IT support and hosted email service.
Part of contracting with OGL is the allocation of a dedicated Account Manager and it was Lyndon Bendall, Account Manager for Winston’s Wish, who advised them about all the benefits that a server upgrade would bring.
Lyndon explains, “The IT network infrastructure at Winston’s Wish was over six years old and their three servers were approaching ‘end of life’, whereby they would become unsupported by Microsoft and present a threat to the security of the organisation’s data and would hinder any intended use of new software or applications.”
“Based on the age of the existing servers, I recommended a server virtualisation solution which would allow their three servers to be consolidated into two new high capacity, high specification Hewlett-Packard servers creating efficiency, reliability and excellent levels of performance.”
Winston’s Wish were running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, which has an end of support date of July 2015. As a responsible organisation, Winston’s Wish have taken the time to plan their upgrade and migration with OGL. This means they will avoid the costly and disruptive pitfalls of last-minute, frantic and “forced” migration nearer the end date.
Because OGL were already providing hosted email and IT support services, we had a very good understanding of the organisation and this knowledge was used to ensure the solution would be an excellent fit. OGL conducted a network overview, pre-installation plan and prepared a detailed scope of works design document.
Following a presentation of the solution to Winston’s Wish, the green light was given by the board and installation took place in September 2014.
To support the new virtualised environment, a high speed network switch was installed to maximise the network’s performance and the solution was completed with a WatchGuard Firewall at the company’s Horsham and Cheltenham sites.
Winston’s Wish have made a significant investment in technology to underpin the quality of their operations, also adding additional security and utilising a more modern server infrastructure system.
Lyndon summarised: “Working with customers such as Winston’s Wish that appreciate the importance of robust IT systems is a pleasure. When time is allowed for proper IT infrastructure planning we can ensure we design a bespoke solution and install it seamlessly.”
“Winston’s Wish are a great example of an organisation that have wisely invested in their infrastructure and avoided exposing their business to risks when Microsoft Windows Server 2003 goes end of life next year.”
"I would also compliment OGL on the way they respond to queries; always in a timely fashion with full explanation. After all, ultimately, the systems remain the responsibility of Winston’s Wish and we like to be fully briefed on what is happening and any updates, fixes or maintenance jobs that have been carried out."