Wards Surveyors, based in Hinckley, Leicestershire, are a Chartered Surveyors and Property Management company who also run a successful residential and commercial estate agency.
Having started the business some 30 years ago, Vernon Ward has steered the company to being one of the most successful of its type in our locality. Employing 15 staff at its head office location in the town centre, their reach extends all over the east midlands from the north of Nottingham down to Northampton.
Experts in “block and development” management the property services side of the business is where Wards first found their feet and they are specialists in this area.
The business is regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and in part also touches the Financial Conduct Authority due to their handling of client monies and the provision of buildings insurance.
The IT systems at Wards were provided by a one-man band that operated locally and over time, the confidence in that service had dwindled.
“We attended an industry seminar that discussed data security, business continuity cyber-attacks. We quickly realised that weren’t as comfortable as we should be with the way that our IT was being handled. It was time to take a step up” Vernon told us.
The main issues that were faced were the long lead times on responses to logged issues and also the comfort factor that the business could recover from an IT failure.
Vernon added “When we have computer problems, we need a response quickly otherwise it disrupts the operation of the business and has an effect on not only our customers, but also our staff morale. Regarding our business continuity planning, we also didn’t have the confidence that the systems that were in place could recover us quickly and securely enough”
There is a real business impact of issues like this and Vernon has stated that roughly two days per month were being wasted by computers failing and having to wait a long time for fixes.
Vernon and fellow director Jonathan Hubbard (who is shown in the picture above) made an approach to Intalect following a recommendation from two of our other local customers.
Following a successful first meeting we proposed a number of immediate solutions followed by a longer-term plan to build some resilience in to the business.
Firstly, we put a business grade disaster recovery solution in place to ensure that the systems could be restored safely and securely. We then worked through a list of outstanding issues from the staff to stabilise the computers and restore some “user faith”.
A new server was purchased and we migrated Wards to Office 365 for their emails.
The monthly support arrangement that we have with Wards, including cyber security protection (Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, Anti-Ransomware and patch management), has added the layer of maintenance that was required and lead times on their support issues have dramatically reduced.
“Previously, we had to put work arounds in our business to cope with the problems and the lack of contact from our old support provider. This isn’t the proactive approach we want to take with our business” said Vernon.
A substantial investment has been made by Wards to bring their IT solutions up to a level that they are comfortable with and this shows that unlike many businesses, Wards take their stability and operation seriously.
We asked Vernon to summarise the impact of the work that we have collectively carried out and he said:
“We finally have some comfort that our systems are working in the right way for us, rather than the other way around. Our business is safe and our IT problems, when they rarely occur, are dealt with in a timely fashion.”
Wards Surveyors can be found online at https://www.wardsonline.co.uk and we would recommend them for any property services you may have.