Data Networking – Charity Sector – Heritage Lottery Fund
Data Networking solutions for the Charity Sector from Freedom Communications, enabling a paperless office at low cost with increased efficiency.
From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, the Heritage Lottery Fund invests in every part of the UK’s heritage. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has supported more than 30,000 projects, allocating £4.5billion across the UK.
HLF sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage though innovative investment in projects with a lasting impact on people and places. As the largest dedicated funder of the UK’s heritage, with around £205million a year to invest in new projects and a considerable body of knowledge and evaluation over 15 years, HLF is also a leading advocate for the value of heritage to modern life.
HLF wanted to move away from using paper-based application forms that were not only expensive and inefficient to administer, but time consuming for those applying for Lottery funding.
In addition, it was difficult to audit claims and track how effectively the grants were being used. Grants ranged from £3,000 to over £5,000,000 and accountability is of paramount importance to the Fund.
HLF required a web-based solution, but when detailed implementation planning took place Freedom identified that the corporate legacy network would not provide the bandwidth needed to support this strategic move.
All 10 regional offices needed access to digitised archived records held centrally in London. It was critical that not only sufficient performance should be delivered by the network, but should there be a problem with the network, access to the central digital archives could still be maintained from all 10 regional sites.
Freedom implemented a two-phase project to help The Heritage Lottery Fund meet their business objectives.
> Phase 1
A Cloud-based MPLS solution delivering 2Mbps to the regional offices at a far more cost effective price point was implemented. In addition, Freedom provided a 10Mbps Ethernet connection from the MPLS Cloud into the Head Office in London, and internet access was also provided via the Cloud to improve network efficiency. Failover access from the remote sites to the London head office was provided by ADSL circuits.
> Phase 2
While the initial implementation offered significant cost savings and performance benefits over the previous legacy network, phase two of the project provided another layer of redundancy for mission-critical services, increased network performance to each remote site and quintupled the bandwidth to each remote site while keeping the budgets well and truly under control.
Freedom augmented remote site connectivity using 10Mbps Ethernet circuits and reallocated the 2Mbs circuits as primary failover routes. QoSenabled Private ADSL was implemented as tertiary failover circuits, resulting in a cost and operationally effective network. To futureproof the business for the increase traffic to and from the central London site, Freedom increased the bandwidth to 100MBps from the MPLS core. Bandwidth and performance for internet access was increased with an uncontended 8Mbps connection and created an online portal for real-time monitoring of network health.
The CEO’s perspective… The Heritage Lottery Fund has repositioned the company as an online paperless office with operational saving and increase “green” credentials. There is a more effective workforce in place that offers greater support to applicants and accountability to shareholders and the public alike. In addition to all of this, business continuity across all 11 regional locations has been assured.
The Financial Director… has seen better budget utilisation as now IT is fundamental to enable the business strategy at realistic costs. While bandwidth to the regional size has increased by a factor of five, costs of bandwidth has increased only by a factor of two. Also, due to Freedom’s flexibility with contract terms, the migration from the legacy network to the new Cloud-based service was seen as cash neutral.
The IT team… has been able to take advantage of modern network and connectivity technologies to deliver a technical solution that underpins and supports the business. Increased resilience, increased bandwidth and vastly improved fail-over options, combined with sophisticated online real time and historical management reports, culminates in an effective use of IT.
In the case of the HLF, there are two communities of “End User”: the employees and the applicants for funds. Employees benef from more efficient communications as the network supports the web-based application process, retrieval and storage of central archives and other communications tools such as video conferencing. Applicants for funds in turn receive a vastly improved and accountable service.
“The consultative sales approach Freedom uses helped me to deliver this project on-time and to budget. The cost, performance and business benefits of the solution as originally envisaged by Freedom have in fact been realised and we are delighted with the result”
Gary Carson, IT & Facilities Manager
Heritage Lottery Fund