The Hollybank Trust is a charity that cares for children and adults with profound and multiple physical disabilities, which are often coupled with severe learning disabilities. Occupying several sites across the county of West Yorkshire, England, that act as both a school and a home for children, the Trust is increasingly being called upon to cater for the unique needs of adults in homes within the community. It achieves this by providing help with supported housing, self-care, self-advocacy and - through pioneering technology - giving people the opportunity to do things for themselves.
The Trust was expanding rapidly in terms of its physical sites, and subsequently its number of users and networked hardware. With sites spread across West Yorkshire - Barnsley, Halifax, Holmfirth, Mirfield and South Kirkby - the Trust had over 500 employees that rely heavily upon its infrastructure.
Despite the organizations growth, the Trust only employed two full-time Information Services staff, based at its main site in Mirfield. Before installing WhatsUp Gold Premium edition, the Trust didn’t really have a network solution in place.
“We needed to respond to problems with business critical hardware and inter-site connections more quickly and proactively,” explained Brian Boullier PhD, Head of Information, Communications & Assistive Technology. “Whilst our WAN was proving to be fairly resilient, using What’s Up Gold has significantly improved our ability to identify problems and respond to them more swiftly.”
The Trust’s IT department now routinely uses WhatsUp Gold to monitor connection and hardware availability. A ‘live’ topographical map of its WAN is constantly displayed in the Information Services office on a wide screen monitor, to ensure that the status of the networked devices is visible to all.
“WhatsUp Gold enables us to monitor the availability of VPN connections and Internet availability back to our main site in real time, as well as monitor remote business-critical hardware,” explained Boullier. “Alerts are then sent to our Information Services staff if key equipment and connections become unavailable, sometimes identifying potential problems before our users are even aware of them.”
The constant reassurance that its inter-site connections and hardware are working correctly is a major benefit to the IT department. The constantly updated visual representation of its ‘live’ wide- area network has also enabled its staff to respond proactively to incidents when they occur and work more efficiently.
“Identifying problems before service users report them has improved our Information Service department’s reputation and we are now able to deploy our information services resources more efficiently,” said Boullier. “We can organize staff more effectively and also plan our responses about the state of our WAN and availability of business critical equipment, such as data switches and networked laser printers, on the basis of real time information.”