Business Focused IT Support

What to do when your IT Manager Retires

Collings & Hayes - Furniture Manufacturer - Hastings, West Sussex - 100 Staff - NT4, OS Warp, Windows 95 Environment

Company Overview

  • IT Manager due to retire
  • Lack of investment in IT
  • Software & hardware out of vendor support
  • Very high software support charges
  • No consistent backup procedure
  • Full company network audit
  • Long term approach and constant review
  • Gradual replacement of hardware and software
  • Installed HP Servers & Hyper-V
  • Improved network stability & speed
  • Reduced Management Costs
  • Reduced support costs with improved equipment
  • £100k investment—results in £112k saving

Company Overview

Situated on the coast in the South East of England and steeped in history, Collins and Hayes has been successfully designing, developing and manufacturing upholstered furniture of the highest quality for over 140 years. They are extremely proud to offer you such a wide and wonderful choice of beautifully designed and styled products. They hope that you will be as proud to have them in your home, as they are to make furniture for you.

Their upholstery has always been handmade; a wealth of knowledge and well-established reputation ensures a deep understanding of the materials and skills required, culminating in elegantly designed and crafted furniture.

Their large collection of fabrics and leathers are specifically selected and sourced from all over the world in order to enhance and complement our furniture. Frames are constructed using hardwood from sustainable sources.

All models employ close attention to detail in their construction. The handcrafted frames are glued, screwed and dowelled the traditional way by highly skilled craftsmen.

The sizes listed on their website are their standard dimensions. However, should you wish your sofa to fit a specific space they can tailor its width to suit your requirements. They can increase or decrease the width of our sofas in increments of 5 centimetres, however this does not apply to sofa beds.

The Challenge - Server Upgrades

The IT manager was looking to retire and Collings & Hayes were looking to outsource their IT support.

Over the years they had invested very little into their IT software or hardware and were running old, unsupported systems and desptrately needed a full Server Upgrade.

This created a number of issues, including very high hardware and software support costs and an unreliable network infrastructure. The incumbent IT manager was swamped with everyday problems and unable to instigate a programme of upgrades due to a lack of time and knowledge.

They were running Windows NT4, OS Warp and Windows 95 on the pcs.

On top of this, the backup routine was patchy and unreliable, which if they had had a severe network failure it could have been disastrous for Collins & Hayes.

The Solution - Server Upgrades

The first task when taking over a new client is a full audit of their systems, determining the pain points and establishing a plan of action.

In Collings & Hayes case, MPR-IT made no real changes for the first 6 months to enable them to get a real understanding of the environment and the culture. What was needed was a long term approach, working with the management team to establish exactly what was required. It also gave the Collins & Hayes management time build trust and faith in MPR’s capabilities.

This initial period gave some problems for MPR-IT, as they were supporting slow legacy systems, as an example a PC could take up to a day to reload.

Some of the delays were caused by budget constraints by the group, however, once these budgets had been approved the process of change began.

The first step was to start replacing various desktop PC’s, which still had some constraints as Collings & Hayes ERP (enterprise resource planning) system would only allow them to run 32 bit Windows software.

Over the next few years they set about replacing most of the existing hardware and software, this was to include the servers, switches, printers and pcs. Collings & Hayes have taken advantage of MPRs knowledge of Hyper-V server technology to increase the speed and reliability of their network.

MPR-IT management approach has once again ensured that the partnership between the two companies remain strong and that Collings & Hayes see MPR-IT as an important partner and part of the team.

The Results

The most obvious result is the network stability and speed improvements.  However, the biggest benefit is financial. The management costs to maintain and manage the network has dropped substantially, resulting in a good return on investment for the change from an internal IT department to an outsourced IT department.

The initial audit indicated that an investment of around £100,000 was required to totally revamp Collings & Hayes’ existing hardware and software network and infrastructure.

However, since taking on MPR-IT, Collings & Hayes costs have been reduced by £112,000 per annum! This figure comes from a number of different places including:

  • Network Administration Costs: £40,000
  • Reduction in Internal IT Support Costs
  • Electronic Document Distribution: £27,000

The vast majority of postage costs have been removed as a result of moving to a Windows environment enabling Collings & Hayes to email documents, invoices and statements.

  • Unix Server support: £5,500
  • The continued support of legacy systems has been removed
  • User Time Improvements estimate savings: £40,000

The speed and reliability of the network, removing manual tasks and enabling users to be more productive.

The Future


The migration is still not complete and is an ongoing task to rid the company of the legacy equipment so that the growth plans can be implemented and achieved.

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