Keeping up-to-date with the latest innovations and software is vital in helping organisations adapt to their developing requirements. Graham Evans, director of The Housing Link (2003), a charity which aims to prevent homelessness, explains how getting the right IT advice has assisted in its successful growth.
The Housing Link started working with Smarter Technologies in 2003 when their previous IT support provider couldn’t fulfil its needs. “The charity was split over several sites yet we needed to be able to access files immediately to provide all our staff with the most recent information simultaneously,” Graham explains. “In addition our system had slowed considerably due to several viruses. John re-installed the server and the 18 computers and this immediately improved the system’s performance and notably our remote access.”
As the charity helps people with urgent housing issues, it cannot afford to be without its IT system and access to important files. “The nature of our work with the community means we often require Smarter Technologies to work outside normal hours to avoid disruption. Recently Smarter Technologies was on site within an hour, took the server away to fix it and then re-instated it later the same day when everyone had left so that our staff and the people we help were not inconvenienced,” Graham continues.
More recently, as the charity continued to grow steadily, Smarter Technologies was called on to advise about using IT to improve the communication between the team. “When we expanded, Smarter Technologies recommended that we use Skype to keep our costs down because calls over wireless internet and Instant Messenger are free. Colleagues can now contact me on Skype when I work from home.
“John Miller, director of Smarter Technologies, also recommended Microsoft SharePoint, which has simplified file transfers across the split sites and we now have in place an email referrals process meaning we can respond more quickly than some other charities which still do so by post.”
And Smarter Technologies does more than provide the software, delivering training and written notes to help organisations fully utilise the benefits of the new systems and the programmes it recommends.
“We have a tight budget and Smarter Technologies has enabled us to ‘work smarter’ and provide fast and well-organised assistance to those who need it. It has played an integral role in the growth and success of this charity,” concludes Graham.