As one of the largest small invested personal pensions (SIPP) and small self-administered schemes (SSAS) providers in the United Kingdom (UK), Rowanmoor Group needs to provide staff with fast access to applications. It uses desktop-as-a-service platform OnlineDesktop from Intercept IT. Built on Microsoft technologies, it has delivered a £500,000 return on investment, while helping the firm meet its regulatory obligations.
Rowanmoor Group is a leader in the independent pensions industry in the UK. The company became independent of financial group Santander as part of a management buyout in 2006. Following the buyout, Rowanmoor Group had just six weeks to separate out the IT services from its parent company and establish a flexible, scalable IT service that would help staff work effectively and provide a stable foundation for business development. As a regulated financial services company, Rowanmoor Group also needed the flexibility to comply with rapidly changing Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules concerning the process, transparency, and storage of data. Security is crucial, even while accommodating flexible working and dispersed user groups. With just weeks to prepare its IT platform, Rowanmoor Group decided to outsource its IT rather than focus on building an in-house solution.
Rowanmoor Group turned to Microsoft Partner Intercept IT. The partner deployed its established desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) platform and Microsoft Office managed service to users in Salisbury, Bolton, and London. This provides staff with access to the company’s productivity and customised line-of-business applications. Intercept IT completed the project, including migrating all data and applications from Santander, within six weeks. David Downie, Director, Rowanmoor Group, says: “We’re a pensions specialist, not an IT business, so it made sense to hand over this complicated project to the experts. Our faith in Intercept IT was justified when it met our requirements and delivered the solution within our timeframe.”
With the Intercept IT solution, users have access to all the data and applications required to administer client pension portfolios. Downie says: “Our employees often travel around. Desktop-as-a-service is a great solution for employees who work in multiple locations and need consistent access to their applications and data.” Solution
An early cloud adopter, Rowanmoor Group deployed OnlineDesktop in 2006. The hosted desktop environment delivers rich applications through the Intercept IT private cloud infrastructure. OnlineDesktop is built on Microsoft technologies, including the Windows Server 2012 operating system with Hyper-V technology. Downie says: “One of the key reasons for using OnlineDesktop is that we don’t have to employ our own IT staff. Intercept IT takes care of everything from keeping systems updated, to providing end-user support. It’s our trusted outsourced IT team.”
Through OnlineDesktop, staff access various collaboration and productivity applications:
Microsoft Office—provides productivity tools such as Word, Excel, Access, Lync, and InfoPath.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM—the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Microsoft Outlook—provides access to appointment information, contacts, emails, shared calendars, and meeting rooms.
Microsoft SharePoint—runs the firm’s intranet and collaboration site.
Intercept IT delivered a fully integrated managed Microsoft Office service, which safely incorporates all line-of-business applications into the hosted desktop solution used by Rowanmoor Group staff. The solution makes it possible for the applications to be used securely and seamlessly within Microsoft Office productivity tools, such as Microsoft Excel.
The Microsoft Partner provides continuous support so users can easily access their business applications and data regardless of where they’re working. Downie says: “Intercept IT manages all our applications through OnlineDesktop and provides support for our systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can log on to our systems through our secure portal hosted in the Intercept IT data centre.”
Rowanmoor Group’s requirement for business continuity and disaster recovery is also managed by OnlineDesktop, with the Hyper-V Replica feature replicating virtual servers to the Intercept IT disaster recovery site. The feature—which comes free with Windows Server—helps ensure fast server recovery times in the event of a data-centre failure. Benefits
Rowanmoor Group has gained a £500,000 return on investment since implementing OnlineDesktop. All users can access key business applications so they can work seamlessly from wherever they’re located, while the business has the flexibility to meet its legal and regulatory obligations. “The expertise offered by Intercept IT was invaluable in helping us to transition to the cloud. The team’s ongoing support will help us achieve our business goals,” says Downie.
Firm gains return on investment of £500,000. Staff productivity is improved and IT resource costs are avoided, while application licensing is more cost effective. Downie says: “We’ve achieved a £500,000 return on investment since implementing the OnlineDesktop solution in 2006. We have a state-of-the-art enterprise IT system that meets and often exceeds our business requirements.”
User productivity is increased. Employees can use any computer or device to access their line-of-business applications, which are securely integrated with their Microsoft Office productivity suite. Downie says: “We’re supporting our staff to work from home or remote locations, which means they can be productive from wherever they are. This also helps us to create a better work/life balance for employees.” New staff are connected to the company’s network within minutes.
Legal compliance is easily achieved. OnlineDesktop is ISO 27001 certified, which means it provides a robust framework for information security. As new FCA requirements concerning data security emerge, Rowanmoor Group has the flexibility to adapt its processes.
Staff work with the latest applications. Rowanmoor Group pays a set monthly fee per user and there are no hidden licensing or maintenance costs for application upgrades.
Business continuity is guaranteed. With OnlineDesktop, Rowanmoor Group has a comprehensive disaster recovery and business continuity solution in place, protecting the company from unplanned downtime and outages. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.