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Freed up for flexible working

Article Type: Case Study          Published: 05-2015         Views: 2803      



A hosted desktop solution has meant the freedom to work flexibly for Chase Solutions' field staff, combined with secure and manageable IT systems.

Chase Solutions is a successful field services company based in Blackburn, Lancashire that works with utility companies, banks, debt purchase companies and debt collection agencies across the UK to contact and then help customers who are struggling to pay their bills. Established 15 years ago the company describes its services as 'to engage with customers where traditional letter and telephone strategies have been exhausted.' This could be for a multitude of reasons not just debt related.

Chase Solutions' field agents will visit the customer and establish why they haven't been in contact with its client. Together with the customer and the client Chase's agents then assess the customer's circumstances and where debt-related their ability to pay, and look to set up an affordable repayment plan.

The company boasts a large network of freelance and self-employed field agents with about 600 of them working regularly and more than 70 of them on full-time contracts, all using Chase's bespoke state-of-the-art handheld technology which audio records each visit. There are about 30 full-time staff based at its headquarters.

Chase Solutions turned to cloud company iomart because it wanted a flexible hosted desktop solution that was fully compliant with the exacting data standards required by its biggest clients and regulators. Chase works with most of the utility companies in the UK and has just expanded into the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, with an office being opened in Belfast in the summer. While it was keen to move to a hosted desktop solution to enable its management to work better 'on the road,' it was also mindful of the need for continuing security and compliance to meet the strict legal and compliance guidelines of its clients.

Michael Wolfenden, Director of Operations for Chase Solutions, says: "A hosted desktop is the perfect solution because it allows our management to work on the road without having any important data held on their devices. In addition to being able to securely set up offices in Belfast and London we have been able to recruit key members of the team such as our Head of Field Operations Ricky Donnelly, who is based in London. The whole solution is hosted in iomart's cloud, in their fully compliant and accredited data centres."

The laptops used by the regional managers have a minimal operating system based on Linux that is securely configured to only allow access to the cloud environment via thin client software VMware Horizon. Being thin client means that only screen images, keyboard and mouse instructions are transmitted between the laptops and the cloud. No data leaves the iomart data centre and therefore there is no risk usually associated with laptops and data stored on their internal drives.

Steve Riley is the IT consultant for Chase Solutions. He is responsible for the IT systems that Chase uses and was instrumental in the move to hosted desktop with iomart. Steve says: "You hear stories in the media of data going missing because someone's lost a laptop but that can't happen with our hosted desktop solution from iomart. All Chase's clients' data is stored securely at iomart's data centre and because no data is stored on the laptops the regional managers are using, they don't have to be encrypted. Hosted desktop from iomart ticks all the boxes for compliance."

As a result of moving to hosted desktop Chase Solutions says its management team has much better control and visibility of its IT system. "It means that when Chase responds to a tender for work we can tick every box with regards to security," Steve explains.

iomart's VMware-based hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) delivers desktop services and data direct from its fully-owned and secure data centre infrastructure. Users can be provisioned in seconds and can be scaled up or down as required, removing the headache normally associated with changing head counts and office moves. Agile and responsive IT means that the workforce can access their business applications anywhere at any time.

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