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Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

The largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK with over 5000 members

A future-proof, scalable IT platform to support the growth of GMCC

Case Study

Key Success

Notable success designing and implementing a new highly-resilient hybrid platform

IT Lab’s position as a consultant enabled GMCC to fully review and interrogate all available options

Platform combines best on-premise and cloud systems, providing the most secure and robust solution for protecting GMCC’s data

New platform offers the best of virtual server and backup technologies, with the flexibility and longevity to support rapid growth

Managing the ‘go-live’ ahead of an office relocation meant GMCC staff simply had to ‘plug in’ to continue working as normal

GMCC and IT Lab are engaged in a proactive partnership to provide full project management and long-term IT system monitoring and support

“IT Lab has provided us with a future-proof, scalable IT platform that we have complete control over, without the need to rely on a third party to carry out support-related change requests.”

Mike Mason, Finance Director & Infrastructure Programme Lead at GMCC

Background

Following a period of rapid growth and restructuring, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) needed a fully integrated IT infrastructure that would immediately provide flexibility and scalability as the Chamber accelerated its organisational transition through an imminent office move.

Aside from GMCC’s immediate requirements in both office and resource expansion, it had the strategic foresight to seek a suite of IT solutions that would future-proof the business. Both in terms of organisational growth and business continuity, while at the same time providing remote working facilities for employees that would embrace a range of devices and locations at any time.

Based on its proven track record, consultative approach and already trusted partnership with GMCC, IT Lab was entrusted with overseeing every aspect of the project, from the initial planning process to its live launch.

GMCC serving over 5000 members and processing enormous amounts of data, sees IT as a commercial differentiator

The Client

GMCC is the UK’s largest Chamber of Commerce, serving over 5,000 members and processing enormous amounts of data on a daily basis.

With its range of sector-based membership services and vast range of networking opportunities, the Chamber provides first-class business support to North West businesses in a range of diverse sectors and of various sizes.

As a rapidly growing, extremely modern and 360-degree communications organisation, GMCC sees IT as a commercial differentiator and a platform, which is absolutely integral to ensuring it stays ahead of its client base, to provide the requisite service they need.

The Challenge

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Mike Mason, FD at GMCC

In its previous office space, GMCC was cohabiting with its existing IT provider and the looming office move accelerated the urgency to evaluate its IT system. GMCC had the option of either remaining with its existing provider throughout the move or to search for a new provider to implement and integrate an alternative IT system.

GMCC identified that the lack of control it had over its current system was limiting their strategic decision-making. With the office move imminent, GMCC decided that engaging with a different partner and investing in new IT infrastructure would provide the support and scalability that it needed, as well as the autonomy that it was missing.

As GMCC handles huge amounts of data every day, sensitivity around data protection was also at the forefront of this project. As well, its Government involvement means that much of this data must reside in the UK.

In addition, not only was GMCC’s organisational structure growing with speed, but also its membership base, which meant that it was processing even larger volumes of data.

The Service

Following a positive tender process and successful partnerships on previous projects, IT Lab was the strategic choice to design, project manage and implement a carefully thought-out solution to support GMCC. In particular, IT Lab’s consultative position enabled a full review and interrogation all of the options available, allowing GMCC to have complete autonomy over the system put in place.

The final decision was to implement a new hybrid platform which made the best of both on premise and cloud-based systems. This solution provided the most secure and robust solution towards protecting GMCC’s data.

As a strategic partner, IT Lab relieved GMCC of a huge amount of pressure, overseeing every aspect of the project which included:

  • Completing the project planning
  • Building the new platform, testing and commissioning
  • Data application extraction from the legacy network
  • Data migration to the new platform
  • Managing the platform’s ‘go-live’ in advance of GMCC’s office relocation, which minimised disruption and mitigated the risk of data loss during the move

The key functionality implemented by IT Lab included Microsoft Dynamics GP and CRM, Office 365, Citrix XenApp, Skype for Business and SharePoint, which through its innate understanding of GMCC’s organisation, IT Lab identified as the technology and applications best-suited to its needs.

Productivity Apps

GMMC’s custom solution provides them with the flexibility and longevity to accommodate rapid growth

The Outcome

IT Lab’s custom solution has provided GMCC with the flexibility and longevity to accommodate its increasingly rapid growth, while giving staff the means to work from wherever they need to be.

The new platform combines the best of virtual server and backup technologies, as GMCC operates in sectors where business continuity is paramount and failure is simply not an option. The system put in place by IT Lab is future-proof, rather than a quick fix solution, allowing scope for tomorrow’s business development needs.

Through its consultation process, IT Lab was able to provide GMCC with a highly-resilient platform in an eight-week turnaround.

Its position as a valued and trusted partner meant that delivering to such a tight deadline never came into question.

Overseeing the entirety of the process from start to finish meant that on their first morning in their new office, GMCC’s staff simply had to ‘plug in’ and continue working as normal, reducing the risk of any loss of data or disruption to daily processes.

In addition to delivering a strategic solution, IT Lab has engaged in a proactive partnership to provide full project management and long-term IT system monitoring and support, as well as absolutely empowering GMCC through the visibility and control it has over its platform.

Both parties continue to work together to adapt the system based on GMCC’s evolving needs, with a move towards a more cloud-based system in future development.

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