MSP Wins Tender to Manage House-builder’s Infrastructure
Crest Nicholson awards Managed Service Provider IT Lab a five-year deal to contribute to its technology strategy and deliver wide-ranging support and services across its entire estate.
About Crest Nicholson
Crest Nicholson (CN) is one of the UK’s most respected house-builders. A FTSE 250 listed company founded over fifty years ago, its operating income in 2017 was £211.6 million. The company builds around 2,700 homes a year, mostly in the south of England.
Crest Nicholson’s technology strategy is bold and SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) first, with IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) second. It is an early adopter of technology and outsources all of its technical IT services. CN’s rationale is to retain only those areas where business knowledge is essential, namely line of business applications and business intelligence. Its ethos is to empower its people with the newest tools to deliver a quality product to its customers.
The company's strategy also means it doesn’t require layers of management to run its IT. Instead, it has a lean, talented team who interface with its MSP - now proudly IT Lab.
The Background to the Crest Nicholson Move
Crest Nicholson’s aspirations had moved ahead of its former IT service provider’s capabilities. While strides had been made – such as migrating to Microsoft Azure, CN’s leadership team felt the relationship was too passive. They were looking for a partner to accelerate their plans for innovation and inspire and challenge them.
For a dynamic and fast-paced home-builder, it was also crucial for Crest Nicholson to find a responsive MSP that would grant them easy access to the relevant people and technologies.
“IT Lab has a close-knit team but is big enough and robust enough to bring good things to the party,” said Myles Gibbins, Crest Nicholson’s Group IT Director.
From Humble Portacabins to Established Communities
Crest Nicholson’s IT needs are diverse, flexing over a complex estate. The company’s 1,000 strong workforce – comprising back-office, sales and site staff, is spread over six core locations and up to 120 active sites.
“The technology has to move continually in a building site scenario,” said Kevin O’Brien, IT Lab’s Director of Business Systems and Process. “You begin with a portacabin and some connectivity. When you start building, you need more IT support and fully equipped offices for the sales staff. We can react to those evolving demands, even when some pretty interesting challenges get in the way.”
Why Crest Nicholson Chose IT Lab
Myles Gibbins, Group IT Director at Crest Nicholson, commented: “We have ambitious plans for Crest Nicholson’s five-ten-year technology road-map and working closely with partners like IT Lab will enable us to deliver solutions to match these ambitions.
“IT Lab’s approach to collaboration and innovation was evidenced throughout the selection process, and they have already begun to demonstrate their ability in reacting to day-to-day incidents, outages and challenges. We’re looking forward to a seamless and progressive partnership.”
IT Lab’s Service to Crest Nicholson
The multi-year deal touches on almost every element of IT. “Crest Nicholson is taking nearly all of our broad service portfolio,” said Kevin O’Brien of IT Lab. “From supporting their staff to a fully managed SOC (Security Operations Centre) to SIAM (Service Integration and Management) and everything in between.
“We provide these mission-critical services seven-days a week. We’re also an extension of Crest Nicholson’s internal IT team, who manage their line of business applications, ERP and CRM systems. We support the underlying infrastructure for those.
“The beauty is that everything comes together under one platform – ServiceNow. The teams at Crest Nicholson and IT Lab have complete visibility of what’s happening across the whole estate in real-time. It’s an efficient, collaborative machine with the same set of processes for everyone.”
“I’m particularly looking forward to supporting CN with their suppliers,” O'Brien continued. “SIAM will identify performance trends and patterns across their supply chain, and we’ll engage with Crest Nicholson’s suppliers on their behalf, saving their time and energies.
“It’s also great to work alongside our colleagues at Content and Code – an IT Lab company. Content and Code has been CN’s Microsoft 365 partner for several years. The coming together of two organisations has simplified the relationship,” added O’Brien.
Michael Bateman, IT Lab’s Director of Cyber, Managed Services and CISO, said: “I’m delighted that Crest Nicholson has also opted to take the services of our Security Operations Centre. It shows how invested they are in protecting their data, IP and customer information.
“Through the use of sophisticated tools from Microsoft, CrowdStrike and AlienVault, backed by our skilled team 24/7, not only can we rapidly identify and isolate issues, we can remediate them. We can plug directly into the teams managing the rest of the service. Whether something happens at two in the morning or two in the afternoon, we’re effectively acting as one organisation. We don’t have to rely on third-parties or seek authorisation to safeguard Crest Nicholson’s vital assets.”
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