Network analysis and monitoring reveals significant problems affecting Community Integrated Care's network management system.
Community Integrated Care is one of the UK’s largest health and social care charities. It supports thousands of people who have learning disabilities, mental health concerns, autism and age-related needs — like dementia — to live full and independent lives.
The charity is a complex organization that provides support in a number of different community-based settings — including individuals’ own homes and in its own specialist services. Therefore, the ability for its staff to work online whilst on the go is a big priority for the charity.
Laborious diagnostics cause access delays for mobile staff
With so many of Community Integrated Care’s staff working remotely and keeping in contact with the organization using their laptops and other devices, a constant, reliable connection is vital. But a laborious diagnostic process often resulted in delays in handling user access issues. Arif Nawaz, IT services manager at Community Integrated Care, explains:
“The helpdesk at Community Integrated Care receives calls and emails when users experience issues with their IT. It was sometimes taking around 40 minutes to try and discover the source of the problem remotely. When you multiply that by the 30-40 calls we receive per day it would take over 24 hours of staff time. We would often have to resort to sending a member of the team out to visit the site to diagnose the problem, and this lengthy process kept support staff from their essential duties.”
Increasing number of problem points on the network
There are 250 company-issued mobile phones in use; this resulted in there being many more potential problem points on the network that could impact access. In addition, the company has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy, which allows staff to bring in their own Smartphones and tablets and connect to the network.
In addition, the charity has grown rapidly in recent years, so the network had to keep up and grow with the business. This made Nawaz’s diagnostic process even more laborious, and it caused him to look for a comprehensive solution to the problem.
WhatsUp Gold chosen over three other vendors
Community Integrated Care worked with NetDef, its reseller of many years. After conducting a series of 30-day trials for products from four vendors, Nawaz selected Ipswitch’s WhatsUp Gold. He was impressed with its simple operation and ‘single pane of glass’ approach to network monitoring, as well as its reliability and low ongoing licensing costs.
Tom Mather, business development manager at NetDef comments: “We recommended that Community Integrated Care install the WhatsUp Gold Premium version, as it ticked all of the boxes and provided the most straightforward and easy-to-use solution. The installation went quickly and smoothly; monitoring could begin immediately after installation, as Community Integrated Care was able to move smoothly from the free trial.”
Staff spend less time on the phone to IT
Nawaz comments on the benefits he has seen since installation: “We have the WhatsUp Gold interface on a big screen in our office, as we use it constantly. When users call or email into the helpdesk now, we can find the source of the problem in minutes. For example, if someone calls in because they cannot connect to the WiFi, we can quickly identify if the problem is internal or if it is caused by the site’s Internet provider.”
Community Integrated Care appreciates the money it has saved, largely due to an Ipswitch pricing structure that licenses by the device rather than by the port. But just as important, they appreciate how much staff time they save. That is because Nawaz no longer has to send a team member off-site to identify the cause of a problem, and the helpdesk team spends less time on the phone with its frontline services, freeing them for other important work. Connection issues can be solved more quickly so both the IT staff and frontline services can operate more productively.
Early warning alerts prevent downtime
If a server goes down, Nawaz has set up WhatsUp Gold alerts that go into the helpdesk’s email inbox, allowing him to act quickly to resolve the issue. These days, though, he doesn’t see as many server failures as he used to. That is because he also set up early alerts giving him a warning when a server is reaching full capacity or if there are signs of hardware issues. As a result Nawaz can anticipate and act on problems before they affect users.
Plans to use WhatsUp Gold more fully
Nawaz has seen substantial improvements in his charity’s ability to improve network availability with WhatsUp Gold, but he estimates that he currently uses only 10 percent of WhatsUp Gold’s functions. He plans to address this soon to make use of all the benefits on offer.