NHS Orkney

Dr on iPad

Our staff and students can now get access to their email, their Twitter accounts, whatever they need – and that has quite a big impact on morale.

David Cowan, IT Manager at NHS Orkney

The Background

Orkney is an archipelago of over 70 islands which lies off the north east coast of Scotland – but just 17 of these are inhabited, with a population of around 22,000 people. For NHS Orkney, the challenges of being the smallest health board in Scotland are immense. Not only does it have to adhere to the same guidelines as other larger territorial boards, but there are also many limitations on flexibility due to its extremely tight budget and remote location.

Based within the Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall, NHS Orkney also provides services to 10 of the other ‘isles’. The organisation offers a range of care delivery options to these islands including general surgery, general medicine, anaesthesia, obstetrics and gynaecology – all operated via a consultant-led medical model.

The Challenge

NHS Orkney’s main objective over recent years has been to deliver top quality patient care under severe financial constraints. A new CT scanner has just been installed at Balfour Hospital and, despite being geographically isolated, excellent communication links have been developed within the islands and with other centres on the Scottish mainland, as Chief Executive Cathie Cowan outlines: “We are really trying to invest in healthcare on the island. If there is a bad car crash for example, patients will come in to us initially and our team will stabilise, resuscitate and prepare for them to be airlifted off to the mainland. To help with this, we now have digital technology which enables us to actually bring the specialist ‘virtually’ into the room, to support our staff – and also a nurse or a GP can do this as well if they are out in one of the islands.

The management team at NHS Orkney has been working to enable both staff and patients to communicate more effectively, and recently turned to longstanding technology partner Daisy to help them upgrade their WiFi infrastructure. IT Manager David Cowan explains further: “Our most recent issue involved our WiFi network within Graham House, which is a staff residential block. This is a building which is mostly inhabited by student nurses and doctors, but we also have some staff doctors that stay here, and visiting locums. It’s quite an old style building – two floors with two separate wings – so in effect we had four discrete quadrants, separated by fairly thick walls. This meant that WiFi access was limited, as we only had a wireless router that was covering a small part of the building.”

The Solution

At the beginning of the year, David asked Daisy to come in and do a detailed survey of Graham House, and to then make a recommendation for how WiFi access could be improved for both students and staff. After carrying out the survey, Daisy installed a managed WiFi solution which involved re-cabling the entire building and providing Ubiquiti access points, to allow access throughout.

In addition to this, the Daisy Engage product was configured to enable a customised registration experience and to provide user behaviour information. Daisy Protect was then also installed, to provide safe surfing for all users. David continues: “We contracted Daisy to come in and install the new system in the spring and it’s been working great ever since. Daisy now provides full support for this service, so WiFi is available throughout the building and we have a good strong signal in all of the bedrooms.”

Daisy has also recently installed the Mitel telephony system for NHS Orkney’s new disaster recovery (DR) site, which is a couple of miles away from this main site. This is all linked back to the main Balfour switch, so that users who are working in the DR facility just appear as an extension on the main Balfour Hospital switchboard.

The Result

The flexibility of the WiFi solution which Daisy deployed will allow further parts of NHS Orkney’s estate to be connected in future, allowing additional users to enjoy a similar, consistent experience to those who reside in Graham House – as David continues:

“Our staff and students can now get access to their email, their Twitter accounts, whatever they need – and that has quite a big impact on morale. It also means that staff who are staying there, clinicians and so on, can access the NHS email system from the building, without having to go across the road into the main hospital to do it, as they used to.”

The Future

NHS Orkney is in the process of building a brand new hospital – so Daisy will continue to play a key role in NHS Orkney’s future, as David concludes:

“Daisy has been supporting us with our telecoms system for some time now, and will be doing so for the coming few years – to advise us and to help us to move that system into the new hospital building in 2019.”

“I think we’re definitely a test bed for new technologies – and certainly in the new hospital, we would want to invest significantly in what we call ‘technology-enabled care’. And for inpatients, having access though technology, Skype or whatever, would be really significant. People are at their lowest when they are unwell and it’s really good to keep in touch with family. If you’re a mum coming in to have a baby – and though I know they are not in for a long time – but you might have kids that you want to say hello to, say goodnight to, so I think from that point of view that would be significant, particularly in this location.”

University of Southampton


Every year, the clearing process becomes more intense. With competition fiercer than ever, our telephony infrastructure was leaving us behind. Daisy designed a cost-effective solution that enabled us to handle calls efficiently and improve the quality of the service to our prospects. Because of this. we are now able to use the data generated by the solution to inform staffing levels and marketing campaigns for future years and are assessing how else we might utilise the solution to benefit both applicants and current students alike.

Nick Hull, Associate Director (Head of Admissions), University of Southampton.

The Background

The University of Southampton is a world-leading, research-intensive institution. Ranked as one of the UK’s top 20 universities and recently securing a position as one of the top 100 in the QS World University rankings for 2019, the university boasts more than 150 years’ experience in delivering world-class education.

Each year, starting on the morning of A Level Results Day, the University of Southampton’s phone lines can receive in excess of 10,000 calls during a mass call event known as “clearing”, where prospective undergraduate students yet to secure a place on a higher education (HE) course wait to be matched with places that the institution hasn’t yet filled.

In order to deliver the high-quality and stress-free service that prospective students expect, the University needed a robust, reliable, high-performance telephony system that could easily cope with the surge in demand come results day.

The Challenge

The institution’s method of call handling during the clearing process relied on a traditional “hunt group” – a method of distributing phone calls from a single telephone number to a group of several ISDN phone lines where a number of people are then are set up to handle the incoming calls.

Scaling their infrastructure during peak periods was proving to be both difficult and costly;requiring significant investment in physical ISDN hardware in order to meet only temporary demand and leaving little room for the flexibility needed to meet any additional capacity requirements on the day. This meant that many calls were not answered and there was no facility to leave a message leading to frustration and a level of service below that which the university strived to provide.

Recognising the limitations of its existing infrastructure, as well as the limited access to key marketing data and with a desire to enhance customer service, the University contacted their incumbent unified communications suppler, Daisy, keen to explore a simple yet effective entry into the cloud.

As well as ensuring that any inbound calls during clearing were answered as quickly as possible, the ability to gain visibility of the quantity and timing of calls, the success of various marketing campaigns, and the ability to direct queued callers to the online form was of paramount importance to the business. Therefore, any proposed solution would need to facilitate measuring the success of any marketing activity, enabling them to better understand their student population and their origin.

The Solution

Facilitating the University of Southampton’s need for increased capacity and improved efficiency during clearing, Daisy proposed “Clearing in the Cloud”, a solution that leverages cloud technology for the processing of calls and mitigating bottlenecks caused by existing equipment and ingress.

After undergoing a detailed design and consultation stage, Daisy’s dedicated team set about implementing and testing the new platform, ensuring call flows would work for the desired outcomes.

By moving to a cloud-managed solution, the university would mitigate the costly and labour-intensive process of installing additional hardware and instead benefit from a solution that can scale both up and down as demand changes.

Clearing in the Cloud allows callers to dial one of 10 local rate 033 numbers each linked to a specific marketing source. These calls were then presented to the Daisy system and delivered to one of 90 agents. From here, calls are processed within the cloud and callers are either held in a queue or played a series of messages highlighting key marketing messages or, more importantly, urging callers to complete the clearing process online rather than wait in a queue.

Daisy were available throughout the clearing process in the event of any issues and are now looking to assist with the evaluation of data now on the system.

The Result

Today, the University of Southampton is able to see how many students called throughout the clearing process, with added visibility on how many calls were queued. This means that next year’s staffing levels can be aligned well in advance.

What’s more, the reporting functionality enables staff to determine the success of certain marketing streams, enabling them to focus on and, where necessary, realign marketing tactics for the coming year.

In addition, the university saw a 56% increase in online applications which they attribute to the promotion of online applications via the queue messaging function played to callers waiting to be transferred to an agent.

As a trusted partner, Daisy are looking at evaluating the service and enhancing it further for 2019. In addition, as part of university’s unified communications strategy, SIP trunking is to be deployed on campus.

Menzies Distribution


The integration of our call handling services is good news for our customers and will further increase the level of service we offer. By having one larger customer service department we can invest in the latest facilities and technology. We can also better flex staffing levels through the day to meet demand.

Terry Dunning, Manager, Menzies Distribution

The Background

Menzies Distribution is a leading provider distribution and marketing services to the UK’s newspaper and magazine supply chain. It handles 4.5 million newspapers – rising to 6 million on Sundays, and 2.5 million magazines each day, with deliveries made to more than 21,500 customers. Menzies’ UK market share is now an estimated 26% in newspapers and 29% in magazines. The company has more than 25 distribution depots, 50 locations in total and over 4,000 employees.

The Challenge

Menzies understood that in order to continue its growth and remain the most efficient and reliable newspaper distribution business in the UK and Republic of Ireland, it needed to invest in a highly effective, scalable and resilient communications infrastructure.  The company also wanted to sharpen its competitive edge and invest in a system that would enable innovation in its services and ensure that warehouse efficiency and sales revenues were maximised.

The Solution

An IP telephony and contact centre solution was proposed by Daisy. Other solutions from rival suppliers were considered but Daisy’s solution provided the superior resilience and scalability that Menzies’ needed in order to meet its evolving communications requirements; both within its headquarters and throughout its national network. The Avaya Intelligent Communications solution replaced the previous multi-site network based on Avaya INDeX switches with a centralised configuration based on Avaya Communication Manager (ACM) using Avaya’s Flatten, Consolidate, Extend (FCE) approach.

This solution enabled Menzies to rationalise its customer services operations and build a resilient infrastructure with full business continuity for voice services, available at two locations that could act as disaster recovery (DR) sites. It also gave an ideal platform for further growth and the introduction of new services and technology innovations. Various Avaya IP telephony solutions were provided for different Menzies locations, while Avaya’s CCE Contact Centre Express and CMS Reporting were deployed within the two call centres and the two acting DR sites.

The Result

With the presence of the 24/7 network operations centre team both Daisy and Menzies have visibility and the ability to react as soon as issues are raised with the systems at any time of the day. Menzies has been assigned a service manager and dedicated desk-based support manager. This team ensures that Daisy remains accountable for the project deliveries throughout the life of the contract.

As a result there was improved customer service, a scalable platform for growth, a faster return on technology investment, enhanced efficiency and a huge saving on costs. There was also improved resiliency and business contingency, with enhanced management control and reporting.

Ellis Brigham


After speaking with Daisy, its staff were able to analyse our requirements and deliver a full suite of solutions that fully support the infrastructure of Ellis Brigham today

Robert Brigham, Ellis Brigham Managing Director

The Background

Established in 1933, Ellis Brigham is the UK’s leading independent outdoor sports retailer. The business has grown from a small specialist boot seller to a household name, which today sponsors and employs professional skiers and snowboarders.

Ellis Brigham currently has 24 stores located across the UK, with over 500 employees who are all experts and passionate about outdoor activities. The retailer also runs a comprehensive website www.ellis-brigham.com, which deals with many thousands of transactions every day.

The Challenge

Despite already running a long-established and successful business, Ellis Brigham’s Managing Director, Robert Brigham, realised he needed to bring his business in line with 21st century models and change its way of working to keep pace with the market.

With multiple stores and thousands of customer transactions each day, the IT infrastructure needed to ensure that staff could collaborate efficiently, cost effectively and ultimately improve the overall business strategy.

Robert Brigham explained: “Having been in existence since the early part of the last century, we had a certain way of doing things. However, at the start of 2013 we recognised that we needed to dramatically transform our on-site technology to create a sustainable operational model.

“After speaking with Daisy, its staff were able to analyse our requirements and deliver a full suite of solutions that fully support the infrastructure of Ellis Brigham today.”

The Solution

After analysing the businesses’ requirements, Daisy proposed the provision of a full suite of communications solutions for Ellis Brigham. The breadth of services include a fleet of business-specific mobiles, providing the connectivity that powers the stores’ EPoS systems and market-leading IP telephony that has helped to improve internal communication.

Daisy also powers everything the retailer does to interact with its customers, from credit card transactions to answering phone calls and hosting its website. In addition, Daisy also provides a hosted platform that sits within the cloud, meaning Ellis Brigham is able to purchase individual email accounts from Daisy.

Robert Brigham said: “Our IT infrastructure is now hosted off-site in secure and reliable data centres, which Daisy monitor and maintain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; taking the logistical headache away from us.

“In line with our website revamp, we now also have the required capacity and capability to host an industry-leading site as latency has improved and customers have a better experience.”

The Result

As a result of implementing the solutions, Ellis Brigham has achieved its primary objective and realised greater communication between staff. Robert said: “The speed of the network we run on is extremely quick, enabling us to bring telephones onto IP and that’s definitely increased positive communication between sites.

“Prior to the solutions, we had the systems and traditional analogue lines in place, but they were grinding to a halt. The ones we have now are scalable, future-proof and most importantly possess the capacity to grow alongside our business.”

Describing Daisy’s involvement, Robert added: “We certainly can’t fault the effort and dedication Daisy has put in to helping us to turn our vision into a reality. We thought we were doing everything we could, but there’s always something new; we now have a platform to say ‘yes’ to new functionality. Daisy’s support throughout our business transformation has been brilliant and we hope to continue working with them for a long time to come.”

The Future

Having already successfully provided a range of products and services, Daisy is now analysing further opportunities to continue to support Ellis Brigham.

Robert added: “We are currently trialling a Wi-Fi solution in our Covent Garden store in London, which receives our highest footfall in the country. The idea being that if it proves a success, which we will determine from customer feedback, we will install the solution in the other 23 stores we have located across the UK.”


Today, to manage the built environment effectively, you have to digitise it in some way. We’re training drone pilots to give us digital images of areas… putting GoPro cameras on the front of trains to survey lines. It’s becoming much more of a digital environment. For us, it’s about using tools to get a better view or control of scope and scale.

Bill Price, Systems and Technology Director at Costain

The Background

Costain is one of Britain’s foremost engineering solutions providers, working to improve the nation’s quality of life by delivering integrated consultancy, asset optimisation, technology and complex delivery services, in vital areas such as rail travel, energy, water, highways and more.

Costain provides a complete end-to-end offering, encompassing all aspects of design, construction, engineering, maintenance, facilities management, integrated consultancy and innovation across the life cycle of its clients’ assets.

Harnessing digital technology is central to achieving this vision. Through the effective capture and analysis of data, Costain generates vital insights that allow it to optimise clients’ infrastructure usage, respond to challenges quickly and deliver outstanding results for UK citizens.

The Challenge

Daisy’s deep, all-round expertise in complex IT integration makes it a natural partner for Costain. The relationship stretches back over a decade, during which Daisy has progressed from supplying relatively simple break-fix telephony services to the operation of a full IT service desk, which combined 25% cost savings with improved SLA delivery.

Over time, the partnership has expanded to include several upgrades to Costain’s IT hardware and systems (covering more than 3,000 assets and accompanying software) and a combined IT support contract with its own full-time service manager and on-site support teams at the business’ Manchester and Maidenhead offices.

Costain has always been forward-thinking in its approach to IT and data systems. As the group has moved towards an end-to-end, data-driven and holistic approach to infrastructure management, it has been quick to draw on Daisy’s knowledge to facilitate the delivery of crucial applications and maximise the effectiveness of its offer.

The Solution

To meet the demands of Costain’s new technology-intensive working methods, Daisy has helped the group’s internal IT team migrate much of its digital estate to Microsoft’s cloud-based Azure platform.

This allows Costain to deliver complex technology in a new and seamless way to the whole of its business – a total of 5,000 users. Meanwhile, the adoption of Microsoft 365 has helped to enhance data sharing and collaboration across the organisation.

In addition to managing its own internal applications, the group has been able to use the Azure platform to provide key solutions direct to its customers. These include document management, project controls and access to public enquiry information.

In addition, Daisy has also taken on the management of Costain’s mobile telephony requirements, including the provision of Microsoft 365 for phone to 3,500 individual users, ranging from office-based support staff to engineers in the field.

The Result

“Today, to manage the built environment effectively, you have to digitise it in some way,” said Costain’s Systems and Technology Director, Bill Price. “We’re training drone pilots to give us digital images of areas… putting GoPro cameras on the front of trains to survey lines. It’s becoming much more of a digital environment. For us, it’s about using tools to get a better view or control of scope and scale.”

Daisy has played a central role in changing Costain’s business to a technology-driven, end-to-end model that fully supports its brand. The migration to a cloud-based delivery approach will reduce the need for future large-scale systems upgrades, while hardware outlay is also likely to reduce.

Operational efficiency, by contrast, is undergoing a transformation.

The relationship is founded on trust, and a shared commitment to service excellence. By building a deep understanding of Costain’s business and future strategy, the Daisy team can contribute in an empirical, ongoing way to the planning process, keeping the business where it wants to be – at the forefront of technological innovation. Continuity of personnel has enhanced this atmosphere of collaboration, with Daisy’s account director having worked with Costain from the earliest stages of the relationship. Daisy’s service manager takes regular part in senior management meetings and members of Daisy’s on-site team are known at all levels of the organisation, from chief financial officer to security staff.

This is not a project-based or sales-based relationship. Instead, Costain views Daisy as a strategic partner for IT, technology innovation and ongoing business support. This puts Costain, and by extension a vital swathe of UK infrastructure, in a position to thrive, well into the future.


New City College London

The Background

New City College (NCC) is the fourth largest college group in the UK with campuses across Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge, Epping Forest and Havering. Employing around 1,800 staff, serving more than 20,000 students, and having increased in both size and scale over recent years, the college retains its strong local identities. In addition, having campuses in each borough continues to provide a strong choice of courses for the communities it serves.

The Challenge

With a mix of obsolete and out-of-support phone systems and a complex set of ways for students to contact the different college sites, the college started to look at methods that would allow it to consolidate disparate systems into a single solution; one that would address obsolescence and enable a better student experience – particularly concerning student admissions.

It was also important that any new solution would provide staff a better platform in which to communicate – regardless of location – whether inside or outside the college campus environment.  And this infrastructure had to be implemented within secure, on-premise data centres.

The Solution

Having taken the time to fully understand the unique pain points of the customer, Daisy Corporate Services and key stakeholders at the college developed a flexible relationship built on trust. This relationship allowed Daisy to deploy a design, development, consultancy, training and support service that would provide the college with a Unified Communications (UC) and multimedia contact centre solution using vendor partner Mitel. When completed, this will include MiVoice Business for telephony, MiCollab for unified communications and MiCC for the contact centre element.

With such a large transformation, the solution was split into multiple phases which deal with each pain point in terms of priority.  Phase 1 has a provided a contact centre service to act as a single point of contact for admissions and improving the ability to deal with student enquiries.

This improved student experience will also mean that the existing multiple lines for contacting the college’s advice teams using different phone numbers and different sites have been consolidated under one contact centre. Customer Service team members will be provided with real-time and historical information re: incoming calls so that the best possible student experience can be provided at all times.

For New City College, a cloud-based or externally-hosted data centre were considered too high a security risk, so Daisy’s ability to provide a unified communications and contact centre platform within a secured internal VMware environment was a critical factor in the decision-making process, and so phase 2, which is currently underway, will consist of migrating all campuses to a common infrastructure implemented within data centres on-site.

Phase 2 will also see the rollout of contact centre services from voice to omnichannel. This will allow the college to provide all students with their platform of choice for communication, reflecting that the student body might see web chat for example as their preferred media as opposed to a conventional telephone calls. This will further enhance the college’s ability to meet student recruitment targets and offer an enhanced student experience in the highly-competitive further education (FE) field.

The Result

Daisy successfully met the college’s budgetary constraints to deliver powerful new Unified Communications (UC) applications and desktop services as well as delivering a UC platform residing within the college’s internal, secure data centre.

With phase 1 completed, NCC are able to enter busy admissions periods with a new, single point of contact for students. A secondary benefit is that having all the enquiries channelled into in one location allows for greater synergy, data collection, and identification of arising issues and opportunities.   In addition, projected cost savings will arise from reduction in support costs, reduction in telephony call charges via migration to session-initiated protocol (SIP), simplification and cost reduction in moves and changes in administrative costs.

The strong relationship that exists between the two parties has seen Daisy serve as a sponsor for the Apprentice of the Year category at NCC’s student awards that took place in October 2019. Paul Hadaway, Sales Specialist at Daisy Corporate said: “We worked closely with the college’s project leads to deliver a cost-effective solution which will improve the communications experience for both staff and students. Thanks to the relationship we have built with the customer, I was delighted to attend the college’s annual student awards dinner. As a sponsor, Daisy were able to contribute to the provision of recognition and rewards that these students deserve.”

The Future

Phase 3, under discussion currently, will see the rollout of a mass notification platform which will deliver a secure instant message notification system across a range of desktop and mobile devices.  This will provide enhanced duty-of-care capability for staff and students alike.


RSA Insurance Group


“Support from Daisy has made us feel very confident about the solution we’re getting. Consistency of service is key, and whichever recovery site you visit, you know that’s exactly what you’re going to find.”
Paul Rose, UK Head of Business Continuity Management at RSA Insurance Group

The Background

RSA Insurance Group is one of the world’s oldest general insurers. With a 300-year heritage and the capability to write business in more than 100 countries, it provides a range of vital services
to help businesses and individuals protect themselves against life’s uncertainties and enjoy peace of mind.

As a complex business that specialises in managing risk, RSA unsurprisingly considers business continuity a key priority. With customers often needing help at a moment’s notice, the group’s contact centres need to be up and running. Meanwhile, other vital business functions must be quickly recoverable to ensure claims can be processed seamlessly in an ever-tighter regulatory environment.

As a result, RSA boasts an advanced and energetic business recovery function, with dedicated teams allocated to each of the group’s 100+ business areas.

The Challenge

Effective work area recovery is central to RSA’s business continuity strategy. Prior to 2017, the group was able to meet its requirements largely in-house, using its large property portfolio to provide alternative workspaces if one of its main sites was compromised.

However, after rationalising its property holdings and calling a review of its business continuity management (BCM) strategy, RSA decided that a third party solution would be a better way of meeting its work area recovery needs. As well as providing flexibility and value for money, the solution had to be second to none in its effectiveness, ensuring staff welfare in the event of an incident and allowing the business to manage its existing obligations to customers.

During the tender process, it became clear that Daisy’s network of workplace recovery sites had the best geographical fit for a UK-wide business like RSA. Daisy had also been supplying RSA with business continuity planning software for some years.

The Solution

Working with Daisy allows RSA to meet its recovery time objectives via a syndicated model, rather than relying on dedicated recovery seating. With a syndication ratio of less than 10:1, the solution offers considerable efficiency and a substantial risk-managed cost benefit, while ensuring fit-for-purpose workspaces are always available if an incident occurs.

Before implementation, the solution was rigorously tested in close collaboration with the RSA team and key external suppliers, such as Vodafone, which provide RSA with network and phone connectivity. In the event of an incident or test, Daisy deploys the customer’s IT “image” to computers at the relevant recovery site, while connectivity is supplied by Vodafone between RSA and Daisy’s own premises.

This allows business-critical applications to be up and running in accordance with RSA’s recovery time objectives. The contract is designed to offer maximum flexibility and value, with a simple flat rate charged “per desk, per year”, regardless of how many incidents actually occur. Ongoing testing is also built in, allowing RSA’s Business Continuity team to conduct regular preparatory “dry-runs” and inspect all aspects of each recovery site when required.

The Result

“We were pretty impressed by how logical it all was,” said Paul Rose, RSA’s UK & International Head of Business Continuity Management. “It was great how flexible Daisy was prepared to be in allowing people to come and look and test. The team let us use their meeting rooms free of charge when we visit, are always accommodating and keen to help.”

The work area recovery solution has already been tested over seven times by the RSA workforce. As well as making sure colleagues are comfortable with the work-specific aspects of each site (desks, phones, IT), the team ensures all other practical facilities like kitchens and washrooms are fit for purpose. After each test, users are asked to complete a survey, and the results have so far been overwhelmingly positive.

Going the extra mile is part and parcel of Daisy’s approach. A site can be ready within just four hours, giving ample time for connectivity to be established and fine-tuned by RSA’s IT and BCM teams. What’s more, Daisy makes each recovery site available for 14 weeks in the event of an incident – far in excess of what RSA plans for as standard. An emergency hotline is also available for extreme situations, with callback guaranteed within 30 minutes.

Because the contract is flexible, RSA can increase or reduce the number of recovery site desks to fit changing business needs and workloads – essential in an industry that’s undergoing extensive change. Daisy also offers RSA a “FlexPlace” service, where recovery centre desks can be hired for requirements other than business continuity – for example during an office refurbishment, or to accommodate temporary staff for a large marketing campaign.

In an evermore regulated industry, RSA can demonstrate a leading-edge, award-winning work area recovery solution to customers, senior leadership, regulators and auditors.

Manchester City Council


Manchester aims to be a city that is well connected.
A city with ultrafast broadband and free WiFi in public places. A city with enviable digital skills.
A city of open data where citizens can develop the apps to make data not only available, but usable, and create a more openly democratic city.

– Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council*

The Background

Science, technology and innovation have long been part of Manchester’s DNA.

As the first region to secure devolved powers from Westminster, Greater Manchester, specifically Manchester City Council, has redoubled its commitment to making the city one of the most forward-thinking in Europe, investing strongly in digital industries and putting the public at the forefront of its strategy.

Promoting “digital inclusiveness” is central to this vision. In its drive to become a truly-connected city, Manchester has sought to harness the benefits of ultrafast broadband for the benefit of its citizens whilst offering free, high-quality WiFi in many public places. As well as improving the overall quality of life, a key aim was to bring internet access within easy reach of new, previously excluded groups and communities, thereby enhancing democracy, opportunity and social cohesion.

Led by CIO, Bob Brown, Manchester City Council has developed “Our ICT Strategy” which details ICT as a key enabler to transform the organisation, deliver new technologies to Manchester’s residents and act as the vanguard to the digital revolution in Manchester.

The Challenge

To realise this ambitious vision, Manchester City Council needed to install fast, reliable and user-friendly WiFi across a comprehensive array of public buildings. These ranged from libraries and leisure centres to historic buildings, heritage sites, sheltered housing, Sure Start centres, health and social care facilities, homeless shelters and many more – a total of almost 130 sites around the city.

At the time Daisy took on the project, WiFi was only available in a few larger libraries. The existing infrastructure lacked the necessary scalability to support further development, while the user interface varied across locations, offering little scope to capture and understand user data or improve their experience. This meant that a comprehensive redesign was required.

Time proved to be another critical factor. In order to meet eligibility requirements for a vital tranche of funding, working WiFi had to be delivered to all 130 sites within a short three-month period.

The Solution

Daisy’s state-of-the-art solution was based on a proven, resilient and scalable Cisco infrastructure housed in two separate data centres. Where possible, existing infrastructure was integrated into the design to provide fast, consistent and reliable WiFi coverage across all sites.

The team designed a single proprietary portal, delivered via the Daisy Engage platform, to work across all locations, carrying the council’s Busy Bee brand and greeting returning users with a “welcome back” page that remembers them by name and invites them to reconnect without the laborious process of entering usernames and passwords.

To ensure the project’s exacting timescales could be met, the surveying of each WiFi location was carried out in parallel with the ordering of hardware, cabling and other equipment – an approach that needed careful coordination and oversight. When lead times for installing some ASDL cabling proved too long, Daisy made innovative use of 4G technology to provide high-quality interim connectivity and meet the completion deadline.

The Result

Greater Manchester’s public WiFi infrastructure has enjoyed a steady increase in usage, celebrating its 100,000th unique user in June 2017 and achieving more than a million logins. Meanwhile, the core platform has functioned with 100% reliability across more than 400 access points.

Most importantly, the project has enabled Manchester City Council to offer free and seamless internet connectivity to more than a million citizens, including underprivileged sections of the community who may previously have lacked internet access. This has helped to promote digital inclusion whilst encouraging the widespread development of IT skills.

Daisy’s Engage solution has added further value by offering the Council a bundled price for all services. This includes a sophisticated range of analytics that provides insight into every user interaction, capturing a variety of data from names, postcodes and email addresses to the time spent online and the site at which the WiFi was accessed. This gives the Council an unprecedented understanding of user needs and habits, highlighting locations or time periods when usage is especially high and allowing it to provide the best possible service to each and every user. It also facilitates planning for the future stages in Greater Manchester’s digital transformation.

*First published in Manchester City Council’s Digital Strategy, 2012

MHA Monahans

When we took the decision to outsource, we spoke to a number of potential suppliers, but Daisy stood out from the start with their professionalism, knowledge and vision. This, and more, has been borne out in the years we’ve been working with them. The platform is stable, secure, reliable and performant, while the people are experienced, knowledgeable and good to work with. As we start to look at our 3rd generation platform, Daisy’s vision, expertise and commitment remains outstanding.

Steve Fraser, Partner, MHA Monahans.

The Background

MHA Monahans is one of the leading firms of chartered accountants and business advisors in the west of England, offering expert support to clients in areas such as accounts provision, audit and tax. Its teams of accountants and other professionals operate from offices in Bath, Chippenham, Frome, Glastonbury, Melksham, Swindon,  Trowbridge and Taunton.

The firm also provides a range of more specialist services including corporate finance, tax consultancy, business recovery and insolvency, cloud accounting, HR and payroll services, and probate. Its financial services arm, Monahans Wealth Management, offers a complete package of tailored, independent wealth advice to individuals and businesses.

As chartered accountants, MHA Monahans sell their skills in units of billable time, which need to be precisely accounted for. The wealth management side of the business, meanwhile, actively manages clients’ money, with transactions relating to pensions and investments all needing to be handled in a timely, professional and compliant manner.

The Challenge

To deliver the efficient service clients expect, MHA Monahans needs a reliable, high-performance IT solution.

Prior to working with Daisy, the firm’s core technology was housed in one of its own offices and managed by a third party service provider. In 2012, as part of its newly-defined IT strategy, MHA Monahans sought a new IT partner that could host their core infrastructure in a highly available way through an off-site data centre. This would allow for a fully-managed and monitored IT environment, with the ability to upgrade the entire application stack easily to the latest available versions while supporting staff with any IT issues.

As well as removing MHA Monahan’s IT dependency from its own premises, the solution needed to facilitate both mobile working and IT Disaster Recovery (ITDR) – with special focus on providing access if the firm’s business premises were ever compromised.

The Solution

Now on its second generation, MHA Monahan’s private cloud platform is hosted in one of Daisy’s state-of-the-art data centres, with the client’s actual data archived in a geographically separate location.

The use of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) ensures that all confidential data remains in the data centre, while secure remote access (complete with Multi Factor Authentication) enables both mobile working and effective ITDR. The same virtual environment also hosts a Cisco unified communications virtual platform, which delivers telephony
service and a virtual reception across all office locations.

Later in the relationship, Daisy also redesigned MHA Monahans’ Wide Area Network, providing improved connectivity with an MPLS WAN solution from vendors BT. As well as being more cost-effective, the solution offers
guaranteed class and Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure that virtual desktop and voice traffic are prioritised.

In addition to all this, Daisy operates a service desk to support all of MHA Monahans’ IT users, while proactively monitoring and managing the platform. The team also provides strategic support to help the firm drive innovation and challenge established thinking.

The Result

Today, MHA Monahans and Monahans Wealth Management both benefit from a resilient, accessible and high-performance IT environment which delivers a highly-available application and voice service – allowing all staff to provide a premium quality service to their clients.


We needed Daisy to be more than a supplier. We needed a flexible partner, one that would hold us to account and support us as we developed. The vision is that by 2020, resilience at HomeServe will be embedded and seamless. Daisy is and will continue to be key part of this journey.
David Owen, Head of Business Systems and Risk, HomeServe.

The Background

HomeServe provides emergency insurance cover to two million UK customers, helping them fix, maintain and look after their homes while offering peace of mind should the worst happen. Products cover everything from plumbing and drainage to boiler repairs, electrics and more.

HomeServe places customers at the heart of everything they do. In addition to a network of response-ready engineers around the country, the company employs a sophisticated contact centre operation so that customers can contact them easily if an emergency arises. Ensuring continuity of service in the event of a disaster is therefore a core priority, especially during winter when customer needs increase by 70%. As an FCA-regulated business, HomeServe must also be able to demonstrate effective business continuity measures.

Daisy has provided HomeServe’s contact centres with work area recovery (WAR) since 2006. Since 2011, however, as HomeServe’s business underwent substantial changes, the relationship has taken on a radical new dimension.

The Challenge

In recent years, HomeServe has expanded both its global reach and product range. In 2011, the company decided that its business continuity and IT disaster recovery (ITDR) capability needed a root-and-branch upgrade in order to maintain its commitment to customers.

With a lean ITDR resource and a vacancy at the head of its business continuity function, HomeServe saw the need for a flexible, expert partner to support them in improving these vital functions as the business continued to grow. As a long-term supplier, Daisy was an obvious potential candidate.

Daisy was tasked with establishing formal, fit-for-purpose business continuity and ITDR programmes for HomeServe – programmes that could adapt fluidly to changing requirements while enabling constant improvement and development. They also had to be fully embedded in HomeServe’s culture and DNA. In addition, the programme needed a strong focus on testing and exercising to demonstrably improve the company’s business resilience.

The Solution

To set up and manage the new Business Continuity and IT Service Continuity programmes, Daisy provided two expert consultants, each working on a contract basis. This gave
HomeServe the flexibility and cost-effectiveness necessary to overhaul its resilience capability even with a fairly lean in-house resource.

Daisy has provided broad-based specialist support in both areas, including the development and maintenance of detailed policy and process documents that help staff recover data and IT capability as quickly as possible in the event of a system failure. Meanwhile, robust Business Continuity and Work Area Recovery plans ensure staff can be moved and full contact centre capability restored within the agreed time objectives.

A regular cycle of activity is in place to ensure consistent improvement across all parts of the programme in line with strategic objectives, while identifying new areas of risk. Requirements are evaluated from a range of perspectives, from staff needs to IT frailties, allowing for a constant process of fine-tuning and optimisation. Meanwhile, a structured testing programme has been set up, with bi-annual ITDR exercises to explore new solutions and opportunities. Yearly tests are conducted at each Work Area Recovery site, while a robust education programme ensures all HomeServe teams get to experience scenario-based exercises, walkthroughs and e-learning.

The Result

By partnering with Daisy, HomeServe has changed its culture with regard to business continuity and IT disaster recovery, while radically enhancing its resilience capability.

“The operational learning curve was steep,” says David Owen, Head of Business Systems and Risk, of the early days of the partnership. “Now, many years in, the teams actively seek the practice rehearsals to make sure they have their bases covered… the muscle memory kicks in from the repetition, and the focus is on the customer still, even in a catastrophe.”

From a technical perspective, HomeServe’s business resilience is demonstrably stronger. Recovery times have shrunk dramatically, with critical systems like phones and networks recoverable almost instantly. HomeServe’s contact centre service can be swiftly restored if an incident occurs, and all functionality seamlessly recovered.

In June 2018, Daisy and HomeServe jointly won CIR Magazine’s “Best Business Continuity in Industry” award, a fitting testament to the effectiveness of the partnership and its commitment to ongoing collaboration. It also speaks to the relationship’s inherent flexibility, as well as the fact that HomeServe trusts Daisy to act in the long-term interests of their business and customers.

In 2018, the relationship entered a new stage. HomeServe’s business continuity capability is now mature, with staff able to deal with incidents and amend protocols with minimal help from the Daisy team. The organisation is also growing rapidly, and has recognised the need to take on a full-time business continuity manager once again to meet its ongoing needs. Daisy continues to play a vital role with its advanced Business Continuity planning software, Shadow Planner, which makes a range of BC tools and applications available to staff in the way that suits them best, via a range of devices.

For Daisy and HomeServe, the relationship has the potential to run for many years more, driven by the needs of the client and their customers.