Hosted Desktop Service Case Study

A hosted desktop can benefit businesses from a number of sectors. This case study looks at how hosted desktops were utilised by a charity.

Sector: Educational charity
Number of customers: 25,000+ students per year across England.

What does your company do?
The company is a national educational charity that offers a portfolio of six business and enterprise education programmes to students at all levels of education, from 4 year-old primary school children to graduate students aged 25+. The flagship Company Programme gives students the opportunity to set up and run a real business over the course of an academic year, whilst a range of one-day programmes help students improve employability, entrepreneurial and life skills, making students aware of their own abilities and potential.

In the past how has your IT been delivered?
Initially the organisation had no centralised computer system, with all staff using standalone desktop or laptop PCs. In 2008, the charity invested in a Terminal Services solution, which enabled a standard desktop to be accessible by all staff, both from their office, home and other locations with internet access.

What was the key event that led you to move from traditional IT to the Hosted Desktop model?
A fault with our single Terminal Services server necessitated our migration to a new Windows server. This had associated hardware upgrade costs, and Hosted Desktop allowed the organisation to avoid these up-front costs for its IT provision, whilst maintaining a service that from the end-users’ point of view is almost identical to the service we had previously provided in-house via Terminal Services.

Why did you choose Hosted Desktop?
The Hosted Desktop service provides a user experience identical to that which we had been providing in-house using Terminal Services, but without the organisation having the expense of managing its own server, and perhaps more significantly, a sufficiently high-bandwidth Internet connection to support its users. Our in-house solution was built on only a single Terminal Server, so downtime was very costly for the organisation. Because Hosted Desktop is built on a highly resilient multi-tenanted platform, there are far more resources available than we could ever afford or manage in-house as a charity, and this additional resource allows for a level of redundancy that ensures the service is exceptionally reliable.

How has Hosted Desktop changed the way you work?
As an organisation, it has ensured that we can continue to develop the benefits we had started to see from its own Terminal Services solution. These include an improved ability to share information and communicate more effectively, whilst increasing the development and maintenance of common standards across the region. From the perspective of IT, it has seen a shift in the role of the IT Manager from managing the server to providing end-user support and training, and freed up time for the IT Manager to work on other projects such as developing databases and systems to further improve the management of our operations.

In what ways has Hosted Desktop helped your company achieve its commercial goals?
The Hosted Desktop service allows us to work more flexibly, by providing access to files and email from anywhere with an internet connection. This is a huge benefit when many of the staff spend a large proportion of their time out of the office at schools, or in meetings. The service also allows the sharing of work more efficiently between offices and made it far easier to ensure consistency in operational systems across multiple offices within the region. All of these factors combined help us work towards its vision: That all young people in England will have the opportunity to gain personal experience of how business works, understand the role it plays in providing employment and creating prosperity, and be inspired to improve their own prospects and the competitiveness of the United Kingdom.