The Forum

Improving efficiency through modernisation

Industry: Charity, Venue, Entertainment
Location: Norwich

The Forum

The Forum is an iconic public building in the heart of Norwich.

They host an eclectic mix of events and activities, food and drink, shopping, information services and the most popular public library in the UK.

The Forum is the home of the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library, the Tourist Information Centre, the Norfolk Citizens’ Advice Bureau, Pizza Express, Café Bar Marzano, The Forum Shop by Jarrolds and BBC East.

The Forum is managed by The Forum Trust, an independent, self-financing educational charity. The Forum Trust creates a year-round programme of free events which celebrate the talent and achievements of people in the Eastern region.

The Forum Trust produces Norwich Science Festival, Norwich Games Festival, Norfolk Makers Festival and Heritage Open Days, and supports community events including Run Norwich and Norfolk Disability Pride.

theforumnorwich.co.uk

Challenges

Collaboration is key to the successful running of any organisation. At The Forum, their team deliver a vast programme of events to support their fundraising efforts. This means they need to work together effectively throughout the year.

We conducted an audit of their IT systems and processes to highlight inefficiencies. During the review, we discovered that their current IT infrastructure was hindering productivity.

Their data was stored in a physical server which didn’t offer much flexibility. Much of their software was custom built and restrictive. Their systems, including email and calendars, were running via a 2013 on-premise Exchange Server. The outdated version meant they weren’t taking advantage of the collaborative tools Office 365 has to offer.

Solutions

We were pro-active in our support, consulting on areas of inefficiency. Working strategically with The Forum we were able to present solutions to allow them to enhance their productivity.

We began by moving their email, calendars and data from physical servers to Office 365. This allows their employees to access their data wherever they are; in the office, at home or on the go. As well as accessibility, hosting in the cloud gave the reassurance of guaranteed uptime.

With the need to improve collaboration through their IT, we introduced Microsoft Teams. Teams is an effective collaboration tool to build project teams, stay connected on the go, access and edit data live, and more. We consulted with The Forum on how best to structure their Teams to effectively work for them.

Alongside these updates we introduced a hosted telecoms system. This gives employees access to all the features of their phone system so long as they are connected to the internet. Hosting their telecoms in the cloud added to the flexibility of allowing staff to work from other locations.

Ageing PCs were also replaced with new laptops and PCs. This improved their working experience with more responsive and portable devices. To keep their data secure on their new devices, we also introduced multifactor authentication. Giving an extra level of security to keep them safe.

Results

Following the modernisation of their IT systems and our consultation work, The Forum team now work faster, more efficiently and securely.

The move from physical systems to those hosted in the cloud has given them the flexibility to work securely from any location. The introduction of Microsoft Teams in Office 365 means they will be able to easily collaborate on major projects in one application.

Our consultation work identified productivity issues. We were then able to overcome these through system upgrades. We continue to work with The Forum through our regular Account Manager meetings to support the development of their IT infrastructure.

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"Working with Breakwater IT we have undertaken a full review of our systems and processes moving the Forum Trust to a more secure and dynamic way of working. At all times Breakwater has supported us through what has been an intensive period of change – all of this over a period when many staff were working remotely due to Covid-19. We continue to work with Breakwater IT to improve our systems and continue to meet the changing needs of our staff and business environment."

  • Teresa Wood, The Forum Trust Limited

Discover how Breakwater can help your business. Call our team today on +44 (0)1603 709300 or email enquiries@breakwaterit.co.uk

"Working with Breakwater IT we have undertaken a full review of our systems and processes moving the Forum Trust to a more secure and dynamic way of working. At all times Breakwater has supported us through what has been an intensive period of change – all of this over a period when many staff were working remotely due to Covid-19. We continue to work with Breakwater IT to improve our systems and continue to meet the changing needs of our staff and business environment."

  • Teresa Wood, The Forum Trust Limited

Stuart Moll

Technical Director

As Technical Director I focus on the solutions, products and processes used to ensure the smooth-running of clients’ systems.

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