Insurance providers Countrywide were ready to move to a new base, but their operation depended on their servers, telephones and website being available without interruption. We took charge of relocating their IT and ensured it went ahead without a hitch.
Countrywide is based in central Norwich and deals with the legal profession, arranging legal indemnity insurance for homebuyers. They were founded in 1994 with a mission to offer the conveyancing profession an easier, quicker way to arrange legal indemnity insurance. Offering 24-hour quotations from day one, they’ve since expanded to offer telephone and online quotations too.
Countrywide first became a Computer Service Centre client in 2010. Their website, which allows them to provide quotations 24/7, is hosted by us, and we provide support to the entire firm, backing up the in-house IT team.
By 2017, Countrywide’s success meant they were outgrowing their premises in an ageing office block on Duke Street in Norwich. When they discovered the site was up for redevelopment, they decided to relocate to a new base in a much more modern office facility in nearby Whitefriars.
Countrywide’s move was scheduled for two consecutive weekends in October, and they asked us to take charge of the IT side of the project, ensuring that business continued without disruption – even during the week when two sites were operating in parallel.
‘The planning process started months beforehand,’ explains Kevin Stolworthy, Countrywide’s IT Manager and Associate Director. ‘Most of our staff are underwriters, so we moved everyone else on the first weekend, and the admin and underwriting teams a week later.’
To prepare for the move, we installed a short-haul data service and BT Net line into the new premises. We also fitted out a new air-conditioned server room on the upper of two floors to be occupied, then linked it to the lower floor to ensure access for all the firm’s 80+ staff.
We set up secure Wi-Fi throughout the premises and worked with Countrywide’s electrical contractor to offer advice on the number and position of floor boxes, network points and power points.
As a busy e-commerce operation, Countrywide have their own high-availability cluster of servers, originally installed by us in 2013. This hosts the firm’s proprietary enterprise software, which is used by everyone in the business and protected by our offsite backup.
It was essential that we transferred the cluster seamlessly on the second weekend, so the team could keep working.
Our engineers were on site to make sure everything went smoothly, and the Monday following the transfer was ‘business as usual’. ‘In fact, that October was our best-ever month at the time, which just shows how little downtime we had,’ says Kevin.
‘Apart from our website being down briefly over the weekend, there was no loss of service at all. People just had to pack up, turn up at the new office on Monday and it was all done for them. ‘Overall, we don’t think the move could have gone any better.’
Knowledge and experience
Reflecting on the experience, Kevin points to our knowledge and experience as the factor that made a difference.
‘When I first heard we were moving, I thought it would be a real pain,’ he admits. ‘But while it was a lot of work, there wasn’t a lot of pain. I was worried about last-minute problems cropping up, but that didn’t happen. When you talk to people who know what they’re talking about, the problems just go away.’
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