Helping You Fly & Keeping You in the Air!
24 January 2017
We began working with the Hitchman Stone Partnership in 2010 and are now their strategic technology partner supporting them to implement a number of initiatives to make the business more flexible, responsive, and productive.
Hitchman Stone are a family-run architectural practice covering a variety of projects from inception to completion in sectors ranging from industrial and commercial, to hospitality, health and leisure, and retail.
Approaching Christmas 2010, the business suffered a fault with its server and were told by their previous IT partner that a replacement could not be sourced any quicker than a week and the costs associated were high. Facing a week’s worth of disruption and downtime, not to mention the cost of potential penalties if existing projects overran, Jeryl Stone, the Practice Manager was keen to source an alternative solution.
“When we experienced problems with our server, we faced not being able to continue our work until some sort of interim solution had been provided. By chance I bumped into Darren, explained my frustration and he offered to assist, with a replacement server from The Emerald Group, and technical support to get us up and running again within 24 hours. He delivered on this and we have been working with Emerald ever since.”
We leased a new server to Hitchman Stone for a week and installed it within 24 hours following the failure of the existing server. This provided an effective interim solution while we negotiated a deal for a brand new server. We significantly reduced the downtime for Hitchman Stone and ensured that they avoided the high costs associated with being out of action for 7 days. The business works very closely with a number of clients whose requirements are time critical. Any delay in delivering on a project can incur expensive penalty points. We are always mindful of this and the other pressures on all our customers.
Once the new server was installed, we were then able to look at other areas we could support the business to digitalise. Hitchman are a traditional family business operating in a sector that has been accelerated by the introduction of technological advances. We knew they had to embrace and leverage technology to remain at the forefront of a busy market. However, crucial to us was ensuring we did not introduce technology for technology’s sake. Every solution had to be scaleable, flexible, and demonstrate at least 3-4 times a return on investment quickly.
Leveraging technology to mobilise the workforce
With up to 20 employees, Hitchman Stone still operates a small and personalised team of qualified professionals. They are a progressive business who have adopted a policy of flexible working, with many employees choosing to work from multiple locations. One of the restrictions to this policy previously was that the user experience when working on a laptop at home was very rarely a similar experience to working on an office computer. We introduced cloud solutions to ensure the user experience was seamless when accessing company information or files, regardless of the device used or the location. We also introduced a range of company mobile devices. The business is no longer confined to one office space between 9-5 and employees are free to complete work on their own terms at places of convenience, through devices available to them, increasing flexibility and ensuring optimised work schedules.
The final word from Jeryl on the difference we have made working together:
“Emerald has become our go-to for all our technology requirements. If we think we need to address an issue, we contact them and explain, and they suggest a solution not only for immediate use, but also looking at the longer term picture for our business too. They keep a constant eye on our systems and usage and suggest when appropriate courses of action should be taken to enhance our working environment.
“Emerald’s support is extremely vital to our business for their forward thinking on our behalf and the solutions they provide make the working environment easier and more efficient for staffing levels.”