Our partnership with Node4
Check out this blog to find out how Node4 helped us to improve our IT systems - allowing our employees to continue providing award-winning service to our dealer partners and customers from the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 lockdown(s).
Adapting to a new way of working
As the world adapts to the new 'normal', we've been reflecting on what's been a turbulent 16 months. For our dealer partners and customers, there was uncertainty surrounding many aspects of their lives - and we didn't want to make our service one of them. That's why we decided to make the move for our entire workforce to work remotely, so they could continue to provide the service our dealer partners and customers have come to expect, during the lockdown period(s), whilst also keeping our staff members and their families safe.
To do this successfully, we knew that we would need the help of a third-party – this is where Node4 came in! Node4 provides a hosted and managed unified communications platform for businesses to store their data safely.
What was the problem?
We've seen a large rise in business levels over the last few years, which our previous supplier was not capable of supporting, and the financial outlay for a brand new IT infrastructure would've also been quite costly in terms of time and money, if we were to have considered solving the problem on our own.
The issue was also hampered by the fact that our cloud systems were not technically in the cloud – they were stored in a single computer server at our previous supplier's office. If there was an issue with this single server, we would see outages in internet access and our dealer network, and customers would have been unable to contact us via the phone (which started occurring on a more regular basis) sometimes for hours at a time. These were occasions where we failed to deliver on the award-winning customer service that we are known for. The situation quickly became untenable, and internally we decided that we had to change something to ensure that we could continually meet the needs of our dealer partners and customers.
We already had a few years' experience of dealing with Node4 as they were already responsible for servicing some of our other IT requirements. When we concluded that we needed to update the rest of our IT systems, we decided to do so via Node4, so that all our IT requirements would be within one provider. Not only did this allow us to quickly meet the needs of our 280+ employees working from home within four days of the first nationwide lockdown being announced, but it also allowed us to support our dealer partners and customers through uncertain times.
Node4 also offers services that we do not currently use, but it gives us confidence that we have significant overheads in terms of future proofing our IT systems.
"Node4 has an excellent reputation throughout the company and, in particular, amongst our senior executives, who acknowledge the positive impact that Node4 has had on our operations."
- James Styles, IT Infrastructure Team Leader at First Response Finance
How have the changes helped us?
Even though our staff members are able to resume work in the office, many choose to work from the comfort of their own home, for a variety of reasons, and we are happy to support them in doing this knowing that we have a reliable phone system that can handle the volume of calls we receive (and more), and that the data we store continues to be protected through Node4's cloud-based hosted environment.
Moving our IT systems over to Node4 did result in some teething issues within the first few days, but these were quickly resolved by Node4 which reinforced our confidence in who we had chosen for our IT infrastructure, and utilising all of Node4's services has created a cost saving to First Response Finance to the tune of around £9,000 per annum. More importantly, we have not experienced any downtime in our services with Node4, which allows us to service our employees, dealer partners, and customers, when they need us.
"We always try and support local businesses and use their services where we can. We are based in Nottingham and Node4 is a Derby-based business with a significant national presence. This makes their success with us doubly pleasing as we are able to fully endorse a local business and encourage others, further afield, to try their services for themselves."
- Darren Green, Head of IT at First Response Finance
To learn more about our partnership, check out Node4's case study.