Cadogan Estates is a modern property company, which traces its roots back to one of London’s great landed estates. Today the estate’s properties are concentrated around Sloane Square, Sloane Street and the King’s Road in Chelsea. Their property management operations range from development to facilities management, which means they require a wide range of IT tools with efficient computer support systems and processes.
Cadogan Estates’ IT infrastructure consists of a number of sites, all with a variety of requirements, which means that we manage a wide range of third party companies, delivering services across multiple sites. We also manage a high-availability business continuity configuration capable of restoring all systems within an hour of a total data loss.
The most effective way to manage this level of complexity is to act as internal staff would. It is a mindset we deploy with all our clients, keeping us as engaged with our client’s business as we are with our own.
Strategy is built into everything we do. Cadogan Estates have relied on us to provide strategic IT consultancy since 2005. As part of this service, we provide a technical manager and senior engineer who work regularly alongside the Cadogan Estates Finance Director at Cadogan’s offices, driving the strategy and IT planning across the Estate.
We draw on the observations of our on-site engineers as well as the performance data of IT systems, analysis of support cases, biannual staff surveys, interviews with key staff members and discussions with directors to build a robust and budgeted IT roadmap for Cadogan Estates. Our technical manager also attends Cadogan’s monthly “IT steering group” meeting to discuss Cadogan’s IT plan progression and make useful suggestions and updates where necessary.
This allows us to make structural changes in a progressive and orderly manner with minimal operational disruption. This is a key commercial driver for any business and we designed the architecture of Cadogan’s systems to minimise downtime to less than an hour, even in the event of catastrophic data loss.
Carefully planning to optimise an office move
In preparation for Cadogan’s office move in 2015, we undertook a major review of their infrastructure.
The outcome of the assessment was a clear, comprehensive roadmap on the options available to Cadogan Estates.
In the short term, we needed to consider where the primary servers should move to, which raised the question of whether to move some or all of the infrastructure into the cloud. Our testing and experience showed that a fully cloud-based system was not yet appropriate because there was still a risk of significant downtime and the current requirements of Cadogan Estates would be impossible to replicate in the cloud.
Our solution was to maintain some of the the best-of-breed on-premise infrastructure we had developed until the cloud was capable of replicating the on-premise Cadogan infrastructure. We also recommended that Cadogan continue to run servers on-premise and build a second failover set of servers in a data centre.
We started the process of Cadogan’s strategic cloud migration by transferring Cadogan’s on-premise Exchange to Office 365 – a solution we suggest to many of our clients for its resilience and accessibility. Migrating to cloud-based applications also means less disruption when moving the office infrastructure to a new site.
As and when appropriate for the business, other cloud platforms will be added to Cadogan’s hybrid infrastructure.
An Architectural Approach
Cadogan Estates were building their new office site, which gave us a unique opportunity to build Cadogan’s new IT architecture literally from the ground up. The pre-work and design started alongside the building construction and we held monthly meetings with the architects during the process.
When it came time for the 2015 relocation, we assisted Cadogan with their office move by implementing Conosco’s new VOIP telephone system and screens on the desks in advance of the move, disconnecting PCs at the old site and setting up PCs and phones at new desks over the move weekend. The outcome was a seamless move with total business continuity and completely stable IT infrastructure at the new site.
Like many of our clients, Cadogan Estates are on a fixed monthly retainer, which allows our design team, engineers and account managers to consistently offer ongoing project work and consultancy at a reduced hourly rate