- Data Centre
- Unified Comms
- Managed Services
United Living Group's operations integrated seamlessly
United Living Group (ULG) was formed in 2014 following the merger of two major players in the social housing sector, United House Limited and Bullock Construction. With a vision to become one of the UK’s leading providers of affordable housing and sustainable solutions, ULG required a first class IT network to support its growing workforce and clientele.
During the initial integration process, ULG recognised the need for an enterprise-grade IT provider to consolidate its network and communications assets and to support the increasing flow of information across its data network.
ChallengeTo ensure a seamless transition in the first few months of operation, ULG wanted to align its IT services quickly and create a unified business environment for its employees and clients.
Greg Morley, CIO at ULG, explains: “We needed a technology provider that could deliver a solution that would facilitate the merger of the two companies by integrating our operations. Working in the construction industry, we also required a provider with the capability to rapidly deploy and expand its infrastructure to support new work sites. It needed to be able to scale quickly, often at short notice, without losing resilience and without putting our data compliance at risk.”
ULG chose Six Degrees Group (6DG) to support the merger as the managed services provider could provide the necessary enterprise-grade technology and supporting expertise to integrate the original companies.
Morley explains, “Prior to the merger, 6DG had delivered United House’s wide area network (WAN), IP telephony and Disaster Recovery (DR) services so we knew they were capable of delivering what we desired.”
In preparation for the merger, 6DG helped ULG obtain a unified network and common infrastructure to underpin the new operations. The team deployed two bridges between the Bullock Construction WAN and United House’s existing 6DG infrastructure, one at the Bullock Construction head office in the West Midlands and one in a regional office in the North West, allowing the 6DG WAN network to be suitably extended.
6DG also deployed its IP telephony voice offering across 400 users for ULG, a solution which has the built-in capacity to grow as and when the new company expands. The service is delivered over 6DG’s high speed, high quality, secure network, and leverages their SIP services and business continuity capabilities.
Morley comments: “6DG’s IP telephony solution provides a unified communications service across the group, giving staff access to video and collaboration tools on virtually any device. Our employees now benefit from the capabilities of an on-premise solution, with the business advantages of cloud, such as cost and scalability.”
6DG has also leveraged its colocation services to provide ULG with increased DR capabilities. Prior to the merger, United House was using 6DG’s London data centre to back up its head office operations. Therefore, when integration began, 6DG migrated United House’s head office server infrastructure to its South Birmingham data centre providing the new ULG with a triangular network connection (from the 6DG London and South Birmingham data centres to the ULG head office in Swanley).
OutcomeWorking closely with the 6DG team, ULG was able to expand an existing solution to unify United House and Bullock Construction as one company.
Morley comments: “We have made significant savings on capital expenditure by working with 6DG, enabling us to invest elsewhere during this time of change. 6DG has provided us with an agile, cost effective and reliable solution, capable of providing fully redundant connectivity, voice and colocation services. Rapid deployment is integral to a fast-paced construction company like ours and 6DG has provided us with a highly responsive and scalable solution that matches our needs. The 6DG team has taken the time to align its services with our needs and vision.”
ULG deals with increasing amounts of tenant data, which needs to be stored in a highly secure environment, in line with industry legislation. 6DG is able to provide this flexibility without compromising ULG’s compliance and security needs. Morley concludes: “6DG has provided us with an integrated and sophisticated network that meets our everyday and future business demands. We are now a large provider of affordable housing and sustainable solutions in the UK and downtime is simply not an option. Offering flexibility, scalability and security, our unified voice solutions, underpinned by the 6DG network, will ensure our communications are always running effectively. Having known and worked with 6DG for a long time now, we trust the team and the solutions they provide. We are pleased to have 6DG by our side as we embark on the next steps of our united journey as ULG.”