IT Investment helps Andy Thornton Ltd save in the long run.

Leading supplier of bar and restaurant furniture, lighting and interior accessories Andy Thornton Ltd has made a significant investment to transform its IT and communications infrastructure to support the ongoing evolution of the business. 

Established in 1975, Andy Thornton offers extensive ranges of contract quality furniture, decorative lighting, bar accessories, architectural antiques, retail display furnishings and visual merchandising props boasting customers all over the world including some well-known UK brands such as Jamie’s Italian, JD Wetherspoon, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer.

Tim Berry, IT manager at Andy Thornton explains “We knew that our on-premise Exchange servers and XP machines needed replacing, so it made sense to explore the potential for cost efficiencies that a modern approach can bring”.

Having worked with Technology Services Group since 2007, when they deployed Microsoft SharePoint, Andy Thornton once again turned to the national IT services specialists. With 12 offices nationwide, and two conveniently situated in Leeds and Manchester, TSG were perfectly positioned to help develop and deploy an end-to-end solution covering everything from telecoms, connectivity and applications to infrastructure and support.

The outdated telephone system was replaced with the cost-effective and feature-rich Mitel MiVoice Office and data connectivity was upgraded with an EFM (Ethernet in the First Mile) circuit providing both the platform and the defined Service Level Agreement (SLA) required for the deployment of the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365.

TSG’s national technical director Paul Burns had no hesitation in recommending Microsoft Office 365, “It was clear that a hybrid solution would meet Andy Thornton’s requirements. By moving a proportion of the existing workload into the cloud, we were able to consolidate the remaining on-premise services on to a single HP ML350 running Windows Server 2012.”

“Office 365 effectively has a degree of disaster recovery built in, so to complement this an automated online backup solution has been deployed to protect all of the business’s other sensitive data and security has also been upgraded with the Sophos Endpoint solution.”

Tim is clear about the advantages of the new set up, “The hybrid cloud approach is already paying dividends both in terms of cost and operational efficiencies. We’ve reduced the amount of hardware we need and as a subscription service Office 365 offers a fixed monthly cost.”

“New starters to the business can be set up easily with additional licence keys and small increase to the monthly cost. And for the first time ever, everyone in the business is now using the same version of Microsoft’s various tools!”

Paul Burns adds, “Office 365 offers a flexible and scalable solution for Andy Thornton, and with a modern IT platform now in place the business is well placed to explore how they can use technology to grow and achieve further efficiencies.”

Tim concludes, “Office 365 has put us on the latest version of SharePoint and we are currently working with TSG on the provision of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to take advantage of its seamless integration.”