About Richard Hatton Associates
Richard Hatton Associates (RHA) is a thriving client-focused consulting civil and structural engineering practice based in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Operating nationwide, the practice provides feasibility, design, supervisory and expert witness services to public and private sector clients in the construction industry.
The consultancy uses technology extensively throughout the business, and has invested in computer aided design and finite frame analysis in order to produce drawings on CAD and computer-based calculations.
The files produced by the team electronically shareable with other design team members, enabling them to respond quickly and accurately to both initial briefs and change requirements.
As RHA’s practice began to grow and flourish in the early 2000’s, the firm’s business process requirements were beginning to outgrow the traditional peer-to-peer networking that had been in place since its early days. RHA founder Richard Hatton recognised the need for a shared, network-based file sharing environment to enable collaboration between different team members.
At the same time, with a growing team, a more formal IT Support arrangement was needed, but without the additional overhead and expense of hiring a dedicated internal IT Manager. Richard wanted to work with a company of IT experts that would simply get on with the job reliably, efficiently and cost-effectively.
In 2002 Richard Hatton invited proposals from three different IT providers, all of whom he felt could fulfill the dual requirements of improving the peer to peer network arrangement and providing an outsourced IT support and management service.
Among the companies Richard approached, Alliance Solutions had been recommended by a close business associate. As part of a three-way pitch, Alliance Solutions demonstrated that they could meet RHA’s current and ongoing IT requirements. With this, plus the benefit of being both highly recommended and located very close by, the decision was made to select Alliance Solutions as the IT Support partner for Richard Hatton Associates.
Shortly after commencing the contract, it became apparent that the peer-to-peer network set up was not scalable or robust enough to meet RHA’s ongoing business needs.
Alliance Solutions re-planned the network to include the installation of a new server-based network, which meant that RHA’s working practices and business processes could evolve to meet the demands of an increasing client base and growing team.
At the same time, as the firm’s IT needs became more sophisticated, Alliance Solutions became more involved – on both a proactive and reactive level – with RHA’s IT systems.
To support flexible working requirements among the team, Alliance Solutions set up a secure VPN system, installed a dedicated firewall and anti-virus solution and established an IT Helpdesk system for all employees. They also set up processes for automated updates and backups. Eventually, in 2012, the original server needed to be replaced with a new one, again to support the increasing burdens of network file sharing and evolving work practices.
The main benefits of the Alliance Solutions support service – as the enduring relationship to present day suggests – are that the IT hardware, software and user support is all-encompassing, ensuring that everything from workstations to servers and network infrastructure continues to operate efficiently and is future-proofed and secure.
“We have always been impressed by the way Alliance Solutions approach the problems we throw at them. To my knowledge, we have never had an IT issue that they couldn’t solve in 17 years of working with them.
“I like the way that they offer us advice and recommendations on our IT solutions for the longer term, as well as managing the various day-to-day aspects of our IT infrastructure such as our firewall. The 24/7 IT support provided by Alliance is also a great bonus, especially considering how dependent we have become on IT.”
Colin Wilson, Richard Hatton Associates
About Alliance Solutions
Alliance Solutions provides IT support, offering all-inclusive and tailored IT support contracts, outsourced IT management, network monitoring, IT systems integration and software customisation. As well as providing IT support and management services, Alliance Solutions offers on premise and hosted IT solutions, cloud solutions, secure online data backup, disaster recovery, enterprise content management (ECN) and mobile or VoIP phone systems.