Mark Sachse | Operations Director at claireLOGIC
Aesop is a national arts charity and social enterprise who are based in Oxfordshire. Its vision is ‘A future when arts solutions for society’s problems are valued and available for all who need them’. Current programmes include Dance to Health, the national dance programme for reducing older people’s falls, the Aesop Institute university-accredited training programme, biennial national conferences to show the health sector how the arts can work for them and annual surveys of GP attitudes to the arts.
claireLOGIC have supported Aesop with their IT infrastructure for several years, providing managed support to keep their team’s technology running efficiently.
Aesop’s incumbent file system gave their staff basic, but reliable, document storage – with simple collaboration. However over time there became a highlighted need – particularly during lockdown – for the Aesop team and external associates to work more collaboratively.
claireLOGIC are certified Microsoft partners and proposed the rollout of Microsoft Sharepoint and OneDrive to alleviate the ongoing issues the organisation were facing.
Here are some of the issues the organisation faced:
An issue that is often faced when setting up new folder infrastructure is the risk of downtime whilst the migration is in process – and potentially missing some of the data.
claireLOGIC alleviated this risk by building a virtualised system outside of the charity’s existing IT architecture. This allowed claireLOGIC to build synced folders for each user. The data; documents and other content was then pulled-down both globally and at an individual user level, synced in real-time and ready to deploy.
In essence, we had a ready to deploy real-time snap-shot of all the data; pre-prepared, and ready to launch.
This gave everyone involved the reassurance that no files were missed, and zero downtime would be seen by any users upon deployment.
As seen in most organisations – folder hierarchy is built-up over time and can become both confusing and difficult to manage across (and even within) departments. This problem was no different for Aesop.
They had a large amount of nested folders, with credential and document pathway issues – meaning that access to important documents was often ‘clunky’ and slowed-down smooth working practices.
claireLOGIC re-configured all folders and credentials – based on what the organisation needed from their day-to-day data.
From the operations team, through to the external finance partners, everyone had smooth and unhindered secure access to what they needed, when they needed it.
SharePoint now affords Aesop a smooth out-of-the-box new user set-up process – and, more importantly – leaving user permissions can be removed quickly and easily, supporting best practice security.
As well as reassigning folder access and document hierarchy, claireLOGIC also introduced Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), ensuring that Aesop’s precious data is always secure and protected by more than just a single password, and as part of a layered security approach.
Without being a hinderance; MFA security was enabled for all users, with easy to use options to authenticate via push notifications.
Within the charity sector, like other industries, data management is incredibly important. In Aesop’s case it is particularly important to have data security for Dance to Health participant health data. Aesop also benefits from contributions by hundreds of volunteers and holds a range of personal data sets.
The incumbent document solution, when synced by users, meant that valuable disc space was needed to store documents, even if they weren’t relevant or currently being used by the user.
In some cases each document was stored by each user, wasting value space and capacity on end user computers.
Our deployment of Sharepoint was set-up with file-on-demand, meaning that only the relevant files were pulled down from the cloud, as and when they are needed.
This claireLOGIC project was led by engineer Mike Bosher who said “We’re really pleased to have been able to streamline Aesop’s business processes. SharePoint encourages information sharing, transparency, and collaboration.
It has a very similar user interface to other known Microsoft 365 applications, so Aesops’s end-users could hit the ground running and enjoy great user experience, with simple, centralised data management – and absolutely no disruption or downtime.”
A crucial point reinforced by Aesops’ CEO Tim Joss, who said “As well as the smooth transition, I would highlight claireLOGIC’s pro-active approach.
They don’t simply respond to problems. They are always looking ahead and finding better ways to support Aesop’s development.”