The Representative Body of the Church in Wales
The Representative Body of the Church in Wales is the central administrative body serving all six diocese of the Church in Wales.
In addition to its primary role of managing the Church’s financial assets, it also provides a myriad of centralised support services to the 200+ Bishops, Archdeacons and lay staff serving the Welsh community, including legal support, HR, financial and IT services. When it was looking to refresh and centralise its IT estate, Phoenix Software was able to build a solution which not only met its immediate needs, but also prepared it for a cutting-edge future.
The Representative Body of the Church in Wales issued a national tender for the consolidation and standardisation of its IT environment in order to deliver its IT services more efficiently from a central location. The new IT infrastructure would be required to centralise the activities of the six diocese so that site visits and associated regional geographical demands could be reduced. The Request for Proposal (RFP) also included a refresh of all end-of-life equipment, an increase in the server’s overall capacity and re-utilisation of existing equipment for backup and disaster recovery.
“Our aim was to deliver on our vision of a standardised WAN environment which could provide each of the diocese with all of the services they needed, while being delivered from a central location which was highly resilient, secure and easy for us to support,” commented Leon Hughes, ICT Manager at The Representative Body of the Church in Wales who led the project. “Many of the assets that we were obligated to support had been deployed locally in response to immediate parish needs. This resulted in a patchwork infrastructure of local and centralised services which meant that not only was our central server becoming increasingly under-utilised, but that crucial data was often not backed up and not readily available by those who needed it in the broader Church. Such a fragmented environment was also very time-consuming to manage because most of the local assets could not be accessed remotely, meaning that a relatively simple SAN issue in a distant Parish would take one of my team out of the office for a full day, with most of that time spent travelling. The situation was simply unsustainable and very inefficient.”
In its response to the tender, Phoenix Software took the time to understand the Church’s long-term needs and ambitions in order to design a solution that could adapt to the needs of the future. This approach is embodied in Phoenix Software’s ‘Future Now: Three years Out’ policy and is key to how it operates as a trusted IT advisor to all its customers.
From these various conversations, Phoenix Software understood that the Church could benefit from upgrading its VPN-based infrastructure to a country-wide desktop virtualisation infrastructure in order to deliver the most consistent experience to its users. While internet connectivity is improving fast, poor connectivity quality in a small number of the more remote parishes requires the Church to place this project on hold in the short term. However, given this longer-term plan, Phoenix Software took account of this future requirement in its proposed server design. The foresight of this design, in addition to the business-led consultancy throughout the process, led to Phoenix winning the bid for the server refresh project.