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Croft plc, the Newcastle-based ICT company, has installed an IT infrastructure at Garlands Call Centres' new Middlesbrough site. The infrastructure, which includes new computing servers, switches, routers and PCs, currently serves 600 Garlands employees and is forecast to serve 1000 by the end of the year as employment at the centre expands.

The computing servers installed at Garlands are one of the first implementations of Hewlett Packard's breakthrough Blade Server technology in
a medium-sized business anywhere in Europe. The technology, originally designed for large corporate data centres, allows Garlands to simultaneously run services for many different organisations from a single computing server
and rapidly make hardware and software changes to that server without having to shut it down and start it up again.

Such flexibility is extremely important to Garlands. The Middlesbrough centre not only acts for a number of blue chip companies such as Freeserve and Virgin Mobile but also needs to accommodate rapid growth in data and personnel. Standards-based HP Blade Servers are considerably smaller and more powerful than conventional computing servers, providing a high degree of reliability and fault tolerance.

Garlands Call Centres was named 'Best Large UK Contact Centre' at the 2002 National Customer Service Awards and 21st fastest growing UK business in The Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table for 2002. It is the second largest private employer in the Tees Valley and in 2003 alone has brought over 600 new jobs to the area.

Steve Bowen, IT Services Manager at Garlands Call Centres commented, 'Garlands is known throughout the customer service industry for the way it invests in its people - and that extends to equipping them with the best tools to do the job. From call handling equipment to desktop PCs, we look to make use of the best technology and to use that technology creatively. Our investment in state-of-the-art HP Blade Server technology is no
exception. We were very happy with the way Croft listened to our requirements and implemented the technology. We're confident it will continue to meet our needs as the company continues to grow".

Mick Keeble, Croft's Communications Director said 'We endeavour to work in partnership with a client in order to meet their needs, this works best
where there is synergy in the approach taken by both businesses, and this has certainly been the case in our relationship with Garlands Call Centres.'


About Garlands

Established in 1997, Garlands handles both inbound and outbound customer contacts via phone, email and the Web for customer retention, cross selling, upselling, customer service, customer acquisition, credit management and
customer lifecycle management. The company has a blue chip client list that includes leading businesses in the telecoms (mobile and fixed), utilities, Internet services, multi media entertainment and financial services industries.

Garlands Call Centres was a winner in the category 'Intelligent Application of Data for Telemarketing' at the 2002 Marketing Direct Intelligence awards and received a Special Commendation for HR Excellence at the 2003 HR
Excellence Awards. Garlands Chief Executive, Chey Garland, was named Tees Valley 'Business Executive of the Year' in both 1999 and 2001. She also received national recognition in 2002, notably as 'Business Services Entrepreneur of the Year' at the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Finals, Best Business Leader in the 100+ employee category at the Sage Business Awards and as the runner-up in the Verve Clicquot Award for Business Woman of the Year.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Martin Wilson, Croft plc on 0191 268 4602

Michael Gray for Garlands Call Centres on 020 8744 9168

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Gray Associates in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit