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Bulky Bob's furniture logistics

FRC Group chooses Star to help guarantee next wave of growth

London, 9th December, 2011 – Star, a provider of on-demand computing and communication services to UK businesses, announced today it has been selected to provide cloud services to leading Social Enterprise The FRC Group. The decision to choose Star came after the Group’s current disaster recovery policy did not stand up to scrutiny and its ageing servers would have been far too costly to replace.

With unemployment figures high, the FRC Group is an integral part of the community and growing fast. Over the last 20 years The FRC Group has grown from charity to social enterprise employing 80 full time staff and reaching £5 million turnover. Rather than traditional fundraising, the company creates a social dividend trading goods and services, employing the previously long-term unemployed, providing training, work placements and prison-based workshops.

The three main arms of the organisation are Furniture Resource Centre, which provides social landlords across the UK with all of the essentials needed to make a house a home, Bulky Bob’s which collects waste furniture via local councils contracts, recycling and redistributing to families who need the most help and Bulky Bob’s Furniture World, which , sells ‘pre-loved’ furniture at affordable prices to low income families via its stores.
As with many fast growing organisations IT is essential and the outdated servers were becoming a strategic issue. The existing IT systems were ‘out-dated’ and offered little by the way of disaster recovery. Star offers a scalable and secure way to support the business and future proof its disaster recovery needs. Phil Tottey, Deputy CEO and FD, FRC Group, had limited knowledge of cloud services, but did know that replacing existing hardware would be extremely costly and not necessarily the best long term solution for FRC.

Tottey said “The IT systems we had in place were starting to creak, the servers were 10 years old and we were running out of capacity. Add to that the fact that we were uncertain of the robustness of the disaster recovery programme that we had in place, we knew we needed to make some changes, quickly.”

“The capital outlay to replace the servers we were using would have been a six figure sum, with the likely requirement to replace them yet again between three to five years. Cloud services from Star mean we can now have a more robust environment to house the servers, with fire suppression, flood prevention and enhanced air conditioning which would have meant a further investment of £50,000 to do something similar ourselves. For us, the managed cloud services on offer from Star covered all the ‘what if’ scenarios.”

For a Social Enterprise it did not make sense to have so much money tied up in IT systems that would constantly need updating. The FRC Group’s core mission is to help those who are in the most need and this is where its time and resource is best focused.

Tottey concludes “As an analogy, another large expense for us is the running cost of our vehicle fleet, however we would never attempt to maintain and service them ourselves, we are now taking a similar approach to our computing, which leaves us able to concentrate on what we are good at.”

The FRC Group has now put all of its IT systems into the Cloud including, HR, Accounting, Email and Payroll.

Ricky Hudson CEO, Star said, “The FRC Group is at the heart of the UK’s most in need community. Unemployment is at an all time high and families need support more than ever. Phil’s decision to choose Star came from his desire to grow by increasing their capacity to efficiently reach more people. Just because FRC Group is a Social Enterprise does not mean it didn’t want the best levels of service, it challenged us to provide the most effective solution for a range of complex needs. Its strategic thinking has set them up for the next chapter in growth.”

About Star

Star provides on-demand computing and communication services to UK businesses. Utilising an advanced cloud computing platform, the company has redefined how business people use and pay for the technology that supports them. Star’s On-demand Business Services™ are easy to use and pay for and are available any time and from anywhere, removing unnecessary costs for hardware, software and ongoing maintenance. Since 1995, when Star was founded, the company has been an Internet technology innovator and pioneered the system for cloud based spam and virus scanning for business email that became MessageLabs.

In the last 16 years Star has established itself as a leading IT and communications service provider of the highest pedigree looking after 3,000 UK business customers and their 500,000 users. Star has UK based data centres that sit within a network and communications capability that forms the basis of the Star Platform, from which a wide range of computing and communication services are delivered to customers. Star has over 250 employees working from offices throughout the UK, providing the highest levels of customer service and support. Star’s technology roadmap will deliver on-demand, cloud computing services to UK businesses who want immediate access to the latest enterprise technologies.

Emma Naylor or Paul Maher
+44 (0) 208 237 1104

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