Case Study: Ribby Hall

Ribby Hall Village is a family-owned holiday complex welcoming tens of thousands of visitors a year to its cottages, leisure facilities and spa hotel.

  • Service Areas Professional Services, Managed Services, Support, Azure, Microsoft Support, Teams Voice, Licensing, Cloud Migration
  • Industry Hospitality and Travel
  • Organisation Size 620 employees
  • Completion date Summer 2021
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1

Encouraged and facilitated easy collaboration

2

Ease of management for internal IT team

3

Took advantage of cloud technologies to futureproof

4

Ensured user adoption of the new tools to benefit from the value added

Content+Cloud and Ribby have been working in partnership for nearly 20 years.

Throughout this time, Ribby has enjoyed growth both from an operational perspective but also growth around the Village, services provided and new opportunities. Content+Cloud has supported such growth, advising where possible on how technologies can assist both Ribby’s employees as well as customers. Ribby had reached a point where its digital transformation had slowed down due to legacy equipment and software.

Challenge

Over the years Ribby has always operated a more traditional buy-and-host, on-premises operating model. There was a need to review options to help Ribby transform by adopting cloud technologies, but also encourage collaboration across the Village, while maintaining a high level of security.

We’d been exploring the benefits of moving to the cloud with Ribby for some time – but Ribby had some deep-seated concerns. In the client’s eyes, IT had always been a cost rather than an enabler. One of its reservations was around the poor connectivity in the local area. When this improved, a significant hurdle was removed. We undertook considerable work to improve bandwidth, resiliency and technology prior to doing any work on moving to Azure and cloud technology.

The biggest challenge for Ribby was user adoption and the ‘buy-in’ from its employees. We therefore visited Ribby to have a meeting about what’s possible with Microsoft 365 (then Office 365) and the apps available within it. The meeting included key stakeholders from around the business – we helped them visualise their IT not as a hindrance, but as a tool for efficiency and better working practices.

While both Ribby and Content+Cloud could see the potential to add real value to the day-to-day activities across the Village, it was clear that, without careful planning and successful adoption from users, this value would be lost in the longer-term.

Ribby Hall collaborated with Content+Cloud on our digital transformation project. The project included a move to Office 365, Azure and Teams telephony. It was a challenging implementation, but Content+Cloud was up to the task and confidently guided us through the process. We’re now 12 months into a successful implementation and the benefits are clear to see. Steven Lonsdale, IT Manager, Ribby Hall Village

Approach

The current hardware and infrastructure had reached, or were coming to, an age where change needed to happen. The question at this point to Ribby was: do you refresh what you have and remain on-premises or do you look at an alternative design encompassing cloud computing?

We carried out a ‘5 Rs’ cloud rationalisation assessment on the current VMware estate to look at what we would want to replace, rehost, redesign, remain or retire. Following this we undertook a Cloud Adoption Framework type assessment for both right-sizing of workloads and understanding the best type of service for them in Azure.

Solution


With Ribby seeing and buying into the value this would add to the business and users, we quickly moved on to an Azure design that included a Landing Zone to give better security, governance and reporting. We then looked at which servers we would migrate to Azure, which applications we would move to SaaS or external hosting, and which servers we could retire.

During the height of Covid, a particularly challenging time for the hospitality sector, Ribby had invested in an Azure migration, Teams Voice (with Anywhere365 Contact Centre) as well as a SharePoint Online migration. This allowed Ribby to start the transition to modern computing using all the Microsoft technologies available.

As part of the SharePoint migration, we engaged with Ribby on some consultancy to evaluate what files and folders would be migrated and make sure that these were in a format and structure ready for migration.


The digital transformation project was one of the larger technical undertakings Ribby Hall has faced. The benefits of the project were significant; safeguarding us from the upcoming ISDN switch off through the migration to Teams telephony, migration to a more manageable OpEx billing model with Azure and other associated Microsoft 365 licensing. Steven Lonsdale, IT Manager, Ribby Hall Village


We produced a report for the client and, after some minor remedial work to tidy things up and restructure, we undertook the migration over a weekend, moving the full corporate data structure to SharePoint Online. Benefits Ribby will see from this are improved data management, easier access to corporate data when working out of the office, improved file security, simplified document collaboration and ease of integration with other Microsoft 365 workstreams.

Once it was agreed, our telephony team, in conjunction with Sipcom, implemented the design, ready for user acceptance testing. Ribby did some extensive testing to ensure calls were flowing correctly before we finally went live. Moving Ribby to Teams Voice not only brought a huge cost saving on its current outdated infrastructure, but it has also given it a more effective communication application, flexibility to be used on multiple operating systems and devices, increased productivity and greater integration with the Microsoft 365 suite.

Ensuring that the employees got excited about the new technologies and ways of working means that Ribby is able to continue to explore better and more efficient ways of working using the Microsoft tools available.

We had also started talking to Ribby about a move to full Teams telephony with Anywhere365 Contact Centre to replace its end-of-life BT phone system. We engaged with Ribby in workshops to design how the new telephony system would look, exploring how direct numbers, hunt groups for different departments, call queues and skills-based routing for the contact centre would be built into the design.

The Future

This is just the start of Ribby’s journey. As users adopt more of the Microsoft tools and see the benefits of SharePoint Online and Teams, Ribby is able to distinguish areas in which would improve their efficiencies.

This means future planning around technology no longer only lies with the IT department, but with all users who are adopting such technologies.

Content+Cloud guided us through the whole process and went above and beyond to get the project over the line. The benefits of the project were significant. Steven Lonsdale, IT Manager, Ribby Hall Village

Outcomes

  • Collaboration is encouraged and facilitated
  • Technology that is easy to use for all employees
  • Greater security for their systems
  • Futureproofing where possible through cloud technologies
  • Successful adoption of the new tools means users benefit from the added value
  • Cost-effective technology and additional functionality where possible

Products and Services taken

  • Microsoft Azure to host workloads as IaaS
  • Landing Zone built in Microsoft Azure
  • SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Teams Voice
  • Anywhere365 (via Sipcom)
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