Rural Arts

Rural Arts is a charity which provides creative opportunities to some of the most rural areas and locations in North Yorkshire and the Tees Valley. The charity established in 1992 has continued to grow and now has a strong network of venues and community volunteers.

Rural Arts, as a very small charity with no IT support where referred to CITA by The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists. Initially they requested an IT Consultancy to support them in reviewing their provision of telephone lines and associated services, which had become costly, cumbersome and ineffective.

Through the IT Consultancy carried out by their volunteer Nicholas a full audit of all Rural Arts existing EPOS, broadband and telephony systems was carried out and a report created and forwarded to the charity recommending simple changes that could save the charity money and improve efficiency.

As a result of this successful engagement, Rural Arts went on to request further help from CITA through CITAs IT Project Delivery Service which they used to help them transition to Office 365 cloud hosted files and email. Another fabulous volunteer Warren was recruited and carried out the following:

      • O365 tenant setup
      • Email migrated to O365
      • SharePoint site setup and file data migrated to SharePoint document library

What difference did CITA’s IT Project Delivery service make? What were the positive outcomes from your IT Project delivery with CITA?

Rural Arts had used an office-based server for over a decade. There was no provision to access this off-site, meaning that data was stored in multiple versions across employees’ computers and email accounts, causing disruption and confusion and causing potential data issues. Transferring everything to Office 365 means it’s much more secure and can be accessed anywhere, anytime. This has made significant savings in staff efficiency.

We also migrated our emails to Office 365. Previously, they used a POP3 function from an old email server and many staff had issues accessing emails remotely. Again, this improved our productivity.

Can you provide a quote on the longer term benefit delivered by this project? In particular have there been any cost savings and/or improved ability to deliver your aims. 

Our server desperately needed replacing. Rather than having a large capital outlay to replace this, we are now paying a low, charity rate monthly to Microsoft, covering our server as well as emails. We were also able to identify a number of redundant services that we were paying for through our old email provider.

What were you expecting from the project and how well did it meet your needs?

The project went completely as I expected. This didn’t mean we didn’t come across bumps in the road – having undertaken a similar project at an old employer I was aware these things were always more complicated than you might imagine as a non-tech person – but we are extremely happy with the result and are very grateful to our volunteer, Warren. We couldn’t have done it without him, and had had the work estimated at in the thousands – resulting in a huge saving for our charity.