The YMCA Fylde Coast (FCYMCA) is a diverse charity supporting the needs of the communities it operates in, across 4 key areas – Young People, Housing, Physical Activity, and Outdoor Activity. Whilst independent, it is fully aligned to and embraces the values of the worldwide YMCA movement and its focus on helping young people ‘belong, contribute and thrive’. Whilst its origins on the Fylde Coast date back to 1922 as a single site operation, the organisation as we know it today began its transformation in the late 1990s, and now sees it based in 18 predominantly North West locations, have 600 employees, £9m turnover, 17000 members, and via the breadth of services provided touches the lives of 10,000’s service users every year.
Throughout its journey of growth and expansion, YMCA Fylde Coast has been supported by String Systems. Initially, whilst the organisation was simply looking for a reliable local supplier for a handful of PC’s, they quickly saw a small but ambitious company with the ‘can do’ attitude and desire to go the extra mile, with whom they could work in a more holistic way. As FCYMCA’s IT needs and requirements developed, so did Strings own journey of growth and capability.
The IT environment went through multiple iterations between 2004 and the last previous significant upgrade in 2014 as the business grew both in user numbers and locations, with each instance delivering value. But come 2017/18, the key characteristics of the ‘older’ system design, based on each location having to have a local server, regardless of the size of the site, together with expensive MPLS connectivity to facilitate access to key centralised applications delivered via Terminal Services, were no longer appropriate for a growing, dynamic organisation, with an increasingly mobile and often home-based workforce. What was needed was a system that delivered flexibility to accommodate an ‘anytime, anywhere, on any device’ secure access policy, lower cost of ownership, improved management, reduced cost of expansion and enhanced user experience, without the need for wholesale replacement of end user devices.
The senior team at String met with their counterparts at YMCA Fylde Coast and their key application partners to define their Cloud Journey Solution, which would meet all the key criteria around scalability, flexibility and cost control. The solution primarily comprised elements of our Productivity & Engagement and Platforms & Places portfolio, comprised a number of key components:
This was a major project impacting on 100’s of end users with a number of significant interdependencies. Key to its success was the detailed project planning and oversight which supported the phased execution. The project execution comprised
"We have worked with String for a number of years and have never failed to be impressed by their honest, pragmatic, professional and importantly for us, their values based dealings with us. This recent project was the most significant of all they have undertaken for us, requiring detailed planning, working with multiple external partners with a potentially disruptive impact during go live which we were keen to avoid. Whilst we encountered some challenges along the way particularly around the deployment of the fibre connectivity into all locations where it was needed, the solution design meant the delays did not impact on end users ability to do their job which was vital. We now have a modern, flexible and scaleable IT platform to support us not only for today but to take us forward as we continue to grow and seek to deliver a growing range of services to a growing number of communities. String have played an integral part in our journey and I would heartily recommend them to other growing organisations"
John Cronin, CEO, YMCA Fylde Coast