Affordable housing for South East Wales.

melin homes logoWho are they?

Where are they?
South East Wales.

What do they do?
A registered social landlord.

How big are they?
Responsible for 3,000-plus homes.

What did they receive?
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition with 50 Remote Desktop User CALs and Server User CALs; 50 Office Professional Plus 2010.

The outcome?
Remote desktops available for staff, transforming working methods and saving time for the IT team.
Melin Homes operates in and around South East Wales. A major provider of affordable homes in the region, with over 3,000 properties on its books, the organisation offers low-cost home-ownership schemes and specialist homes for older people, as well as rental accommodation.

Clearly, this involves a large back-office operation. The IT team at Melin Homes supports around 170 users, a mix of core staff and others who are involved with associated schemes that use the organisation’s infrastructure.

As Systems Officer, Lamia Al-Sheikh has been heavily involved in a recent key IT upgrade – the migration of a substantial number of users to Citrix virtual desktops.

“These make it very easy for users to hotdesk, and to work from home,” she explains. “They just have to log in, and everything is there for them.”

For those unfamiliar with Citrix, one of its top features is a very simple and straightforward experience for the end user. But as Lamia explains, this is reflected behind the scenes.

“Citrix makes things very easy for IT people,” she explains. “It’s so simple to set up users, and very easy if they swap desks. Previously, we’d have to set each user up on every single application – it was a major job. So this has saved us a lot – it’s a direct cost saving in terms of time centrally, and that allows us to focus on other things.”

For the implementation, Melin Homes acquired new Microsoft server software as a donation from CTX.

“We were using 2003 Server, but the upgrade to 2008 has made a big difference – it’s more reliable, more secure and faster,” says Lamia.

Having been formed from a merger of two other organisations, it took Melin Homes a short while to be accepted onto the CTX scheme as an entity in its own right. But the benefits appear to have been worth the wait.

“We were getting discounts as a non-profit organisation previously,” says Lamia. “But when we looked at the CTX prices we were really surprised. It was a huge saving for us; the difference amounted to thousands of pounds.”

Melin Homes aims to acquire more copies of MS Office Professional 2010 when eligible, in order to roll this version out across the organisation.

“We are very satisfied with the CTX service,” concludes Lamia. “We will recommend it when we meet other registered social landlords who might benefit. It’s provided such a big saving for us.”




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