Newcastle Strategic Solutions Ltd (NSSL) is a wholly owned fintech subsidiary of Newcastle Building Society. NSSL provides ‘white-label’ ICT services, systems development and ongoing operational support to the Society and more than 15 significant national and international external banking clients with £20+ billion of assets under management.
Specialising in various web-based and mobile applications, along with robust back-office platforms, NSSL creates better ways of doing business for members, clients and customers, without compromising on the professional standards, resilience and assurance expected in the financial services sector.
Here, Steven Forrest, CEO of Forfusion, describes how they helped NSSL establish a future-proof hyperconverged and hybrid cloud platform that would catalyse their digital transformation during challenging times.
“NSSL was operating a complex environment of bespoke applications on behalf of Newcastle Building Society,” Steven explains.
“This included multi-vendor security policies and a laptop and PC estate approaching obsolescence.”
“The Building Society users were experiencing productivity and innovation constraints, along with limited capability for remote working,” says Steven.
“Slow user logons, the imminent withdrawal of Microsoft support for Windows 7 and a disparate environment of on-premise applications, were all adding to the inflexibility, inefficiency, and cumbersome nature of the environment.
“Essentially, the entire estate was difficult to administer and did not align with NSSL’s strategy to make communications seamless and secure.”
NSSL developed a sound commercial and financial justification for a fully integrated, multi-vendor, intelligent workspace solution that would meet budgetary requirements and provide a future-proof platform for digital transformation.
Steven explains: “In the first instance NSSL needed a partner to recommend a geographically dispersed hyperconverged infrastructure, and a hybrid cloud workspace vendor.
“They wanted to begin with a detailed market assessment followed by a Proof of Concept (PoC) that could migrate to full production capability and scale beyond 2000 users, spanning tens of geographical locations.”
The solution needed to meet the ever-changing needs of the workforce, where security, reliability and seamless collaboration between department teams and customers were paramount.
The end goal was to provide a fully integrated hybrid, on-premises and public cloud platform, which would be used as an enabler for remote workers, as well as improve operational efficiencies and reduce cost over time.
The COVID effect
When the pandemic hit mid project rollout, NSSL had to accelerate its digital transformation strategy to enable its staff to work from home.
Commenting on the approach, Geoff Hogg, NSSL’s Information Services Director, says: “We worked in unison with Forfusion to make the architectural changes necessary to deploy users remotely.
“A rollout originally planned to take several months was accelerated to meet demand, and the entire organisation, including a busy contact centre, moved to home working within days.”
Reliability, flexibility and ease of administration were tested under the most unpredictable and unrelenting of circumstances, allowing NSSL to leverage numerous disaster recovery scenarios to the fullest, serving its employees and customers, and meeting strict regulatory compliance.