Air IT (formerly Microtrading) was appointed by England Hockey to provide a managed IT service, migrate its IT infrastructure to the cloud, and upgrade to Microsoft Office 365.

England Hockey

England Hockey wanted to review its managed support contract via competitive tender, and identify a supplier that could help it take advantage of the benefits offered by modern cloud services. The sporting body had become concerned that its current, site-based, infrastructure was overly complex, leading to unnecessarily high running costs and management time in maintaining it.

England Hockey is the National Governing Body for the sport of Hockey in England.  It is responsible for the management and development of the sport from grassroots to elite activities. England Hockey has a membership comprising clubs (800+), counties (45) and regions (6 including the Combined Services) which affiliate to it. Around 140,000 individuals play regularly in the club system with an estimated 15,000 playing at university/college. Over 15,000 coaches, umpires and officials are supported and developed by the NGB, which employs 84 staff.

Air IT, a longstanding partner of the Sport and Recreation Alliance, specialises in providing IT support and services to sporting organisations and National Governing Bodies across the country, regularly assisting organisations like England Hockey with migrating systems to the cloud and Office 365.

England Hockey has seen a noticeable improvement in the reliability, and flexibility of its IT infrastructure. The move to Microsoft Office 365 has been welcomed by its users, who are now actively exploiting the opportunities it provides for more efficient teamworking between both staff, and the wider ‘Hockey Family’. Office 365 was only the starting point, and England Hockey continues to work closely with Air IT in the migration of its systems to the cloud, and the continuous improvement of its remaining on-site infrastructure.

Graham Royle, IT & Business Systems Manager for England Hockey, said: “Air IT has made things a lot easier for us. We have circa 90 users on our network, but an extended family of 1000s of people – including coaches, umpires, players, and volunteers – and that brings with it a number of requirements.

“Moving to cloud-based email, for example, was a high priority for us. It has allowed us to cut out downtime on email servers – which has been costly to us in the past – and made it easier to quickly create and roll-out mailboxes for projects and major events like the hosting of the Women’s World Cup in London this summer.

“The automatic security and maintenance updates provided by our cloud-based solutions, along with Air IT’s proactive monitoring and automatic updates on our remaining on-site infrastructure, has freed up considerable management time to focus on evolving our IT strategy to meet the future needs of the sport, and its stakeholders, as it continues to grow.”

Andrew Penlington, a director at Air IT, said: “We’re focused on making our clients’ IT experience the best possible. When we assessed England Hockey’s existing IT, it was apparent to us that requirements weren’t being met and its work was being inhibited.

“We saw that with the transition to Office 365, migration to the cloud, and a few fundamental adjustments to the style of IT support they received, England Hockey could function much better.

“We’ve refined a range of IT services and developed an approach over many years to meet the specific needs of sporting organisations and national governing bodies.”