Fews Marquees is a multi-award-winning marquee and event structure provider based in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Fews’ success has been built on consistently supplying marquees of exceptional quality, to prestigious clients such as Worcester Warriors, Birmingham University, Edinburgh International Festival, Aston Martin and the FA.
From unique layout to custom concepts including specialist linings, lighting, branding and multi-level flooring, Fews Marquees has the creativity and ability to make structures special and memorable.
In 2020 Spire Technology Group were asked to provide a tender to provide Managed IT services to Fews Marquees.
Whilst we were happy to provide the standard break-fix IT support solution, Spire’s ethos is to always work with the customer to make their IT infrastructure work for their business.
Upon our investigations, we found that as part of the remit would include upgrading the servers and the IT infrastructure and cabling needed to be modernised.
Dust – Working outside and having woodchip generators to help reduce their carbon footprint, generates significantly more dust than other businesses. This dust had the potential to be sucked into the climate controller server cabinet, causing issues.
Noise – During the summer months, there was a high possibility that the dust could get into vents and block them. This would cause the servers to become very noisy.
Wi-Fi – The Wi-Fi signal was adequate, but the connection to the internet dropped on a regular basis therefore the cabling needed updating.
Servers/Backups – Although the server and backups were working, we recognised the potential negative effect of dust and heat could have on the performance of the servers.
Following our audit of the expansive Worcestershire site’s IT infrastructure, we worked with Fews to find out how their challenges were affecting them and understand their technology plan for the business for the next 5 years.
Spire embarked on a phased, 12-month rollout plan which incorporated various departments of the business including Finance, Operations, Sales and Warehouse. We maintained regular contact with the Financial Director and Managing Director, outlining the benefits that could be achieved by implementing our recommended solutions. This was critical to ensure a smooth transition and allowed us to achieve the approved budget.
The Fews project was split into 5 phases:
Phase 1 – Servers/Backup
Our first task was to replace the physical servers with one Hyper-V host, including several virtual machines. We also provided a new backup solution based on the very popular Veeam Backup and Replication solutions. This involved backing up both on-premise and to the cloud to both ensure security and to provide a contingency. To find out more about hosted backups, read our Insights post about Backup as a Service, here.
Phase 2 – Data Cabling
We set out to replace all Cat5e data connections that terminated to a new location away from the risk of dust and the main office.
Phase 3 – Relocate Server/Networking Equipment
Upon completion of Phase 2, working over a weekend to reduce downtime, we moved the server and networking equipment to the new comms cab.
Phase 4 – Wi-Fi
We installed a Ubiquiti Wi-Fi solution which covered the whole Fews Marquees estate in Worcestershire. The modern Wi-Fi network now enables individuals to work anywhere across the site from the yard to the offices seamlessly, across multiple devices. Find out more about Ubiquiti WiFi solutions in our Insights post, available here.
Phase 5 – Phone System
Due to the reliability of the Wi-Fi solution, it allowed us to demonstrate our VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone system and using the 3CX platform and their mobile app, allowed the work force to have an extension number on their mobile phones that mean they were easily contactable no matter where they are across the estate or off-site. We’ve got loads of great information about 3CX on our site, start with this Insights post about integrating 3CX with Microsoft Teams, available here.
We asked Spire Technology Group to provide a tender to provide Fews Marquees with a modern technology plan which would serve us well over the next five years which included managed IT, cloud backup and high speed Wi-Fi. I found the team to be knowledgeable and professional at all times. I appreciated them taking the time and effort to go further into the issues we had been experiencing to get to the heart of the problems and find the solutions we required. Moving forwards, Spire’s IT support has proven to be very capable and professional for the Fews business. Queries are acknowledged and resolved quickly with a minimum of fuss. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Spire to any Worcestershire based organisation requiring support with any IT or Wi-Fi projects.
Head of Finance