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Tuesday, 23 June 2015 10:46

Lights, Camera, Books, Magazines, Human Rights & IT Action

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Plan-Net's 10 year journey with award-winning publishing group, Granta.

Since its first magazine was published in 1889 by Cambridge University students, Granta Magazine has gone on to feature many of the world’s finest writers including Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes and Martin Amis, evolving over the years into a leading voice in the world of new writing. Its sister company Granta Books publishes both literary and upmarket non-fiction titles. In 2013 Granta Books won the Booker Prize and the Bailey’s Prize in the same year which is rare for an independent publisher and hugely significant in the book trade.

Mark Williams, IT Manager for the Granta group has been with the business since the start of his career but his first encounter with Plan-Net was in 2005 when a well-known philanthropist acquired the publishing company.

With the new ownership, there were now additional companies to support including Portobello Books, Portobello Pictures and a Human Rights Charitable Trust. With the user-base more than doubled and higher expectations from the new owners over IT capability and availability, Plan-Net was introduced to provide extra assistance to Mark, following a recommendation from the new owners who had used Plan-Net’s services previously.

Over the last 10 years, Mark has called on Plan-Net when he has needed extra support and expertise. Some of the projects Plan-Net has managed and implemented include offices moves, installing a full virtualisation platform, implementing email services, migrating core services and complete infrastructure refreshes and upgrades. More recently, Plan-Net managed the upgrade of the entire Windows Server 2003 estate to Windows Server 2012.

Mark comments about this upgrade “This particular project covered a variety of different aspects and had to take into account the different technologies and application dependencies that publishers use. However, I feel with Plan-Net, before we do anything there is a careful planned approach to projects. The team will take me through a comprehensive project document before we start and we all know what we’re doing. Of course there are inevitable unexpected issues that arise, but as far as is possible I feel in safe hands with Plan-Net.”

In addition, Plan-Net provides absence cover for Mark and emergency technical support. Mark explains “Granta can’t justify investment in a second full-time IT member of staff, but Plan-Net is the next best thing. The absence cover model is perfect for what we need and works fantastically well.”

Plan-Net also conducts and documents an annual health-check on Granta’s IT infrastructure with Mark, who believes the process is a mutually beneficial exercise. “For me, it’s an opportunity to get an independent, expert view that I’m doing everything right and allows us to jointly spot any issues or opportunities. Through this process too, Plan-Net can also stay familiar with our environment so the team can continue to provide us with ‘seamless’ cover when I’m on leave.”

Naturally, users’ demands have changed over the years at Granta. Staff are using more devices and software and expect access and availability from anywhere at anytime. Plan-Net has worked alongside Mark for the last decade, helping him support the group effectively as their needs have changed, and the relationship has been very successful. Mark comments.

“I don’t really see the team at Plan-Net as suppliers but more as colleagues. I value their expert second opinion and their collaborative way of working provides me with an opportunity to up-skill myself. All in all, I feel quite lucky to have such a good working relationship with Plan-Net.”


Read 1692 times Last modified on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 11:17

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