Jan Forster
Isabelle Bambridge

Aspire secures £120k contract with estate agents

North East managed services provider Aspire Technology Solutions is celebrating a significant contract win valued at around £120k, with one of the region’s leading estate agents.

Gateshead-based Aspire has been working in partnership with Jan Forster Estates to provide a fully managed solution including an MPLS network serving six sites across Whitley Bay, Tynemouth, Gosforth, High Heaton and Low Fell. Aspire has also been contracted to host Jan Forster’s core services in its data centre and to provide a full IT support service.

The concept of Jan Forster Estates was first realised in 2003 with the first branch opening in Gosforth in 2004 and the company has grown rapidly since that time. A member of the Ombudsman for Estate Agents, Jan Forster Estates is firmly established as one of the leading independent Estate Agents in the North East, offering clients a personal and professional approach to buying, selling, letting and renting property.

Of the partnership, Justin Godfrey, Sales Executive for Aspire said: “Jan Forster Estates is one of the fastest growing estate agencies in the North of England but they were operating with an ageing system and therefore wanted to update their ICT infrastructure, improve connectivity between all sites and consolidate services with a view to reducing costs and embracing technology best practice.

“We therefore spent a period of time working closely with their team to design and deliver the best possible solution for the business. To facilitate the growth, we designed and implemented a private MPLS network terminating at our Sunderland Doxford Park data centre where we also host their core services. This has increased the productivity of all Jan Forster sites and eradicated the bottlenecks that the previous ADSL connections were causing.

“Meanwhile, Jan Forster’s presence in our data centre has given the business a disaster recovery solution by ensuring that the company is fully protected at all times and critical data can be restored quickly should the need arise.

“Aside from this, when we first started working with Jan Forster, they were having some issues with the Vebra estate agency software they were running and although not an area in which we specialise, we successfully resolved these issues and as a result, Vebra themselves have since become a customer of Aspire’s.”

Steve Henning, Operations Manager for Jan Forster Estates added: “We will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year, during which time the business has experienced phenomenal growth and change and it had become apparent that a major overhaul of our IT systems was necessary to enable us to continue to offer the most efficient service to our expanding client base.

“Aspire listened to our brief, working closely with us to provide a solution that would suit changing business needs and the longer term growth of the business. The team at Aspire supported us during the transition to ensure minimum disruption whilst the new systems were implemented across our branch network and they continue to provide ongoing IT support. This major investment in our IT systems offers significant benefits to our customers in terms of quicker and clearer communications and has enabled us to maximise productivity whilst reducing our running costs.”

Angela Forster, Accounts Manager for Jan Forster Estates added: “As a result of our expansion over the last 18 months and our future growth plans, it was vital that any investment in new technology systems was sound and viable.

“This investment not only improves the technology of Jan Forster Estates Ltd it will also significantly improve the performance of employees by allowing them to operate a more user friendly system. We are still in the early stages of the data migration however the help and support offered by Aspire has been invaluable both to us as a business and individual users with day to day problems.”

Headquartered in Gateshead and with a second site in Central London, Aspire is an award-winning managed services company specialising in hosted services, data centre solutions, communications and traditional IT outsourcing. Established in 2006, Aspire has grown steadily year on year to become a £4.2m business with a 40-strong workforce.

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