Blenheims is a specialist property management company, offering block and estate management services for residential buildings. The company supports landlords, developers, investors and residential management companies with a range of services enabling them to maintain and manage their property portfolios. As well as managing renovations and repairs, Blenheims provides an online portal allowing tenants to pay service charge and rent online, to ensure regular payments to landlords.
Headquartered in Devon, with offices in London, Bristol and Cornwall, the company has grown by acquisition as well as organically and manages a wide range of properties throughout southern England, the South West and South Wales.
The IT Challenge
As part of its expansion programme, Blenheims has acquired three companies in the last seven years, which created a challenge to integrate diverse IT platforms and different working practices across the various companies. There was a need to adopt a standard IT system with a consistent user interface across all the offices. As the workforce expanded, staff were based in different locations and the requirement to work from home became increasingly necessary. As well as being home-based, many of Blenheims’ 80+ staff move around the regional offices and often work at client sites, so the firm required a reliable IT system that could support flexible working practices and provide a robust, secure platform to maintain client data. The company needed to enable staff to access their desktop systems wherever they were.
Blenheims uses standard Microsoft Office applications as well as a property management and billing system. They wanted to make sure that updates were handled quickly and easily and seamlessly rolled out across all offices so that every employee is using the same version of the software.
The IT Solution
Working with Orca as their strategic technology partner, Blenheims decided to adopt a hosted desktop platform so that its staff can work remotely and still use a consistent technology platform. Blenheims have a longstanding relationship with Orca, having first started working with them in 2006.
“With hosted desktop, we can all use a standard interface wherever we may be working, and we can seamlessly access all our applications and client data. It’s a much more efficient way of working,” commented Mike Rutland, Blenheims’ Group Chairman.
Using hosted desktop since 2011, integration of new companies has been very straightforward, with staff from the acquired firms adapting very quickly to Blenheims’ processes.
The hosted desktop platform ensures that Blenheims has developed a standard property management process for all staff to use and that there is minimal duplication of effort, with collaboration across offices streamlined. As a growing company, new employees can easily be added to the system and the firm does not have to be concerned with buying new software licences as people join the company.
Data backups are carried out regularly and the firm now has an established disaster recovery plan so that in the event of a hardware failure or accidental deletion of data, important information can easily be restored. As Blenheims has to keep sensitive client data on file related to their property portfolios, which includes financial records such as bank accounts, using the hosted desktop enables them to keep this information safe and backed up in Orca’s secure data centre. The storage of client data off-site adds another level of security – and helps to comply with GDPR .
“The Orca team understands our business and works very well with our people across all our offices. They are very responsive to our needs and consistently give a very high standard of service, with excellent advice on how to support a growing business,” said Mike Rutland.”