Universal Instrument Services modernises its IT infrastructure with strategic consultancy from Orca

The Client

Universal Instrument Services provides specialist services to a wide variety of businesses where measurement and precision are mission critical. The company’s clients can range from utility companies, aerospace firms and pharmaceutical businesses right through to sole trader electrical contractors. Established over 50 years ago, the company operates one of the most technically advanced, independent calibration laboratories in the UK.


Universal’s engineers work both in the firm’s laboratory and also at clients’ sites, depending on the size and portability of the instruments needed to be calibrated. The administrative staff in the company’s headquarters in Leicester use a bespoke system to manage the calibration systems and also use standard Microsoft Office applications.

The IT Challenge

It is vitally important for Universal to have a reliable, secure IT system and in order to focus on delivering the highest quality, precision services to its clients, Universal decided to outsource its IT support services around two years ago.

Universal had been working with Haines Watts Chartered Accountants, which supported the firm’s management buy-out in 2010. The relationship with Haines Watts has continued over the years, with the accountancy firm providing a range of financial advisory and business services to Universal, including book-keeping and audit. Universal’s Managing Director, Hazel Horn, decided to continue this outsource model when it came to reviewing the IT services in 2017.

“Essential for our business to manage and minimise risk, so it was a logical extension to work with Orca on the IT side of the business to support our migration to more modern technology”, said Hazel Horn.” We have developed a close working relationship with Orca, and have trust and confidence in their IT services. They make sure that our IT systems are secure and reliable, so that we can focus on the accuracy of our services to our clients. We are now in a position where we are planning to move to the cloud in collaboration with Orca.”

The IT Solution

The first stage in Universal’s migration to modern, robust and resilient technologies has been to install a new server. The company had been using PCs running Windows 7, which is nearing its end of life, with Microsoft planning to withdraw support from January 2020. As part of the IT upgrade, Universal made the decision to invest in new PCs running Windows 10 and Servers running the latest Microsoft Server operating systems. This gives the firm a sound platform from which to continue to build.

Business continuity is essential for Universal Instrument Services and Orca provides the support to ensure that the IT system remains up and running. The ability to detect IT issues before they have an impact on the business is part of this vital service. For example, Orca’s cyber security experts identified a virus that threatened to disable the company’s computers and dealt with it immediately before it could affect the wider system. According to Hazel Horn, this is just one example of Orca’s responsiveness and the level of service they provide.

“Working with Orca not only supports our day-to-day IT requirements, but is giving us the strategic consultancy to plan for our future.”

Hazel Horn, Managing Director