Case study title

Providing a Wide Area Network infrastructure across thirteen sites for StepChange Debt Charity

Client Name

StepChange Debt Charity

The Overview

StepChange debt charity have 20 years worth of experience providing debt advice, helping people to deal with their debt problems in a number of ways including debt management plans and various insolvency options.

The charity help over 1,000 people a day with their debt problems, so it came as no surprise that their system was beginning to struggle to meet the challenging workload. Over 8.8 million people are over-indebted, but only 17% are getting any help so StepChange are under a lot of pressure to help those in need.

To meet this demand, they needed to make it as quick and easy as possible for their customers to contact them and eliminate any threat of downtime. Following a consultation with GCI, their business is on the way to becoming more visible and more vocal. They now have a resilient network so employees can react to spikes in contact without delay and as a result are able to help more of their customers to get their financials back on track as soon as possible.

The Challenge

Being a charity, cost is key and expenditures are not agreed to lightly. However, as their advice affects people’s lives it was crucial that there was always access to business critical data.

StepChange needed a solution that allowed their data to stay secure and they needed to be able to access it 24x7. As customers can contact them via their website and their critical services use the internet it also needed to be resilient, ensuring maximum security and stability for the business. In addition to this, in order to deal with 1,000+ customers a day, bandwidth needed to increase and work efficiently as staff dispersed over different sites had insufficient connectivity.

The Solution

GCI worked with StepChange to identify the specific problems they faced and helped to find the best solution for their requirements.

They needed the ability to scale to increasing demand with a reliable solution offering the resilience they required. As a result, the charity were provided with an all new Wide Area Network infrastructure across thirteen sites. Delivering the improvements they needed, the system now works faster, downtime has been minimised, and StepChange can deliver an all-round excellent customer service to help their customers solve their debt issues. These new and improved WAN services offered a cost reduction and the resiliency has allowed StepChange to implement SIP so they can easily scale up their call centres in busy periods with full network support.

GCI has recently upgraded StepChange’s core sites too by providing 100Mb bearers. This establishes a simple, easy upgrade path for any future bandwidth requirements, meaning no client will be left unheard. Since implementation, GCI has also provided EFM backups to the Fibre primary circuits to provide a useable back-up in the event of a failure of the primary circuit. Additional resilience helps to ensure that in the unlikely event of a failure of the primary circuit, the site will still be available to support their customers.

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