Picture the scene: many long months of planning; top celebrities booked; key fundraising challenges organised; thousands of volunteers all ready for action; millions of pounds to be raised for charity; the world’s media poised to watch your every move… the last thing that you want is any disruption caused by an unforeseen emergency or disaster. For Comic Relief, it’s no laughing matter – and something that the organisation takes seriously in terms of ensuring it has adequate business continuity provision and disaster recovery planning in place for operational IT purposes.
Which is why, for the last eight years, Comic Relief has been supported by ADAM Continuity, the leading UK provider of business continuity, data resilience and disaster recovery services. For Comic Relief, ADAM’s knowledge and expertise goes without question – it is the company’s understanding, empathy and the lack of hard-sell which impresses this long-term client.
So far, this year’s Red Nose Day has raised over £78m for Comic Relief. Millions of pounds worth of donations were channelled through the charity’s website during the live TV programme, via 12,000 call-centre staff working from donor companies’ premises throughout the UK. The organisation’s telelogistics team which was based temporarily in London’s BT Tower on the night of Red Nose Day, were responsible for managing and co-ordinating the overall call centre activity and results, liaising with their colleagues at BT and BBC TV Centre.
Every year, to play its part in the overall success of the campaign, as a donation in kind, ADAM Continuity supplies and installs all the necessary IT kit required in BT Tower for the telelogistics team. The company initially provides Comic Relief with a suitable desktop PC, which is then configured accordingly for the night. This is shipped back to ADAM who utilise it as the base image for the PCs which are subsequently supplied and installed at the Tower on the night, along with other relevant equipment. In addition, ADAM Continuity’s technical experts are on hand in BT Tower to assist Comic Relief staff with the installation and configuration of all equipment, prior to the live Red Nose Day TV show being broadcast. Though high-profile, this is just a small part of ADAM’s work for Comic Relief, as the main focus of activity surrounds the supply of agreed annual operational disaster recovery provision and business continuity advice, working in conjunction with John Thompson, Comic Relief’s Head of IT.
Relying so heavily on IT for its day-to-day operations, Comic Relief needs to have an unshakeable faith in its backup and contingency plans, in the event that a genuine emergency occurs or a disaster strikes the organisation, particularly at a critical time during a campaign – this is where ADAM steps in.
To test the systems, ADAM Continuity holds regular disaster recovery rehearsals with Comic Relief. Specific rehearsals have therefore been carried out in the past, designed to ensure that various business critical IT systems could be successfully recovered in the event of the organisation experiencing a disruption.
The subsequent learning gained from these extremely useful exercises has been used to revise the existing disaster recovery plans where necessary, whilst focussing the organisation’s attention more closely on its wider business continuity requirements.
"Comic Relief is a complex and demanding organisation, so we like to deal with suppliers that can get to know us well and fully understand our various needs..."
–– Head of IT at Comic Relief.
“IT is central to the whole of Comic Relief’s internal operations,” says Thompson.
“During the run up to Red Nose Day and throughout the campaign itself, staff are working under a lot of pressure and fully functioning IT is pivotal in helping them to perform their duties successfully.”
“Everyone at ADAM Continuity is easy to get on with, they just have a total understanding of business continuity inside out. I use them to come and talk to us about various aspects of business continuity, what it actually means to us and what we as an organisation need to think about if we had a disaster. It has consequently proved to be a very thought provoking process,”
“Given their experience in this field, ADAM will always highlight a number of issues during the course of a rehearsal where they can offer us impartial advice or suggestions for potential improvements. They can do this because they have gained a sound understanding of our technical environment and specific recovery requirements. A rehearsal also gives us the opportunity to look at things from our own perspective to see what we might do better in future,”
“ADAM Continuity is very accommodating and has proved to be an excellent sounding-board. Best of all, you can trust them to provide you with expert advice specifically tailored to your own organisation’s business continuity requirements, rather than them simply selling you something that you either don’t need or want. Hand in hand with that goes great value for money. ADAM has always provided excellent service at a very good price."
ADAM Continuity has worked closely with Comic Relief over the years as the organisation has grown and its needs have changed, to help continually develop a strategic disaster recovery plan as part of the business continuity process, and to instil awareness within the organisation of the importance of such plans to every department.
- Business Director at Comic Relief
“Comic Relief is a complex and demanding organisation, so we like to deal with suppliers that can get to know us well and fully understand our various needs. It is also important for us to develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships with trusted partners, and ones that can prove mutually beneficial. ADAM Continuity is certainly one of these companies.”
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