The Unthinkable Happens

Back in January, a serious fire broke out at the TDS headquarters in Hemel Hempstead. The site housed 89 members of staff including management, finance, technology and customer service teams.

All employees within the office were evacuated safely, but the fire quickly consumed the building. The headquarters held servers not just for TDS but for TDS Northern Ireland and SafeDeposits Scotland too.

TDS’ business continuity plan was implemented as soon as the fire broke out, with a series of pre-planned actions carried out.

The designated Disaster Recovery Team, consisting of executive, leadership and technology staff, immediately began to review the situation in-line with the plan, and soon liaised with ADAM Continuity - part of the Centerprise International group of companies.

With computer equipment destroyed, company phone lines and emails temporarily suspended, communications were carried out between members of the Crisis Teams through private, secure messaging groups.

Steve Harriott, Chief Executive at TDS explains: “For the first day or so, our people worked remotely from home. This was only ever designed to be an immediate term measure while we met with the team at ADAM Continuity to rubber stamp moving our workplace to their workplace recovery centre in Hemel Hempstead.”

Within a matter of hours, staff began moving into ADAM’s facility, with Centerprise’s technical engineers working in collaboration with the Crisis Management team to prepare their workspace. This encompassed providing a robust server infrastructure, high-speed internet connectivity, VOIP routing and the end-user devices that employees needed to be productive.

Implement The Plan

Steve comments: “I would say to anyone creating a business continuity plan for their organisation, to adequately provision for the technical side. It’s crucial to make sure that your workspace is geared up to cope with your employee needs and wider business processes.”

Reflecting On Disaster

Ultimately for Steve, while he hopes TDS are never put in this situation again, he takes pride in the response of his team:

“The business continuity plan worked as had been envisaged - arguably even better. Ultimately, those who benefitted from this plan the most were our customers – they
noticed little to no disruption in the quality or responsiveness of the service.

“By midday after the fire, TDS’ own call answering time KPI had been met and bettered, at just 27 seconds, despite a company KPI of 30 seconds and a government KPI of
60 seconds. 

“Within 24 hours of the fire, TDS had returned to a higher level of customer service delivery than its competitors.

“Within two days of the fire, a decision had been taken to move staff into the ADAM continuity workspace recovery centre and all staff could move into their new place of work after five days.”

Later on in the year, the quality of TDS’ response in the face of adversity was externally validated when the company picked up an award for the ‘Most Effective Recovery of the Year’ at the 2019 Business Continuity awards.

“What ADAM could offer as part of the wider Centerprise group of companies was clearly head and shoulders above the competition. They offered us dependable expertise, the right resources and the ability to mobilise it quickly and at scale."
– Steve Harriott, Chief Executive at TDS


From Adversity Comes Strength

With urgent scrutiny on every area of the business, TDS did not rest on their laurels. Rather than set about trying to just recreate existing business processes, they optimised them. 

Steve expands: “We experienced a type of ‘bunker spirit’ that was quite unexpected, but very welcome. It sparked a new level of innovation and business improvement - calling forward our future roadmap for organisational improvement.”

Centerprise worked with TDS’ senior team to undertake a workspace design programme as part of sourcing new, more permanent offices - encompassing an open-plan arrangement and a more flexible hotdesking configuration.

This was complemented with an IT needs analysis and support in providing procurement advice and roadmap guidance as part of a wider technology improvement plan.

When the time came to move into their new permanent home, 7 months after the devastating fire, Centerprise were on hand to make sure it was kitted out with the right blend of connectivity, computers, and communications technology.

Experiencing a devastating fire and then moving offices twice in 7 months didn’t cause a downturn in demand. Far from it. The “bunker spirit” and colleagues commitment to excellence helped to facilitate growth - with a 73% increase in their Custodial Tenancy Deposit Scheme product within the year. During this time, the drive for improved processes resulted in the launch of a unique, online, Deposit Cap Solution that provides an ‘Edit deposit amount’ function where a lettings agent or landlord can decrease the deposit amount in-line with new legislation introduced in June 2019 and individual requirements.

Why ADAM Continuity?

For Steve, the reason for organisations to speak to ADAM as part of their business continuity planning is clear:

“When we looked for partners in Work Area Recovery, we explored a number of other options alongside ADAM.

“What ADAM could offer as part of the wider Centerprise group of companies was clearly head and shoulders above the competition.

“They offered us dependable expertise, the right resources and the ability to mobilise it quickly and at scale.

“Other companies may proclaim to have this, but we’ve stress-tested it in a unique way. The 4-hour SLA (Service Level Agreement) for Workplace Area Recovery does what it says on the tin. ADAM respond quickly in a crisis and were a crucial part of getting our employees and processes back online quickly and efficiently to protect our customer service levels.

“ADAM engineers come in at an agreed frequency to make sure our user groupings are up to date. We know that if lightning were to strike twice in the most unfortunate way, we can deal with it confidently with ADAM and Centerprise by our side.”

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