CALA Homes

CALA Homes, the Edinburgh based premium house building group, has for the second time received the top customer satisfaction ratings achievable in a survey of major UK House builders. CALA have made customer service a philosophy that drives their business, which has helped the company to win five out of a possible five stars in the key categories of ‘quality of home’ and ‘customers prepared to recommend the company’s home to a friend’.

However, without a sound and reliable IT infrastructure, continuing to achieve the levels of customer service CALA have, would prove difficult if not impossible. To support the business, CALA use an ERP application running on IBM i Power Systems. The ERP package is designed for the construction industry and manages key information such as finance and accounting, payroll, purchasing, sub-contract management and job costing. At CALA the business runs around the clock, and downtime just isn’t an option. “Sales go over the weekend, customers log in and register on the website 24 x 7,” says Billy Docherty, IT Systems Manager at CALA. The website is integrated with updated sales information from the ERP system so that has to be available. Docherty comments, “Our business relies on ensuring timely delivery of accurate information to internal and external customers.”

CALA recognized the importance of business continuity and implemented the latest technology for telesystems, redundant power, and capacity provisioning, including disaster recovery for the ERP application. At the time CALA were looking for a true High Availability (HA) solution, choices were limited. CALA decided on a solution that wasn’t quite HA, but was certainly better than backup and recovery and continued to monitor the market for new technologies and solutions.

IT is recognized as one the key elements to achieving customer satisfaction. So CALA are always looking to improve and invest. “We consulted with our IBM Business Partner, Silverlake, and decided to move to the Maxava HA SMB software for our IBM i DR solution. “Maxava HA uses the journaling technology of the IBM i operating system. It’s the instantaneous availability that we like,” comments Docherty. “Our goal has been to target a recovery point of almost zero data loss; with Maxava HA the potential for data loss is greatly minimized.”

CALA implemented Maxava HA on the production 520 machine and on the DR 520 machine at a remote office location. According to Docherty, “We are well aware of the consequences of not having an HA/DR solution and we constantly focus on how we can improve disaster readiness. In addition, meeting SLA’s is important. We have awareness and are responsible for CALA offices with no local IT presence and it is critical to provide effective support for these locations”.

With Maxava HA in place, CALA now has a DR solution which ensures the ERP data is instantly replicated and constantly available, requiring very little effort to maintain. “We spend about 10-15 minutes a day confirming that the data is accurate and weekly we run additional tests,” says Docherty.

“Our partner Silverlake has provided outstanding service and support. After bringing the product to our attention when we requested advice they have endeavored to implement the system to our exact needs,” says Docherty.”CALA would have no hesitation in recommending them to other companies.”

CALA continues its heritage of creating exceptional homes and vibrant, sustainable communities by focusing on developing quality products and internal processes that support and grow the business. “We now have the confidence that offsite disaster recovery capabilities are always ready and available for our ERP system,” says Docherty. “With Maxava HA this is peace of mind, knowing that our HA/DR software is working effectively. This frees us to focus on delivering what CALA is known for, exceptional homes and high levels of customer satisfaction for new homebuyers.”

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