Androcles Consultants is a dynamic and innovative London based MAC consulting firm operated by a Andrew Daws providing customers with outstanding MAC IT program management, technical support, logistical, and executive level support, while maximizing innovation and cost reduction for individuals and business.

 

The Artangel Trust: from 2 poor maintenance contracts to a functioning network

The Artangel Trust

is a charity which promotes leading edge art projects. Frequently appearing on Radio 4’s Front Row, they have helped to realise TV documentaries, art installations and publications.

They have two companies loosely linked, with around 15 machines between the two.

Before they contacted me, they had a mix of Macs and PCs, and support contracts with two separate companies (one for each platform). They were considering replacing all their PCs with Macs, except for the two accounts staff who must have PCs because of QuickBooks. So those staff would have two machines each. They also had a custom Access database, which was not accessible to the press officer as she uses a Mac.

The first task was to get the machines up to scratch as they had all been operating on the basis that work was done only when the user noticed something was wrong. So most PCs were on Windows 98, and all were running very slowly. Indeed they were a perfect example of the shortcomings of a fixed price contract. The machines were all running, up to a point, which was the brief for the contractors. But they were running very inefficiently, and a lot of staff time was wasted as a result.

They then asked for a new Windows Small Business Server so that all PCs and Macs could share files properly, use Exchange, get remote email access on home machines, phones etc. Then came a terminal server (using the old server hardware) to give them remote file access.

Then the largest task was to replace the ageing Access database with a new custom database using FileMaker, for whom I am a registered developer. This was partly to allow access to users on both platforms to have access, and partly to take advantage of the facility to send mass emails direct from the database. We purchased an existing solution called Contacts!, from Cruse Control, and they carried out a certain amount of customisation. But the most effective customisation happens when the developer is intimately acquainted with the workings of the company as I was, handling all the other IT requirements of the organisation. So I extended it considerably.

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