We needed Daisy to be more than a supplier. We needed a flexible partner, one that would hold us to account and support us as we developed. The vision is that by 2020, resilience at HomeServe will be embedded and seamless. Daisy is and will continue to be key part of this journey.
David Owen, Head of Business Systems and Risk, HomeServe.
HomeServe provides emergency insurance cover to two million UK customers, helping them fix, maintain and look after their homes while offering peace of mind should the worst happen. Products cover everything from plumbing and drainage to boiler repairs, electrics and more.
HomeServe places customers at the heart of everything they do. In addition to a network of response-ready engineers around the country, the company employs a sophisticated contact centre operation so that customers can contact them easily if an emergency arises. Ensuring continuity of service in the event of a disaster is therefore a core priority, especially during winter when customer needs increase by 70%. As an FCA-regulated business, HomeServe must also be able to demonstrate effective business continuity measures.
Daisy has provided HomeServe’s contact centres with work area recovery (WAR) since 2006. Since 2011, however, as HomeServe’s business underwent substantial changes, the relationship has taken on a radical new dimension.
In recent years, HomeServe has expanded both its global reach and product range. In 2011, the company decided that its business continuity and IT disaster recovery (ITDR) capability needed a root-and-branch upgrade in order to maintain its commitment to customers.
With a lean ITDR resource and a vacancy at the head of its business continuity function, HomeServe saw the need for a flexible, expert partner to support them in improving these vital functions as the business continued to grow. As a long-term supplier, Daisy was an obvious potential candidate.
Daisy was tasked with establishing formal, fit-for-purpose business continuity and ITDR programmes for HomeServe – programmes that could adapt fluidly to changing requirements while enabling constant improvement and development. They also had to be fully embedded in HomeServe’s culture and DNA. In addition, the programme needed a strong focus on testing and exercising to demonstrably improve the company’s business resilience.
To set up and manage the new Business Continuity and IT Service Continuity programmes, Daisy provided two expert consultants, each working on a contract basis. This gave
HomeServe the flexibility and cost-effectiveness necessary to overhaul its resilience capability even with a fairly lean in-house resource.
Daisy has provided broad-based specialist support in both areas, including the development and maintenance of detailed policy and process documents that help staff recover data and IT capability as quickly as possible in the event of a system failure. Meanwhile, robust Business Continuity and Work Area Recovery plans ensure staff can be moved and full contact centre capability restored within the agreed time objectives.
A regular cycle of activity is in place to ensure consistent improvement across all parts of the programme in line with strategic objectives, while identifying new areas of risk. Requirements are evaluated from a range of perspectives, from staff needs to IT frailties, allowing for a constant process of fine-tuning and optimisation. Meanwhile, a structured testing programme has been set up, with bi-annual ITDR exercises to explore new solutions and opportunities. Yearly tests are conducted at each Work Area Recovery site, while a robust education programme ensures all HomeServe teams get to experience scenario-based exercises, walkthroughs and e-learning.
By partnering with Daisy, HomeServe has changed its culture with regard to business continuity and IT disaster recovery, while radically enhancing its resilience capability.
“The operational learning curve was steep,” says David Owen, Head of Business Systems and Risk, of the early days of the partnership. “Now, many years in, the teams actively seek the practice rehearsals to make sure they have their bases covered… the muscle memory kicks in from the repetition, and the focus is on the customer still, even in a catastrophe.”
From a technical perspective, HomeServe’s business resilience is demonstrably stronger. Recovery times have shrunk dramatically, with critical systems like phones and networks recoverable almost instantly. HomeServe’s contact centre service can be swiftly restored if an incident occurs, and all functionality seamlessly recovered.
In June 2018, Daisy and HomeServe jointly won CIR Magazine’s “Best Business Continuity in Industry” award, a fitting testament to the effectiveness of the partnership and its commitment to ongoing collaboration. It also speaks to the relationship’s inherent flexibility, as well as the fact that HomeServe trusts Daisy to act in the long-term interests of their business and customers.
In 2018, the relationship entered a new stage. HomeServe’s business continuity capability is now mature, with staff able to deal with incidents and amend protocols with minimal help from the Daisy team. The organisation is also growing rapidly, and has recognised the need to take on a full-time business continuity manager once again to meet its ongoing needs. Daisy continues to play a vital role with its advanced Business Continuity planning software, Shadow Planner, which makes a range of BC tools and applications available to staff in the way that suits them best, via a range of devices.
For Daisy and HomeServe, the relationship has the potential to run for many years more, driven by the needs of the client and their customers.