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Jamie’s Farm Case Study

4 Min
Since 2009, Jamie’s Farm has been supporting children at high risk of academic and social exclusion.

Jamie’s Farm charity grows from strength to strength with MSP support from Inflection Point.

Since 2009, Jamie’s Farm has been supporting children at high risk of academic and social
exclusion. A staffing change in 2022 led them to explore working with an external managed service
provider (MSP). Head of operations, Dom Koole, explains why they chose Inflection Point and how
our service is helping them grow to the next level.

An upwards trajectory

Dom shares a bit of background about the growth of Jamie’s Farm: “We’ve been around for over ten years and in that time have grown from a single site, to five separate farms in Bath, Hereford, Monmouth, Lewes and Waterloo; with another site in the pipeline.

“The charity’s main work is in providing weeklong residential courses on our farms to spark transformation in vulnerable children through four core principles of Farming, Family, Therapy and Legacy.

“As head of operations, I oversee a lot of things including IT. But I don’t have a background in technology and neither did my former assistant. Nevertheless, my colleague had picked things up quickly and took a lead on IT matters for many years and this worked well for the charity at the time.

“However, when they left earlier in 2022, it was an opportunity to review how things were done. It was apparent that, over time, the technology we were now reliant on had become much more complicated.

“So we decided to explore working with an expert MSP. We did local research, received some recommendations, and Inflection Point were one of three companies we shortlisted to provide a proposal. They came out to meet us and I was very impressed with them.

“Rather than seeing us as ‘just another customer’, it was clear that they would tailor their service to our needs and offer much-needed consideration to our tight budget as a charity. Moreover, I began to realise that they would offer significant strategic input to our plans, and was excited to discover the impact that this would have on the charity. “Relatively speaking we are both compact organisations, and I felt this would be a good cultural match for us, with two close-knit teams each understanding how the other worked.”

“Before we knew it, things were running like clockwork: getting new joiners set up and replacing obsolete computers, for instance.”

An immediate impact

Dom describes the start of our working relationship: “The onboarding process was very smooth, particularly getting all of our machines onto their system to facilitate remote support.

“Before we knew it, things were running like clock work: getting new joiners set up and replacing obsolete computers, for instance.”

“They also started work on more specialist projects that would address problems which had been bugging us for years.

“One example was developing a system for securely taking and storing images, which are essential for both our service delivery and marketing. Given we are working with vulnerable children, there are obvious safeguarding protocols to adhere to, which can limit what we are able to do.

“Inflection Point have been brilliant at developing technological solutions to this challenge. The first iteration was a heavily locked-down mobile device that was impossible to transfer images away from and had full transparency as to what was on there. A second iteration is now being modified which makes it more user-friendly, whilst retaining the strict security features.

“In the same vein, Inflection Point have implemented an encrypted email system for sending sensitive data, which has improved our operations.”

A super Star(Link) service

Dom discusses another one-off IT project we have implemented which has made a big impact: “One of our main sites had suffered from a terrible Internet connection for years, due to a bad line in. The real hurdle here was that it would cost as much as £70,000 to upgrade it to a dedicated fibre line – money that we, as a charity, couldn’t just conjure up.

“Enter Inflection Point and their out-of-the-box thinking. They suggested StarLink, a broadband service for remote and rural locations across the globe, made possible by the world’s largest constellation of advanced, low-orbit satellites.

“This was something that we had not considered ourselves, let alone have the confidence to pursue, given how cutting-edge the solution is. But it has been the perfect remedy, costing just £500. If it had not worked there was even a money-back guarantee, making it an easy decision.

“I expect in the long term, we will raise funds to complete a full-fibre install. But for now, StarLink gives us the breathing space to operate productively until we are ready.”

“Before we knew it, things were running like clockwork: getting new joiners set up and replacing obsolete computers, for instance.”

Great quality service day-to-day

Regarding our day-to-day service, Dom says: “I work directly with one of the senior leads at Inflection Point and find him always to be available, responsive and good fun. I outline our priorities and he takes it from there. I’ve also got a good relationship with their procurement team which is useful when we are buying new kit.

“The helpdesk queries are dealt with by a small team at Inflection Point which, as I hinted at earlier, is a good fit for Jamie’s Farm. Our employees were used to having issues resolved internally, so it was quite a cultural shift to be calling a third party. But Inflection Point have made it work very well.

“Of course, we have multiple sites, but this is no problem for working with Inflection Point. Most things are dealt with remotely, meaning the number of locations is immaterial, and they have built in face-to-face time when required automatically as part of the service.”

The value of strategic advice

The strategic element to our service has been a welcome bonus to Dom, who originally enquired only about a helpdesk: “Like many start-ups, we didn’t immediately invest in a load of technology when we were founded. But you kind of accumulate various tech as you go along. So we now understand it is vital to have Inflection Point on hand to maintain our systems.

“But of more value, they are looking forward to what we may need in the future: what will add value, what will help manage risk... These include things like cybersecurity, an IT asset register and integrated phone systems.

Final thoughts on working with an MSP as a charity

Dom shares some advice for other charities when exploring working with an MSP for their IT function: “Think carefully about what you want and need. The strategic aspect of Inflection Point’s service has been really important to us here at Jamie’s Farm, and I did not even realise this when I went to market.

“I would also advise including IT and technology solutions as part of your five-year plan, and thinking of how you are going to achieve your goals.

“During the selection process, make it clear what your priorities are from the outset, and also be open about your strengths and weaknesses. This will enable them to design a service which will fit your needs.

Top ways Inflection Point helped Jamie’s Farm

• Taking over maintenance of increasingly complicated IT infastructure.

• Developing the IT aspect of the onboarding process for new staff.

• Implementation of cutting-edge StarLink broadband system to counter connectivity issues

• Procurement of new computers and phones when required.

• A helpdesk to support staff

• Strategic advice on upcoming projects relating to cybersecurity, phone systems and an IT asset register.

Thank you

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if there’s anything you need.

Inflection Point