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Soho Clubs and Bars

Soho Bar’s Challenge

Soho is not only a part of Central London, but also home to both a vibrant entertainments area and more recently, the creative industries of advertising and design. Soho Clubs & Bars owns a series of designer bars in Soho, and in growing its business by acquisition, had a range of different and often antiquated IT systems as for instance: 

  1. Computers each saved their own data and were connected by an old fashioned peer to peer network
  2. In every bar, table and meeting room bookings were recorded in old fashioned desk diaries 

In short, the directors never had an up to the minute picture of activity in any or all of the bars, and a fully booked bar could not book a table or room for another bar in the Soho Clubs & Bars group (SCB); furthermore, the shifts needed to operate the bars into the night meant that any number of staff operated each computer, leading to lack of reliability and constant breakdowns. The challenge was therefore how to standardise, upgrade and maintain an IT system consistent with a modern bar business. Whilst considering its options, SCB was referred by a business associate to 6300ac. 


6300ac’s approach and recognising the strategic importance of IT

At its first meeting with SCB, 6300ac did an audit of SCB’s IT and having also discussed the business’ objectives with the directors, identified the current and future limitations of the current IT system, and made the following recommendations: 

  1. Connect all the bars with a modern super fast network
  2. Enable the bars to share information via Centralised data and servers
  3. Assure reliability via an IT support contract 

The recommendations for the first time formally recognised IT as business critical for SCB. The directors accepted the recommendations and sought 6300ac’s advice on software to standardise the management of stocks, bookings and takings, and also enabling the directors to work from home. 


Home working

The bars are open late into the night, and therefore the directors wanted the ability to oversee the business and access the IT system from home. When specifying and installing the standardised bar management software and a new network, 6300ac not only connected all the bars with centralised data and servers, but also enabled home working. 


Handing over the IT and goodwill

Having installed and maintained SCB’s IT, SCB grew first to 7 and then 10 bars SB attained a critical mass that justified an in house IT person. 6300ac planned and effected the hand over of the IT system by delivering all documentation and training to the new member of staff. As a mark of the goodwill that subsequently existed, SCB asked 6300ac to provide holiday cover, and when its IT staff member emigrated, signed a server support contract with 6300ac. 


Conclusions

Despite the importance of IT to any business, it is good personal relationships that underpin any service contract. In its association with SCB, 6300ac was able to build the type of personal relationship that not only made it early on a trusted advisor to the directors of SCB when standardising IT, but also ensured that subsequently, when SCB had an IT staffing problem, all roads led to 6300ac.

 
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