The Calico Group appoints M247 as Digital Transformation partner to optimise IT operations

Lancashire-based Social Profit organisation, The Calico Group, has appointed leading connectivity and cloud services provider M247 to redesign its network, optimise operations and enhance security.


Calico provides a range of services across the North-West, including Housing, Health & Wellbeing, Skills, Training & Construction. In order to best serve the communities across the region and deliver a wide range of high-quality services and maximum social impact, the organisation’s workforce operate remotely and need to be able to access information, often of a sensitive or secure nature, at any time, from a variety of devices and locations.


M247 worked with Calico’s ICT Projects team to assess their current operations and requirements in order to build a network best suited to their needs, moving from a traditional MPLS network to SD-WAN.  This enables Calico employees to access information directly from their cloud applications in a more timely and user-friendly way rather than via the corporate network, and also means security can be incorporated into the SD-WAN fabric via virtual firewalls, which is a far more effective approach when endpoints are accessing applications from multiple settings.


David Palmer, M247 Product Manager for Network & Security expands, “It is extremely common for public-facing organisations that work so closely with the community to operate from multiple sites and with a remote and travelling workforce and this has also become increasingly popular within other businesses since the pandemic. However, companies have not always ensured that their IT operations are optimised for this way of working which can impact areas such as ease and speed of access and data security as well as back up procedures and disaster recovery practices.  

“The introduction of SD-WAN not only helps to solve these issues but also means that The Calico Group is better equipped for future growth, being able to easily add new users and locations. Zero touch provisioning and segmentation also means that policies can be added, amended and automatically distributed to all devices connected to the SD-WAN, reducing the risk of human error.”


Rob Hayes, ICT Project Manager at The Calico Group added, “The Calico Group wanted to embrace Digital Transformation, providing the optimal solution to our distributed hybrid workforce, delivering secure access to our business-critical apps in the cloud and on premises. The required solution would need to handle inter-site (50+) connectivity, and the increased demands of homeworking. The existing infrastructure was supported by a traditional MPLS solution, and whilst stable, it was by design not suited to our new requirements. Calico’s decision was based on both the technical design, and the ability of the provider to deliver the solution and provide a smooth transition between the platforms.


“M247 provided the insight and technical skill to enable the transition from MPLS to Cisco SDWAN. M247 as a partner have provided the Calico Group with the confidence to grow the business, delivering an agile SD-WAN solution that can deliver the performance, security and visibility needed to provide our staff and customers with the best real-time connected experiences.


As the project develops, a strong bond has formed between the Calico and M247 project teams, working closely to deliver the solution. The project scope has now expanded to accommodate additional sites and demands, due to Calico’s constant growth across the North West. This has seen a 30% increase in staff and a 25% increase of the number of offices over the last year.  The close working relationship between Calico and M247 has made this possible.


I personally look forward to developing this working partnership further and seeing what can be achieved as a result.”


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