Craft ICT is a small IT company based in the rural village of Mundford, Norfolk. Born out of a desire to strike a better work-life balance, husband and wife team Andy and Val Hibbs have been growing the business together since 2004.
The company offers databases in the cloud to customers around the world. From an exhibition company in South Africa to a firm offering cruises in Burma, Craft ICT helps other businesses manage their information needs.
All of this is done from their home office in the quiet but thriving village of Mundford. Previously the company’s broadband speeds topped at around 4Mbps with less than 1Mbps upload speeds.
Andy said: “Broadband is essential to our business. Our whole business model relies on it. We had a week without broadband once and we had to de-camp our business to a local restaurant to use their Wi-Fi. We just can’t function without it.
“But whenever we wanted to complete software upgrades or download customer files we’d have to start it off and then we’d make a cup of coffee or in some cases set it to download or upload overnight because it would take so long.”
High-speed fibre broadband arrived in Mundford earlier this year thanks to the Better Broadband for Norfolk programme, a partnership between Norfolk County Council and BT.
“We were one of the first to sign up,” said Andy. “And our broadband speeds rocketed to 60Mbps download speeds with 11mbps upload. We knew it was exactly what we needed to make our business run more efficiently. What used to take hours can now be done in the blink of an eye.
“The need for local servers and numerous back-up discs has gone, we no longer have to own internal servers. Not only can we benefit from the hardware and electricity cost savings this brings, the “what-if” worry has gone too.
“Video conferencing is now seamless which allows us to keep in touch with our staff and customers around the world much more easily. It’s reduced our travel costs and therefore enabled us to offer a more cost-effective service to our customers.
“We would recommend the service to anyone. It didn’t cost us any more to upgrade to a fibre package and we saved money immediately. Fibre is essential for any small business – being able to store everything online enables you and your employees to work from anywhere – home or away. And moving office premises is considerably easier because you have far less to take with you!
“We can now re-think our business strategy and build it on a truly digital 21st century platform.”