CNC Case Study The Poppy Factory
poppy flowers and sunny day

The Poppy Factory

Innovative investment in hybrid cloud solutions, VoIP services, business Internet connectivity, and cyber-security gave this charitable service the agility to act seamlessly across the UK.

Future-proofed and remote ready

The support they provide changes lives

Since 1922, veterans with health conditions have been supported into employment by The Poppy Factory. The first of these were wounded, injured and sick veterans of the First World War, who came to work at its factory producing Remembrance products.

In the decades that followed, the charity continued to build a supportive environment for veterans with physical and mental health conditions, developing a strong understanding of the complex challenges that many face. Today its support reaches far beyond the factory into communities across England and Wales, helping ex-Forces job seekers on their journey into all kinds of employment.

The Poppy Factory’s employment service launched in 2010, and has grown to make up 90 per cent of the charity’s work. Each year its employment consultants help hundreds of veterans with a mental or physical condition to thrive in the workplace, wherever they are based.

Specialist support and meaningful employment can be truly life-changing, significantly improving veterans’ confidence, financial security and wellbeing.

The support it provides changes lives.

The Challenge​

The Poppy Factory needed to improve its operational efficiency by smoothing out IT problems that the team was facing both in and away from the office.

  • IT Infrastructure and software were end-of-life
  • Physical telephone system with ISDN lines in use and soon
    to be retired by BT
  • An older version of Remote Desktop Server was in use
    with limited functionality
  • No Multi-factor authentication for remote access or emails
  • Standard broadband internet connection
  • With 50% of the team working remotely, any upgrade
    would be technically very demanding
  • Different versions of Microsoft Office being used
  • No video conferencing solution at the head office
  • No Cyber Security Accreditation
Poppy factory couple at laptop

Richard uses his experience to teach the next generation of soldiers

The Solution​​

  • Infrastructure refresh, including new servers with solid-state
    drives to speed up file and application access
  • Staff are now given laptops as standard, including docking
    stations to make users more agile
  • Emails migrated to Microsoft 365
  • Standardised Microsoft Office versions
  • Migration to a VoIP telephone solution that employees
    access from any location via a smartphone App, Windows
    device or a physical handset
  • Upgrade to the latest version of Remote Desktop Server,
    allowing access to published applications. One of the key
    benefits of this is the ability to use Microsoft Teams
    locally whilst still keeping data secure and controlled on
    a centralised server
  • New 100Mbps dedicated leased line
  • Multi-factor authentication deployed to all staff for both emails and remote access
  • Wireless Video Conferencing solution deployed
  • Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation
  • Proactive account management with regular, structured review

“CNC has provided us with outstanding service, ensuring that the IT experience for all our staff is high quality and that our systems are secure. “

ML – Finance Director

The Benefits

CNC are a partner more than a service

The Poppy Factory now have a complete range of services that make sure they are just one call or click away from their colleagues and their customers.

Fewer issues

After a recent refresh, service requests have been reduced by 50% which saves money and improves efficiency.

Hybrid solution

A hybrid solution of an on-premise server and cloud services means staff can work more flexibly whilst also reducing the IT footprint in the office

Office anywhere

The team can be anywhere in the country and its easy to make, receive or transfer a telephone call as the system is seamless​


People can access critical files quickly, and applications can run faster.

Apps Delivered

Remote Desktop Server has enabled Published Apps, which means we can rapidly install software to keep the team on the same page

Super Charged Laptops

Solid-state drive laptops provide superfast start-up times


A centrally managed Firewall running advanced security services, up to date Anti-Virus and Application Patch Management has helped The Poppy Factory obtain Cyber Essentials Pluse

Ongoing Care

Regular review meetings with a technical account manager mean changing requirements are picked up and sorted before they become a problem


Multi-factor authentication installed to protect emails and remote access


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