Customer Stories: Canal & River Trust

Canal & River Trust case study

Discover how Littlefish provided modern, flexible, and convenient IT support and cyber security for a diverse and unique charitable trust.



Customer overview

The Canal & River Trust was launched in 2012, taking over the guardianship of two thousand miles of canals, rivers, reservoirs and docks in England and Wales.

The Trust, along with its volunteers, works hard to maintain and transform Britain’s waterways into spaces where people can feel happier and healthier; creating green spaces by water for people to relax, reconnect, rediscover history, and spot the abundance of wildlife that calls them home.

The Trust has many networked locations nationwide, including office hubs, operational sites, six visitor attractions and three workshops.

The Trust’s challenges

Due to the nature of the Trust’s work, its colleagues and volunteers work in very diverse ways, for example repairing waterways, talking to boaters and visitors, and running museums – along with more typical office-based jobs to support the operational teams.

The variety of these roles, as well as the sheer number of locations the Trust works from, meant the charity required a flexible IT partner to support its changing needs, focus on process efficiency and help it modernise.

The aim was to improve operational efficiencies, help end users work smarter, and instill robust cyber security across the board. However, the challenge was complex, requiring agility, vendor collaboration, a busy end user community, as well as resolving problems surrounding legacy infrastructure.

The Trust also suffered from application sprawl (the growth of disparate IT systems to include more and more applications, slowing down productivity and over-using resources) and needed a partner that could work collaboratively with them on the complexity and planning challenges this project presented. Importantly, as a charity, the Trust had to be cost-conscious.

A user-centric solution from Littlefish

Littlefish proposed a multi-layered, people-first solution that would tackle the various challenges laid out by the Trust while also offering tangible business benefits to the charity.

The plan would focus on the delivery of ‘one winning team’, vastly improve the user experience for employees, and enhance and secure the charity’s digital ecosystem.

Littlefish worked closely with the Trust to implement new IT strategies and services which spanned service management, network services, enterprise applications, digital transformation, infrastructure management, cloud hosting, and managed security services.

It was important to get the basics right from the start, keeping operations simple and practical whilst also listening to user insights to improve the service in a realistic and value-added way.

Throughout the tender service it became clear that Littlefish really did put customer service at the heart of their approach and were really willing to get to know the Canal & River Trust as a charity.

James Myhill, Head of IT, Canal & River Trust

Littlefish initially set to work to implement a modern workplace strategy for the Trust, which included infrastructure re-design and architecture moving to cloud hosting.

Along with work focused on software, device and app management and digital experience monitoring, these services would vastly enhance the user experience, uniting previously fragmented and disparate teams with new software and secure, mature processes, and offering large productivity gains (as well as helping the Trust control costs and meet compliance obligations).

Additionally, Littlefish’s IT service desk was implemented at the Trust – a pivotal element in the overall service offering which would have a profound impact on the Trust’s day-to-day IT experience.

Service desk would help drive the charity’s performance by being rapidly responsive to callers, ringfencing a ‘pod’ of service desk engineers specifically for the Trust, and allowing users out in the field to interact with service desk engineers using ‘Littlefish Lens’ (an augmented reality tool which enables users to interact with the Service Desk through their smartphone/tablet using a remote view).

Lastly, the Trust benefited from Littlefish’s Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) service, which would offer modern, proactive, and robust cyber security to protect, detect, and respond to threats.

Set up alongside the Trust’s new digital infrastructure, Littlefish’s UK-based managed SOC would offer advanced cyber protection, leveraging the charity’s data and threat sharing networks to detect emerging threats, offer continuous monitoring, and provide end-to-end investigation and incident ownership.


By thinking simply and practically, working holistically and collaboratively, and analysing data and insights at every step along the way, Littlefish significantly improved the Trust’s business operations, processes, and digital user experience (DEX), affording the charity the opportunity to continue its important work in an efficient, flexible, and consistent manner.

Through building a cohesive picture of all existing and required technology capabilities across the charity, and hosting workshops with key team members at the Trust for each stage of the project, Littlefish ensured that service and business objectives were met, promoting teamwork across previously disparate business entities and reducing the effort required to simply ‘run the machine’.

Through modern workplace strategy, digital transformation, service management, and managed cyber security, Littlefish was able to implement stability, longevity, and enhanced performance at the Trust, which continues to benefit through:

  • Enhanced employee engagement
  • Improved productivity
  • Process maturity and simplification
  • Monitored user satisfaction
  • User familiarity
  • Business efficiency gains
  • High return on investment
  • Proactive cyber security
  • Decreased performance risk
  • High consistency across the organisation
  • Aligned purpose

Littlefish’s services are user-centric. During the migration we saw their focus on excellent customer service and getting it right for us as a charity, while understanding our budgetary restraints. They connected to our ambition and helped us through our challenges as well.

James Myhill, Head of IT, Canal & River Trust

Get In Touch