“The infrastructure project has enabled us to keep on track with our goals and Cetus Solutions has played an instrumental part in helping us deliver our transformation and rationalisation strategy. The infrastructure is now in place for the organisation to embrace smarter working and is already demonstrating and delivering operational savings and benefits.”
Calderdale Council outlined a five-year plan to enhance the efficiency and delivery of services for its region while significantly reducing costs. Part of its programme includes the Halifax Town Centre Office Strategy, which will deliver £7.6m of net savings to the council by 2016 through rationalisation of the council’s office accommodation. Spread across a number of properties, the council wanted to reduce its footprint of 12 buildings to four core council offices, while maintaining support for 1,450 office and mobile staff. For the strategy to deliver on its goals, the council needed to give staff the flexibility to work from any of its main office locations. To support the council’s consolidation plans, it first had to modernise the four core locations that would support its workforce and customer facing services teams. The council’s IT team was tasked with developing a new, more flexible IT infrastructure.
“We were aware that a virtual environment required different skills and expertise. We wanted to work with a partner that had experience of working with local authorities to improve service delivery and also had the knowledge required for delivering virtual infrastructure technologies successfully. Cetus Solutions has that.”
In order to achieve maximum operational efficiency, the council explored a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions and needed to work with a specialist partner who could help architect the environment for optimum efficiency and user experience. Cetus Solutions responded to the council’s need and was selected as Calderdale councils IT infrastructure partner.
“We ran a VDI proof of concept and understood the benefits of the model. We compared the costs against a complete PC refresh and VDI was a no-brainer. While the upfront infrastructure costs were comparable for both, VDI offered on-going management and cost efficiencies as well as the ability to provide more flexible access to IT services.”
With Cetus Solutions’ support, the council has been able to optimise how they deliver services. Some staff have been issued laptops and can use local applications when they need them, but about 60% of the staff now use virtual desktops accessed from thin clients to support the majority of their application needs. Staff can go to any council building, use any device and have complete access to their own desktops. In addition to this, the council will achieve estimated savings of £80k a year on energy usage and IT costs as a result of centralising and virtualising its end-user computing environment. It has also reduced its endpoint footprint by enabling hot desks and flexible working. With services managed centrally, the time to deploy a new application or update to an end-users desktop environment has shrunk from weeks to hours. It has been able to migrate users from the XP OS to Windows 7, quickly and easily. This has been valuable for supporting staff across the wider district.