Tube Lines, owned by Transport for London, equips its employees with the latest technology to lower costs and complexity. By investing in a standardised environment with key Microsoft technologies, Tube Lines can upgrade and deploy all Microsoft
products within 12 months from release. With its recent move to the Wave “14” stack, it has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds and countless person hours. The refresh included a range of Microsoft security and systems management products, as well as unified
communications and collaboration software. Using standard Microsoft technologies has contributed towards a reduced IT operating cost of more than 70 per cent in the past five years. By using the standardised approach with a simplified environment, Tube Lines
is well placed to upgrade to Wave “15” technologies.
United Kingdom (U.K.) engineering company Tube Lines—now owned by Transport for London—is responsible for the maintenance and upgrade work for the London Underground’s Jubilee, Northern, and Piccadilly lines. These three lines alone are used by 1.9 million
passengers a day providing a vital artery for the lifeblood of the travel infrastructure in London. Transport for London is the local government body that controls most aspects of the transport system in Greater London. Tube Lines also provides a number of
services across the network, including the Emergency Response Unit, Distribution Services, and Trans Plant, which provides specialist engineering trains.
Efficient and modern IT is at the heart of everything Tube Lines undertakes to keep the London Underground network running smoothly and safely. It provides a reliable and up-to-date system to Tube Lines key workers who maintain parts of the London Underground,
benefiting the travelling public. The Tube Lines IT team uses outsourced suppliers for support services for around 2,800 staff, but the major business decisions are made in-house.
||Since 2005, Tube Lines has adopted a strategy aimed at standardising, simplifying, and lowering the cost of its IT infrastructure. Our long-term aim is to create a lean infrastructure where IT becomes a utility that’s easy to manage
and provides a predictable and reliable service.
| Adrian Davey
Head of IT
Adrian Davey, Head of IT, Tube Lines, says: “Since 2005, Tube Lines has adopted a strategy aimed at standardising, simplifying, and lowering the cost of its IT infrastructure. Our long-term aim is to create a lean infrastructure where IT becomes a utility that’s
easy to manage and provides a predictable and reliable service.”
Tube Lines workers are dispersed across 45 locations in London, which poses challenges for system management and administration. Davey says: “For example, in year one of the modernisation project, there were 72,000 calls to the service desk and around 220
Severe 1 category incidents logged. Costs were escalating. But we also needed a much more consistent user experience across the portfolio of desktop and server products to give our people the best tools for the job.”
Since 2005, Tube Lines has made a strategic investment in standardising the Microsoft enterprise technology environment. It has now completed its second wave of upgrades since 2005 and is planning to make a third upgrade in 2012/13.
The company has successfully migrated from Windows Vista to Windows 7 Enterprise operating systems, with the Microsoft 2010 portfolio of communication, collaboration, and security technologies. These include the Microsoft Office 2010 release, Microsoft Exchange
Server 2010 Enterprise, Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and supporting technologies for database management. Other additions include Microsoft middleware and unified communications, and the Microsoft System Center suite.
Tube Lines has a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement for low-cost volume licensing of software, which it uses to the fullest extent. For example, expensive third-party products were replaced with advanced Microsoft products for protection against malware and
viruses and for access and identity management across its estate. Employees also enjoy the Home Use Programme, allowing the installation of Microsoft software at home. This has the added benefit of helping people become familiar with the technology outside
of work, improving confidence, and reducing training costs across the enterprise.
Bhadresh Sachania, Head of the IT Programme Management Office, Tube Lines, says: “We turned to Microsoft because we wanted an end-to-end solution, and to standardise on a single operating system for the desktop and servers. That’s why we’ve made an ongoing
strategic investment in the Microsoft environment for our business-critical computing applications. Part of that is an absolute commitment to deploy the latest versions of Microsoft software, which is proving highly cost effective each time we do it.”
In line with this policy, Tube Lines has applied to become part of the Microsoft Technology Adoption Programme for the Wave “15” release, which is currently under development and expected to include Windows 8, Microsoft Office 15, and Microsoft Exchange
Tube Lines has lowered costs and increased the reliability of its computing applications by standardising the Microsoft environment since 2005 and becoming an early adopter of each new operating system release. In doing so, the organisation has increased
the security of its core infrastructure and ensured easier compliance with regulations. Each employee now has a consistent user experience across the portfolio of desktop and server products.
Standardising on Microsoft Saves Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds
As a result of the company’s strategic decision to partner with Microsoft for its enterprise technology, Tube Lines now has predictable costs and a consistent portfolio of desktop and server products. In addition, it has saved hundreds of thousands of pounds
with each major upgrade over the past five years.
Sachania says: “Each time we carry out an upgrade to the latest release of desktop and server products, we lower our cost base. Moving to the next wave of Microsoft products saves us hundreds of thousands of pounds each time, and ensures that our people
always have the latest software. Our existing infrastructure has helped us to move to the Wave ‘14’ technologies for 70 per cent less than we would have spent without tools such as the Microsoft System Center suite.”
Strategy-Led IT Roadmap Simplifies Management
||The advantage with Microsoft is that we’re working with end-to-end solutions, not standalone products. This helps us avoid hidden costs, which would be easy to accumulate in a dispersed operation such as Tube Lines with 45 different
| Bhadresh Sachania
Head of the IT Programme Management Office
Tube Lines is true to its objective of a lean IT environment and efficient IT roadmap by keeping its core in-house team to just three key employees. Sachania says: “The advantage with Microsoft is that we’re working with end-to-end solutions, not standalone
products. This helps us avoid hidden costs, which would be easy to accumulate in a dispersed operation such as Tube Lines with 45 different sites. We’re keeping up to date with each Microsoft software release by using a number of resources to ensure maximum
flexibility and easier compliance.”
Operational Improvements Cut Severe Incidents from 220 to Six
With the Microsoft System Center suite of products, automated management has relieved a huge burden from the IT team. Support for the core workforce at Tube Lines is now provided through just two desktop support engineers.
Davey says: “In year one of our modernisation project, there were 72,000 calls to the service desk—in the current financial year, we’ve had only 10,000. In the same period, the number of Severe 1 category incidents has dropped from 220 to six.”
IT Operating Costs Fall by 70 Per Cent Over Six Years
Six years ago, IT operating costs at Tube Lines were on an upward spiral, with technicians managing disparate systems and software that was no longer fit for purpose. As a result, people in remote locations were often dissatisfied with the support they received
from the centre.
Sachania adds: “In real terms, our IT maintenance costs have come down about 70 per cent in the past six years. With the current business approach, the benefits are astronomical. We no longer have any of the previous systems to maintain. For a large company,
our approach is more agile, and time to market with new applications is significantly faster.”
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