Newham Council wanted to support staff working remotely and make efficiency savings by developing systems using cloud-based services. The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presented an opportunity to use the Windows Server 2012 operating system
and Microsoft System Center 2012 to give secure remote access to information for 1,400 employees. Home working resulted in staff becoming more productive, paving the way for further cloud services.
The London Borough of Newham is a unitary local authority led by a directly elected mayor, serving a population of around 300,000 living close to the site of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. High-quality public services and innovative approaches to
their delivery are central to Newham Council. And nowhere is this more evident than in the IT team under the leadership of Chief Information Officer (CIO) Geoff Connell, who is also CIO for neighbouring Havering Council.
In 2011, Newham Council embarked on a project to share IT and support services with Havering, aiming to save £11 million (U.S.$16 million) by 2015. Driving down costs and increasing efficiency are challenges shared by all local authorities in the U.K., and
Newham Council aims to do this through its focus on citizen-centric services.
In terms of innovation, Newham Council has made a substantial commitment to remote working, online self-service for citizens, shared services, and collective procurement—all with the aim of doing more with less. This strategy proved particularly successful
during the 2012 Olympic Games, when home working relieved pressure on services and staff were more productive.
These innovations—including the shared infrastructure with Havering Council and a self-service portal for citizens—have created a strong argument for developing cloud-based systems. Connell has predicted that within five years most Newham Council IT services
will be cloud-based, which will involve close collaboration with Microsoft. “Success is about collaborating with your suppliers. You can’t do everything from scratch. You have to find partners that are prepared to be flexible,” he says.
As a result of these policy changes, Newham Council is now using the Microsoft private cloud solution to deliver further savings and efficiencies, while at the same time taking advantage of its existing Microsoft-based estate. Cloud-optimised IT provided
by Microsoft supports the mobile and flexible work style first adopted by the council in 2012 for the Olympics. It avoided the need to procure more expensive products from third parties.
In 2012, the council scaled up its remote access capability to 1,400 concurrent users and tested it before the Olympics using the Microsoft private cloud. By upgrading to Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012, Newham Council delivered a flexible,
cost-effective, cloud-based infrastructure using its existing technology.
Andrew Woodgate, Principal System Support Analyst, London Borough of Newham, says: “The Service Manager component of System Center 2012 has replaced the third-party software supporting our help desk, realising substantial savings. We’re also using other
components—Operations Manager for monitoring, Configuration Manager for the desktop management, and the Orchestrator component for automating tasks previously conducted manually.”
Newham Council is taking full advantage of virtualisation and automation with System Center and Windows Server, including the Hyper-V Replica feature in Windows Server 2012 for disaster recovery. Woodgate says: “We use the Hyper-V virtualisation software
included in Windows Server 2012 to improve efficiency and disaster recovery. And, with System Center 2012, Newham can integrate a wide range of technologies into a coherent private cloud and manage it from a single place.”
Windows Server 2012 offers Newham and Havering councils a complete virtualisation platform. It delivers a fully isolated multitenant environment with tools that can ensure service-level agreements are met, monitor resource use for reporting, and support
self-service delivery. Its highly scalable environment offers connectivity to cloud services using a common identity and management framework.
Newham Council is transforming its work style and making efficiency savings through the Microsoft private cloud, using the new features in Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012. The London Olympic and Paralympic Games, which took place nearby, have
accelerated the council’s adoption of cloud services to support home working as well as a self-service portal for citizens. Within five years, most Newham services will be cloud-based, with the ability to migrate to the Microsoft public cloud in future.
Council shifts services to the private cloud over five years. Connell says: “The migration to Microsoft cloud-based services will take up to five years, not necessarily because the technology isn’t ready
but because our existing estate needs to earn its investment before we power it down.”
Hyper-V helps council cut costs. Woodgate says: “Because we’re using Hyper-V Replica, which comes with the Windows Server 2012 operating system, there’s no need for us to buy more expensive products, thereby
Microsoft private cloud paves the way to the public cloud. Woodgate says: “One of the reasons for using the Microsoft private cloud is the ability to migrate to the Microsoft public cloud in future, building
a seamless hybrid cloud managed from a single place.”
System Center investment supports shared services agenda. All U.K. local authorities are under pressure from central government to save money by sharing IT services with other councils. Newham Council is pioneering best practice in this
area—it is already working collaboratively with Havering Council and also engages in joint cloud projects with Waltham Forest Council. “Microsoft System Center 2012 helps us to predict application service-level agreements with confidence, ensuring close partnership
working with other local authorities,” says Woodgate.
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