West Sussex County Council in England wanted to modernise its infrastructure so staff could work flexibly from anywhere using the latest technologies. It replaced Windows XP with the Windows 7 operating system and deployed unified communications
with Microsoft Lync 2010. With its IT outsourced, running costs have been reduced by 26 per cent since 2010, and plans exist to equip 94 per cent of council employees with laptops for mobile working.
West Sussex County Council is a tier-one local authority in south-east England with a workforce of 5,400 people—excluding schools staff—delivering public services to a population of 780,000 across a largely rural area. In 2009, the council embarked on a
major transformation of its infrastructure, linked to a change programme called the Way We Work, to increase flexible working. Delivered over four years, the programme entails a move from 67 per cent of council staff using desktops with Windows XP to 94 per
cent of employees having laptops with new technologies. The plans involved introducing unified communications and single sign-on to the platform for employees to work from anywhere. The authority also wanted to achieve a 1 to 1.5 ratio of desks to staff, to
save money on council office space.
Wilson Sharpe, IT Client Design and Assurance Director, West Sussex County Council, says: “Until 2009, IT services had been built in a highly reactive way, which resulted in us having more than 1,000 applications to manage, varied software life cycles, and
no meaningful or useful integration. Staff complained that they lacked the tools to do their jobs, and failures of critical systems became a predictable event.”
The first step in the programme was to produce a strategic roadmap agreed with the senior leadership board and elected members. Sharpe says: “The roadmap detailed several areas of emphasis, such as workforce efficiency and the development of a sustainable
platform. This involved the integration of a number of tools and critical applications, of which Microsoft products were a key element.”
As part of the overall transformation strategy aimed at reducing costs, boosting productivity, and improving service delivery, the council awarded the first of three 10-year contracts to outsourcing specialist and Microsoft Gold Communications Partner Capita.
The contracts encompass, among other things, refreshing the local area network, IT infrastructure and unified communications, applications management and support, and project management for the council’s transformation programme.
The key infrastructure changes for the project involved Windows 7, Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and Microsoft Lync 2010—along with single sign-on capabilities for employees. SharePoint Server 2010 will form the basis of future collaboration within the
council and with partner agencies.
Jason White, Solutions Architect at Capita, says: “These technologies were selected because they support the mobile, flexible, and secure working that the council is adopting and form the basis for a shared infrastructure.” Other components include Microsoft
Office 2010, with migration from IBM Notes to Microsoft Outlook 2010, and full deployment of Lync 2010 for unified communications. The Lync 2010 deployment involves removing IP technology from most of the organisation except reception desks and the call centre.
White says: “All meeting rooms are being equipped with full Lync 2010 audio and video conferencing facilities.”
Security, identity management, and data protection are major priorities in the upgrade. Microsoft Forefront Unified Access Gateway 2010 will provide a remote access portal to allow employees to open email messages through any browser, with Microsoft Forefront
Identity Manager 2010 for identity management. BitLocker is in use for device encryption, while Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 provides automated application deployment. DirectAccess is also being deployed for seamless integration to the
The deployment of Windows 7 and other related products is due to finish by late 2013. Capita is also working on further enhancements, including the provision of an employee portal through SharePoint Server 2010 integrated with SAP. Staff will manage interactions
with human resources on a self-service basis. And there will be a self-service solution for employees and pensioners to access their pensions and payroll data. Sharpe says: “Looking ahead, we’ll be extending the use of SharePoint technology for information
management throughout the organisation, as well as working on the integration of systems between the health service and the council’s social care staff.”
West Sussex County Council is empowering its entire workforce by ensuring flexible working, with 94 per cent of all employees being equipped with laptops. With its IT services fully outsourced to Capita, the council has already realised a 26 per cent saving
in operational costs. By upgrading key infrastructure and integrating services, this has significantly reduced the cost and complexity of supporting all IT. This, combined with flexible working methods, has significantly increased staff productivity and multi-agency
collaboration across the county.
Employees gain flexible mobile toolset to ensure anywhere working. The council is also saving money through reduced accommodation costs because its employees can work efficiently and flexibly from anywhere.
Sharpe says: “Unified communications in particular has been received extremely well by staff and satisfaction levels have risen. The new Microsoft platform with Windows 7 and Office 2010 will help the council achieve a 1 to 1.5 ratio of desks to staff, plus
employees will be able to work flexibly from wherever suits them.”
Mobile devices support the Way We Work programme. When the transformation programme is completed, 94 per cent of employees will use standardised mobile devices with only three hours of training required. Sharpe says: “Refreshing
our core IT platforms will increase productivity and reduce the cost of travel and accommodation by using unified communications with instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing.”
Full outsourcing of IT services to Capita generates significant savings. With Capita fully responsible for the IT service provision and transformation programme, the council has already realised a 26 per
cent reduction of its operational spending on IT. White says: “We have assisted the council’s IT team with the migration of its 1,000 applications to the new platform.”
Lync 2010 results in lower communication costs. With unified communications deployed throughout most of the organisation, around 5,600 IP and analogue phones will become redundant. Sharpe says: “A full unified communications estate will
improve the efficiency of operations and communication between staff and our partner agencies. The transition to Microsoft Lync was easy for our staff, with minimal training required.”
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.