Colt Technology Services has today announced the deployment of a virtual desktop solution to 2,700 employees at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, working with IT and business services provider Agilisys to enable the London borough to reduce costs by up to 25% and increase overall productivity. The virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution provided by Colt, also integrates with the council’s remote access service, enabling Hammersmith and Fulham’s (H&F) employees to work away from the office, securely accessing the information they need to do their job via laptop, smartphone or tablet device. This will support the Council in its bid to reduce office space and improve the way it provides services to its residents.With borough council budgets falling year on year, H&F council is under continued pressure to cut costs while also protecting critical frontline services for residents. At the same time, its employees increasingly need secure remote access to the council’s information systems while they are working in the community or outside of the borough. The council pioneered desktop virtualisation 10 years ago but the solution they had in place was limited in the number of users and services that it could support.According to Jackie Hudson, director for procurement and ICT strategy for Hammersmith & Fulham Council: “The important thing for us was finding a service provider who understood what we wanted to achieve and who had the ability to work in partnership with us and Agilisys to provide and integrate the right solution. The underlying infrastructure is a fundamental element of our virtual desktop solution, which provides our employees with access to a wide selection of applications and the ability to work off-site and on any device.”
Paul Calvert, IT services solution director at Colt, said: “After scoping the technical, service and commercial requirements, Colt recommended a solution that addressed the different needs to virtualise and package the 300 applications that the Council has to maintain. When migrating business critical services to a VDI environment, it’s essential to understand the nature of the applications that the organisation is using. Colt worked with the Council and its partners to conduct a virtualisation assessment of the applications and users before developing a proof of concept to allow them to experience how applications would perform in the new environment.”
Taking this approach ensured that the IT department could be confident that the solution would support the business requirements of everybody from housing to childcare, and that it could be rolled out consistently with minimum disruption to employees and frontline services. Starting with the Council’s housing department, the rollout has been phased to ensure the relevant applications are ready for use in the VDI environment, enabling continuity of service to residents throughout the migration. As a result, the cost of desktop support has reduced considerably and service delivery is faster for employees and more cost effective for the Council.
“It’s a pull rather than push effect,” says Howell Huws, head of business technology at Hammersmith & Fulham Council. “Early adopter employees really like the new service because booting up, logging in and launching applications is much faster. Hearing this from colleagues rather than IT makes others ask if they can have it too. People want it as quickly as we can provide it to them. Colt responded in an exemplary way, investing time to reach the required level of compliance with government data security.”
In addition to providing improved performance and productivity, the VDI rollout complies with government IL2 regulation that exists to make sure that sensitive data is stored and protected appropriately. Colt’s wide area network encryption services ensure sensitive residential data is secure when an employee sends and receives data while working away from the office.
Calvert added: “With data accessed from various devices, local authorities face a huge challenge to keep information safe. With a VDI environment, the data is not held locally, which addresses concerns around security. This becomes increasingly important as more and more council workers are now working remotely.”
In delivering this solution Colt worked with the Hammersmith & Fulham Bridge Partnership, the joint venture between Agilisys and the council, utilising technology from strategic partners Cisco and VMware. The H&F VDI solution is hosted across two of Colt’s datacentres for disaster recovery and delivered on a price per user commercial basis, providing a transparent, opex based cost model. The service is backed up with an end-to-end service level agreement (SLA), for an all-inclusive flat monthly fee.
Colt is the information delivery platform, enabling its customers to deliver, share, process and store their vital business information. An established leader in delivering integrated computing and network services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers. Colt operates in 22 European countries and the US with a 46,000km European network and transatlantic network capacity. Colt has metropolitan area networks in 41 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 19,800 buildings and 20 carrier neutral Colt data centres.
In 2010, the Colt Data Centre Services business was launched to deliver innovative high quality data centre solutions at a Colt or customer site. Our innovative data centres are rapid to deploy, flexible and highly efficient.
In addition to its direct sales capability, Colt has four indirect channels to market; Agent, Franchise, Distributor and Wholesale which includes Carriers, Service Providers, VARs and Voice Resellers.
Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT).
Agilisys is one of the UK’s most innovative and fast growing IT and business software and services providers, helping our clients to transform their businesses through a suite of citizen-centric technology products as well as centres of delivery excellence around the UK. Working for both the public and private sector, we have earned a strong reputation and hold deep domain expertise delivering transformational services in particular within local and central government.
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