Office 365 allows flexible working for all, slashes IT costs and enables a ‘paperless office’ for Wiltshire Council
The organisation has reduced IT budgets by more than 25 per cent with new deployments.
London, UK. — Mar. 20, 2013 — Wiltshire Council has cemented its transformation from 5 local authorities in Wiltshire to a single Unitary Authority by moving a significant IT service to the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365. The move, coupled with the rollout of Windows 7 and Windows Direct Access has contributed to a tangible increase in the organisation’s efficiency by allowing staff to work securely from any location, and has helped to reduce IT budgets by 27% over 3-years.
The Council, which was formed in 2009 as the successor authority to Wiltshire County Council and the four former District Councils of Kennet, North Wiltshire, Salisbury and West Wiltshire, provides local government services to over 486,000 residents. Since 2009, the organisation has invested heavily in a transformation programme that includes a focus on technology, to combine existing products into innovative new services. The technology element has centred on deploying Windows 7 and introducing cloud services to provide the organisation with a hybrid IT infrastructure, comprising a mixture of cloud and on-premise solutions, designed to support flexible remote access.
As part of this programme, the Council has rolled out Exchange Online across its workforce. Since deployment began, more than 4,000 staff have moved onto Exchange Online while full migration to Office 365 is almost complete. In line with these updates, the Council is planning to decommission the on-premise system, leaving only the GCSX (Government Connect Secure Extranet), a secure wide area network that allows officials at local public-sector organisations to interact and share data privately and securely with central government departments, on-premise.
The roll-out has complemented the introduction of Microsoft Lync which has been integrated with the phone system and is now being used across the organisation for outbound calls, video conferencing thus reducing the Council’s carbon footprint by removing the need to travel for meeting across the county.
With all employees also using Windows 7 laptops, the Council is now able to support flexible working policies for all staff, enabling them to work from home, remotely, or on the move. The Council says this in turn has boosted efficiency and productivity across the organisation, and has resulted in a significant reduction in IT spending.
The move to the cloud has also been supported by the senior management teams’ pledge to move to a paper-less environment. Many executives have already converted to a digital working life and are now rolling out the scheme across the organisation. In addition, the security and management solutions offered by System Center have allowed the council to increase its work with third parties like the police in a safer and more secure manner.
Andy Spurway, Head of Service Delivery at Wiltshire Council said: “The Microsoft technologies have allowed Wiltshire Council to become a fully agile business and has underpinned our drive to collaborate with partners. We wanted integrated solutions with a common look and feel and the most flexibility possible. Microsoft’s licensing model, particularly the enterprise agreement, is very flexible and made the whole process both seamless and cost effective. We’ve reduced downtime, increased collaboration and seen cost-savings across the organisation.”
The success of the deployments, together with Wiltshire’s ongoing commitment to technological innovation, means it is now considering a further upgrade to Windows 8 in future and will also seek to upgrade its Microsoft Office solution while it is actively looking at Lync Online, Intune, SkyDrive and Azure.
About Wiltshire Council
Formed in 2009 when the former county council and four district councils became a unitary authority. Wiltshire Council is responsible for a £850m budget and more than 450,000 residents.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.