ICT Transformation Case Study Buckinghamshire County Council

Arcus Global has worked as Buckinghamshire County Council's (BCC) ICT Transformation Partner since 2010. Our work with the Council started with the preparation of a new ICT Strategy covering the period to 2015, one of the first in the country to embrace the potential to deliver digital services enabled by Cloud Computing technologies.

Like all local authorities BCC needs to continuously enhance its use of ICT to directly cut costs and enable efficiencies in business services. 

We have been working with Arcus Global as our ICT Transformation Partners for over two years, from the inception of our ICT Strategy to exploit Cloud Computing through to delivery of a range of innovative yet robust technologies. Arcus have proved a very flexible partner and have helped us with almost every aspect of our service improvement initiatives including enterprise architecture, business engagement, technology selection, service management, and complex procurements as well as solution design, development and deployment. We have found them to be innovative, business focused and pragmatic working with our own staff to deliver significant savings.

— Caroline Cooper, CIO, Buckinghamshire County Council.

Since the development of the ICT strategy our work with the County has included:

  • Developing a technology roadmap for the Council taking into account business objectives, legislative changes, contract expiry dates, asset replacement cycles and ICT strategic imperatives.
  • Supporting the procurement (through development and QA of specifications, method statements and contract schedules) of a new PSN-compliant managed network service providing connectivity to the County Council, Schools and other public bodies in the County – this contract is delivering 30% savings to the Council.
  • Examining the options and business case for the migration of the infrastructure based in the Council’s primary data-centre to alternative accommodation, co-location facilities and Cloud Computing services (running to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model).
  • Supporting the procurement of the Council’s new website on an innovative ‘service based’ model including a technology platform, hosting, development services and support. The first iteration of the public website on this platform has recently been launched and is encouraging migration to a ‘self-service’ model.
  • Piloting the use of a hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service model with XenApp and Remote Desktop Services to simplify the management and deployment of complex GIS applications. This work was accompanied by a comparative analysis of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the old service and new model that indicated cashable savings of over 25%.
  • Introducing an ‘Enterprise Architecture’ approach to the specification and design of ICT solutions to support the Council’s ‘business architecture’. This has included running a cycle of the TOGAF ADM (Architecture Development Methodology) focused on the Council’s support services (currently using an SAP platform) and assisting with the specification and recruitment of a Technical Architect.
  • Setting the Council’s Desktop Strategy (or more accurately ‘Device Strategy’) to respond to pressures for a ‘Bring Your Own Device’, trends for thin client devices, ‘Virtual Desktop’ technology and ever greater ‘off network’ working.
  • Introducing a corporate Information Asset Register in support of wider work on the Council’s Information Management Strategy and an Intelligent Information Assurance approach that empowers Information Asset Owners to pro-actively manage risks to Information Security at the same time as imperatives to enable new ways of working.
  • Working with BCC's library systems team to establish a series of secure, user editable websites to support the Council's community library initiatives. For less than £5000 of specification, configuration and training costs (and running costs of less than £500 per annum) the Council now has a Google Sites based platform that supports 14 community libraries through private web-based sharing of information between BCC staff and community libraries and between community library volunteers as well as public websites for each community library. The system includes document management and live calendar integration to Council websites. The average running cost of less than £25 per website per annum (each library has two websites - one private, one public) compares to standard content management system costs starting at £5000 per annum.
  • Reviewing the available options for a SaaS Project Management system, and subsequently deploying Clarizen as a replacement for the legacy software. The adoption of Clarizen allows a dynamic tracking of the progress on projects (in the contrary to a static project plan in the previously used solution) and an overview of the resource availability, and meets BCC’s requirements, improving the management of the projects.
  • Selection of a suitable Platform-as-a-Service technology and application of this capability to deliver cost effective business applications:

 

  • Replacement of existing software for Children’s Centres Management used by the Council to manage the services across the County. The resulting new product allows end-to-end management of family records, child records, registrations, activities, events, referrals, and assessments in one simple, intuitive and easy to use interface. By using modern Cloud technology, the system supports secure remote access from any device including tablets and smartphones.  The new system will save over £26k per annum in technology and operating costs.
  • Configuration of a Contract Management Application to support the Council’s new Contract Management Framework, projected to save the Council over £15m per annum.
  • Evaluation of the available options for Business Management systems for the Council’s new arm’s length bodies. The requirements of an arm’s length body were captured and compared against the functionality provided by a number of candidate systems. The evaluation tool developed during this project is now being used by the Council to help to inform what systems are best matched to new arm’s length bodies and to benchmark the system currently used by the Council.
  • Preparation of a Digital Strategy for the Buckinghamshire County Museum which sets out plans for digital developments over the next three years (to March 2016). The strategy has been written to ensure that digital content and working practices are appropriately positioned within the overall strategy for the Museum and is directly coupled with the organisation business plan. Of particular importance is the use of technology to streamline operations, improve digital content management practices and deliver scalable outreach activities that engage audiences before, during and after their visits.

Arcus’ work with the ICT Service has been a key enabler to the progressive re-structuring of the service that has already released a third of the resources previously needed to deliver the same standard of service. Our collaboration with the Council is on-going with a current emphasis on enabling the Council’s new ‘Commercially Minded Council’ business model.