When the London Borough of Enfield's outsourcing agreement with a third-party provider was coming to an end, the local authority saw it as an opportunity to grasp the flexibility and cost-savings achievable through exploiting cloud technologies. Around 2,500 employees rely on its IT infrastructure to provide vital services to a population of 324,500 citizens, so a seamless transition, with no degradation of services, was essential.
Enfield Council urgently needed to find a new provider capable of smoothly migrating its cloud-enabled applications to the Microsoft Azure cloud and hosting the remaining legacy systems – some dating back 30 years – in a secure, resilient environment. With the non-negotiable contract exit deadline fast approaching, the council turned to Sungard Availability Services, already its trusted provider of disaster recovery services.
The local authority admits it had demanding requirements. "We were looking for a technology partner we could trust who would be flexible, work at a fast pace to meet our tight timeframe and give us a simple migration route. The transition from the incumbent supplier to the new provider had to be absolutely seamless," recalls Mike Weston, former Head of IT for Enfield Council. "And, of course, keeping our data centre up and running throughout, without any interruptions whatsoever, was a top priority."
Sungard AS and Enfield Council worked closely together, holding bi-weekly workshops, to develop a requirements specification and plans to migrate Enfield Council's complex hybrid infrastructure to Sungard AS. "Sungard AS was the only provider able to meet our somewhat challenging timeframes," says Councillor Dino Lemonides, Cabinet member for Finance & Efficiency, Enfield Council.
"For example, they needed to be capable of taking over our data centre from the incumbent in an 'as is state' within a six-week period. Sungard AS was also willing to participate in three-way negotiations involving them, the council and the incumbent supplier. In short, they had to be extremely flexible in terms of delivery, negotiations and the technology."
Sungard AS' cloud consulting experts are helping Enfield Council with its Azure design and ensuring a smooth transition of its complex IT environment from one provider to another. As the project has progressed, the council adjusted its strategy several times and Sungard AS, in turn, needed to frequently adjust its own plans to accommodate the changes.
The council needs to save £56m by 2020 and necessity is driving innovation. The solution provided by Sungard AS gives it lower IT running costs with predicted headline cost-savings of 30% and efficiency gains.
Ultimately, the switchover from the incumbent to Sungard AS at one minute past midnight on the appointed date was literally seamless – to the extent the council's employees were completely unaware it had even occurred. Sungard AS and Enfield Council are now continuing their close co-operation to complete the ambitious IT transformation programme, which will give the Council a resilient, flexible foundation needed to deliver efficient, cost-effective services to the borough's citizens and business community.