A planned replacement programme to refresh the suite of three thousand corporate desktops and notebooks within Knowsley Council and to meet ad-hoc requirements within the primary and special schools of the borough.
Equanet fulfils orders for new hardware, takes the standard imaging for the hardware built by Knowsley Council's in-house technicians, and rolls it out onto all machines through its purpose-built configuration centre. The hardware is then delivered to any of the one hundred and fifty sites across the borough. An Equanet engineer installs the new hardware to desk, undertaking full testing of the new equipment, then disposing of the old equipment and packaging to agreed security and WEEE standards.
Experts in Configuration
When Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council (KMBC) was looking to refresh its entire suite of three thousand desktops and notebooks it undertook an OGC tender process to provide a managed service to support this planned replacement programme. Equanet's team of solutions specialists outlined the company's capabilities. Following the contract award, is Equanet was appointed as the PC supplier in a three year contract with a further two year option to extend. At the time of publication Equanet and KMBC are 18 months into the hardware refreshment project. Equanet was not appointed on its competitive pricing alone, although this was a pre-requisite to the contract being awarded. The selection criteria focused on technical merit and overall quality, service provider capacity, and lifecycle costs. Prior to contract signing Equanet arranged for a client visit to its in-house, purpose built configuration centre in North Manchester to agree processes for the contract.
Over the last 18 months Equanet fulfilled orders for new hardware, took the standard imaging for the hardware built by KMBC's in-house technicians, and rolled it out onto all machines through its configuration centre. It is here that Equanet manages the asset register for KMBC. The hardware was then delivered to one hundred and fifty sites across the Knowsley borough including council offices and primary schools. An engineer visited each site to install the new hardware to desk, undertake full testing of the new equipment, then dispose of the old equipment and packaging to agreed security and WEEE standards.
Working together in partnership
Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council has its own in-house team of fifty two technicians who support three thousand users and hundreds of applications. The team reviewed its costs and determined that it was not cost-effective to undertake installations in-house. Equanet's team of specialists has developed a close working relationship with KMBCs IT team and an end-to-end flow of processes. Steve Strickland is the Equanet Project Manager: "The team at KMBC wanted visibility of the project end-to-end. We agreed SLAs which provided the basis of the contract and arranged reporting streams and one single point of contact".
For Steve the relationship building was crucial to the smooth-running of the project. "We established good communication with KMBC's team; from the Head of IT through to the technical guys. We integrated at all points of contact". Andy Garden KMBC's Head of Information Technology agrees: "Overall the installations are going well; we're working together and learning from each other. We see it more as a partnership than anything else, mutually agreeing schedules and dates to provide the best possible value for money through bulk purchase and installation".
Cost savings through a council-wide approach
Cllr Norman Keats, Cabinet Member for Finance and IT, commented on the value of the council-wide approach adopted through the tender: "We have brought together a range of hardware budgets from across the authority and established a four year council-wide replacement programme. This means we are able to buy our replacement hardware in bulk and schedule the installations to reduce engineer travelling time. At a time when we face severe financial pressures, this approach has enabled the Council to make savings of £130k per annum whilst maintaining the high quality of equipment and services provided".
Compliance with borough council requirements
Given that hardware may need to be installed within its borough's schools, one of KMBC's key requirements was that all Equanet engineers needed to be CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) checked. Equanet took five weeks to ensure all its engineers went through this process.
Some of the machines installed have required encryption software. Wherever this is a requirement Equanet's engineer runs an encryption utility on all laptops (XP or Windows 7) that remotely dial into KMBC via remote access. This is run at the end user’s desk once connection to a local network is established. Once the laptop’s hard drive is encrypted the machine is configured for the end user, specifically personal data and Outlook details.
Disposal of end-of-life hardware
Equanet provides KMBC with a choice of on or off site data eradication. It is a fully certified, secure solution using Blanco software which ensures compliance with FISMA, HIPAA, SOX, FACT ACT and GLBA.
If required Equanet can destroy the physical hard drives on or off site guaranteeing that they will no longer be of use. The metals are then granulated and recycled for other use. CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, flash media and USB devices can also be destroyed.
The impact on the environment of IT hardware disposal is of paramount importance, as is a way of erasing your data, therefore our partners are fully compliant with legislations such as the WEEE Directive, Data Protection Act, Landfill Act, Hazardous Waste, Health & Safety Act, Environment Act, and Environmental Protection Act.
How Equanet can support your organisation
Our Solutions Architects will visit you on-site and undertake a capacity plan and business modelling to review and assess your existing IT infrastructure. Our team of specialist advisors will discuss your requirements for today, and for tomorrow. If one visit is not sufficient we will come back to ensure a full understanding of your IT needs. Our review will identify where your equipment is over- or under-utilised, and how your IT infrastructure can best support the overall needs of your organisation. By exploring with you the technologies available our Solutions Architects will help you find the right solution, recommend long and short-term fixes, and identify future opportunities.
Equanet is vendor neutral, with the highest level of accreditation from IT leading partners such as Lenovo, HP, Cisco, Microsoft, Dell and Apple, so you can be assured that the solution we design is the right one for your requirements.
Once the right solution has been agreed we will deliver the hardware at a time convenient to you. Our engineers can install on-site, or simply support your in-house IT team. We can also train your team in the new technology or support your remotely with access to knowledgeable professionals. We can offer full project management support through our PRINCE 2 accredited team, and our Account Managers will continue to support your needs and ensure you are happy with the solution implemented.