As a Local Government Organisation, Keynsham Town Council works at community level to provide quality local services, amenities and representation for the residents of the town to the best possible standard. The work of the Council is administered by 16 permanent or fixed-term members of staff, under the direction of the Town Clerk, and include the Grounds Maintenance team, Youth services Team and the Administration team based on the Town Council offices.
When the new Town Clerk commenced their position in May 2016, it soon became clear to them that the staff were becoming increasingly frustrated with the ageing IT infrastructure and that both the software platform and existing hardware were dramatically affecting efficiency. As a Town Council they were required by law to adhere to certain administrative deadlines in order for the Council to conduct its business legally and a couple of critical failures meant staff had to resort to taking work home with them and utilising their own PC’s in order to adhere to those deadlines.
It was at this point that the Town Clerk contacted soVision IT, in their capacity as an experienced local Bristol IT support provider, and asked them to recommend an alternative solution that addressed all the Council’s needs – including working to a modest budget whilst providing reliable hardware and software (including cloud backup) for the various members of staff.
“Keynsham Town Council contacted soVision IT to review the existing IT Infrastructure and recommend a new solution to meet changing needs including future integrative telephony and website provision for the Town Council. Following a comprehensive audit, soVision IT’s highly qualified professional services team recommended a full replacement infrastructure with minimal client impact, meeting both budget and timescales required. The proposal also provided the means to integrate future requirements such as telephony and website provision at a later date when Town Council finances permitted”, stated Alex Wellings, Operations Director at soVision IT.
But before the proposal could be accepted, it had to compete with three other alternative proposals and be considered at a full Town Council meeting in order to satisfy the Town Council’s financial regulations as a public body spending public money.
Dr. Cheryl Scott, Town Clerk, commented “The soVision proposal was not the cheapest in respect of initial capital outlay – but it certainly represented the best value for money on an ongoing basis in comparison to either the existing situation or the other proposals. It was well thought out, they were the only company to perform a proper audit, and it was clear that the soVision IT staff had listened carefully, understood, and responded appropriately to, the Town Council’s various needs. The Town Council obviously felt so too”.
soVision IT recommended a complete IT solution to resolve all problems and frustrations. This included implementing an Office 365 Tenancy, a network backbone upgrade and an entirely new client server infrastructure. They also resolved potential IT security issues with the existing public wireless network and to maximise the performance and reliability of the new solution, soVision IT proposed proactively monitoring and managing the new system 24/7 by using the soVision IT IT Managed Services.
The Town Clerk commented, “Whist the proposal was attractive, it still had to be implemented involving minimal disruption to the Town Council. It was scheduled to occur at the end of March when we were also trying to perform year end procedures. Again, soVision IT were impressive in their careful planning and logistics proposals and in actual fact the Town Council were only without PC’s for one day.”
Older hardware that had reached the end of its lifecycle was replaced by newer hardware. This reduced the risk of client machine failure and consequent downtime, as well as ensuring that hardware runs against a warranty contract at all times. The new hardware was mostly configured off-site in advance of the changeover. soVision IT then successfully and seamlessly migrated all mail services to Office 365. This included the reconfiguration of the local network to allow the use of the new cloud service and the replacement of the previously used hosted email platform. A small on site server maintains the connection between on premise and Office 365.
Keynsham Town Council now maintain an ongoing Managed IT Support Services contract with soVision IT. Managed Services allows Keynsham Town Council to operate safe in the knowledge that all systems are being monitored and maintained. The Managed IT Service agreement in place allows Keynsham Town Council unlimited remote support to resolve any problems that arise and due to 24/7 monitoring, soVision IT are aware of hardware and performance issues, often before they arise.
The Town Clerk agreed to a final comment as follows: “As someone who previously worked in a competitive business environment, I am well aware of how IT can impact on performance. The Town Council now has a reliable IT system that meets the current and future needs of its staff and Councillors, provided by a local supplier that has not only demonstrated a high standard of both expertise and customer service, but also clearly wishes to contribute further to the community in this area”.