Merging Councils' IT Services – It’s all about the applications

Written by Richard Ingram on 7 September 2015 in Sponsored Article
Sponsored Article

Merging Councils' IT Services is all about the applications says Richard Ingram, Cloud Solutions Architect at public cloud consultancy SystemsUp, part of the iomart group

A report to be considered by councillors this week recommends that the London boroughs of Camden & Islington should merge their IT services.

If given the go ahead it will be a big project, with 300 staff being brought together under the leadership of one person and a joint committee of representatives from both councils to hasten the digitalisation transformation of council services in the area.

While much of the pre-decision talk has been around the cost savings that would be made – around £4m a year - one of the biggest efficiencies could be made from a detailed analysis of the applications that both councils are currently using.  


Related content:
The transformational power of the Cloud for mobile user engagement​
Procuring cloud backup via G Cloud: A case study of Essex County Fire & Rescue Service​


For any councils merging their IT systems the benefits don’t necessarily come with the merger of the people but rather the merger of the applications that have been created to help deliver services to those councils’ users.  

It can be relatively straight forward to share commodity services like filing, printing, email, internet access and content filtering for instance. This is often where a cloud service can be leveraged to save time.

Where it can prove a much harder challenge is in the bespoke business applications which in most cases have been customised for the individual councils.

Mapping all the business applications that are used and noting which ones are the same or share the same function is in itself a costly and time-consuming piece of work. Then comes the process of merging the ones that can be brought together or cancel each other out and deciding how to tackle the remaining disparate applications over time.

Best benefit and value at this stage is to move to a SaaS based cloud model for all the applications that have been identified as needing transformation.

There are two steps:
1. Merge business application functionality for both councils
2.  Use the application merge as an opportunity to re-architect for a cloud SaaS model

The benefits of using a SaaS model will be much reduced integration and development time and faster innovation and iteration of software improvements.

There will be many other challenges – such as addressing the pace at which the change will take place and any skills gaps that existing staff have. Strong web development skills are likely required in order to help facilitate the merger and if those don’t exist within the councils they will need to be brought in.

Simply merging or trying to merge applications based on traditional and legacy application stacks won’t move the councils forward and will result in a severely constrained operating environment that restricts the ability to deliver improved services to staff and customers.

Richard Ingram is Cloud Solutions Architect at public cloud consultancy SystemsUp, part of G-Cloud accredited cloud company iomart. Leveraging its assured CloudEconomics™ SystemsUp  can objectively recommend best value public cloud providers and offers an objective and fully agnostic review and appraisal of strategic programmes of work as well as assisting in their timely and effective delivery.

Tags

Share this page

Tags

Related Articles

Is G-Cloud broken?
6 December 2018

For all its good intentions, the government's flagship digital services framework remains hamstrung by the wrong strategy and technical challenges, believes Romy Hughes of Brightman

How Devo Manc is driving health and social care transformation
7 November 2018

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership’s chief digital officer talks PublicTechnology through the organisation’s work to drive standardisation and consistency across...

NHS Scotland to standardise on Office 365 and Windows 10
2 November 2018

Potential five-year deal with Microsoft will see over 100 systems merged into one platform

Finance regulator preps for major cloud migration
25 October 2018

The Financial Conduct Authority is to launch a four-year framework for technology and services to support a move to cloud computing

Related Sponsored Articles

Balancing security and digital transformation
26 October 2018

With the annual worldwide cost of cybercrime set to double from $3tn in 2015 to $6tn by 2021, BT offers advice on how chief information security officers can better protect their...

How the Internet of Things is revolutionising business
26 November 2018

BT thinks The Internet of Things is about to undergo a revolution. Over the past two decades, we've seen IoT tech evolve from a possibility, to a novelty, to an established tool that plays a vital...

Quantum cryptography and the future of security
19 November 2018

Quantum computers will soon make some of our strongest encryption useless. And that's where quantum cryptography comes in