High performance IaaS and a shift to digital services in partnership with Transputec and Microsoft

Guildford

The Diocesan IT consortium

The Diocesan IT Consortium comprises the three Church of England dioceses of Guildford, Winchester, and Portsmouth who are acting together to procure shared IT services and connectivity. Their region covers the counties of Surrey and Hampshire, as well as reaching into the borders of London, Sussex and Dorset.

IT services for the Consortium support approximately 270 staff, including senior clergy and volunteers.

Together, the three dioceses engage with:

  • more than 600 parishes
  • 800 church buildings
  • 220 church schools

Summary

When the Diocesan IT Consortium tendered for a new IT provider they were looking for a partner who could offer a true fully managed end to end service as well as support them to develop their future roadmap for significantly increased collaboration. With a multisite operation and the need to support virtual teams and sharing of information across organisational boundaries they were keen to exploit the opportunities of public cloud based technology and digital collaboration tools - but needed a strong partnership with an agile provider with the technical proficiency to support a stable and phased journey for their users.

There were several immediate challenges, including habitual performance issues, particularly with their VDI environment. This had resulted in low user confidence and a nervousness about IT change across their distributed user base. A fragmented arrangement of suppliers, local support and licence arrangements and legacy business systems also contributed to a diluted managed service experience and a concern about visibility of total cost. The Consortium decided to put the contract out to tender.

Synergies

During the tender process, the Consortium were impressed by Transputec’s understanding and appreciation of their business needs, ‘yes’ attitude and ability to think out of the box. Once on board, they carried out stakeholder engagement exercises, identifying pain points and building user profiles. Particular attention was paid to service users with low confidence in existing capabilities or those who were uncomfortable working within a new technical environment.

Peter Coles, Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Guildford:

“We both wanted a real partnership and Transputec listened to us and understood our motivations and vision. Together we developed a comprehensive roadmap that detailed our short and long-term goals. Transputec are clearly committed to joining us on our seven-year journey to ensure we make cost-effective use of cutting-edge technology and 21st century collaboration tools - whilst importantly maintaining the confidence of our users. They came brimming with ideas that were solution focussed and directly applicable to our unique business needs.”

Stuart Salt, Transputec Director of Services:

“In response to their tender, we provided the client with several options. It may have prolonged the procurement process, but we don’t just respond to what our customers say they want. We’re there to give them trusted advice. They really valued that.

“It was the start of a low-risk journey with a two-phased approach. Through solid testing and close collaboration, we moved them to an improved environment. We first migrated them from the incumbent’s private cloud to a hybrid system combining O365 and our private cloud. We are now stabilising and optimising core infrastructure performance, restoring user confidence before moving them fully to the public cloud.”

Digital Agenda

Following successful migration and stabilisation, the journey towards a modern digital agenda will start in earnest. With the historic tendency for information to be held in silos and individual dependent, the Consortium recognise the fundamental opportunity and benefit of improved collaboration across diocesan teams as well as with their many parishes and stakeholders.

Phase 1 of the digitisation process is transforming their engagement profile, supporting the removal of paper-based working and introducing digital platforms. Internal collaboration is being aided by Microsoft Teams, video conferencing and instant messaging.

During Phase 2, Sharepoint, Teams and OneDrive will enable them to move from ageing document management platforms and static folder structures, providing simpler sharing of, and access to, information and data across the dioceses, with parishes and stakeholders. The new tools will improve collaboration and automate workflows, allowing staff to meet anywhere and cutting down time taken on critical but often laborious paper-based processes.

Due to our framework contract, Transputec will be able to offer a basic email and VDI service package to the many parishes within the Consortium footprint – enabling them to secure access to a managed service and technical expertise that they would normally be able to reach or commonly afford.

What Transputec did

Navigate

  • Undertook a comprehensive audit of core infrastructure and IaaS hosting
  • Assessed network robustness, scalability and performance
  • Provided clear architectural view of AS-IS and TO-BE business and technology architectures and capabilities
  • Identified current levels of digital maturity, designing a roadmap for improvement to meet stakeholder and audience needs
  • Explored digital toolsets for collaboration and communication, including mobile technologies

Integrate

  • Migration from incumbent MSP’s private cloud to hybrid cloud, combining O365 and TransCloud.
  • Adoption of MS collaboration tools, Teams and OneDrive
  • Conducted LAN security and network segmentation
  • Implemented improved security posture across all Consortium platforms

Evolve

  • Migration from TransCloud to MS Azure Implementation
  • Migration from Invu Document Management System to SharePoint Online
  • Further exploration of enhanced security, cybersecurity, and online platforms
  • Commoditise and digitalise basic email and VDI services to churches and parishes within the Consortium footprint
  • Continuing innovation and IT based business projects over next 6 years

The Verdict

Peter Coles, Diocesan Secretary for the Diocese of Guildford:

“We wanted a strong relationship with our Managed Services Provider both in terms of supporting our business objectives and roadmaps across the Consortium, but also so that when things go wrong on the day to day delivery, they will be an engaged and responsive partner. We have positive two-way communication with Transputec and their speed of response and escalation processes are working really well for us and most importantly our users. In addition, there are good synergies between us. Our company values and ethos are well aligned.”

Matthew Jay, IT Service Contracts Manager, Diocese IT Consortium:

“We have transitioned seamlessly with a low-risk approach, and overcome the obstacles that we once faced on a daily basis. Transputec has delivered the outcomes we needed, both on-premises and in the Cloud and we look forward to the ongoing modernisation of our processes to enable greater collaboration and shared working across our staff and service users.”


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