This healthcare professional body wanted to simplify management of its complex IT environment, address complex user demands, and reduce operational costs. Vohkus created an all-inclusive fixed-price solution fronted by an onsite help desk that saved £0.5m+ over three years.
From new infrastructure to managed service
The client is a professional membership body for doctors in the UK and overseas, with over 49,000 members that it supports and trains throughout their professional lives. It promotes effective and sustainable primary care worldwide. The organisation employs 300 staff.
Since 2012 the organisation has been headquartered in north London. Its systems had previously grown in an ad-hoc manner and it had been forced to rapidly upgrade and standardise the entire network within 12 weeks when moving to temporary accommodation in 2010 after its former headquarters building was sold. Vohkus provided professional services, project management, systems and solutions during these relocations as the client moved from a physical to virtual infrastructure with hosted servers and storage. Mobile working, IP telephony, and business contingency solutions were all implemented simultaneously.
Vohkus had been selected following a competitive request for proposal (RFP). Its team replicated all the applications and services (being run on more than 40 physical servers) to the new virtualised infrastructure, hosted in two separate data centres in London. Vohkus migrated applications from the physical systems and carried out testing, movement and implementation of the virtualised servers and storage resources in the data centres. Engineers put the latest networking infrastructure into the new premises, providing 180 laptops for the client. Vohkus even helped implement a ‘follow-me’ printing solution consolidating more than 100 printers down to just seven.
The client’s IT and facilities manager was impressed with the abilities of the Vohkus engineers and project managers: “They are immensely technically-capable; I’d spent money with IT suppliers before and not got that comfort factor. Vohkus’s project manager was probably the best I’d ever come across. They also have a good supply chain and they are ruthlessly efficient. They don’t take you for granted in any way.”
Following implementation, new servers and applications could be added and made available on the virtual infrastructure, at any time, without incurring any major additional costs. The client realised this made the new infrastructure easier to manage and maintain, with a notably reduced dependency on internal IT staff. As a result it began a competitive tender process to outsource management of the environment, and Vohkus won this under an initial three-year deal.
Managed service requirements
The managed service requirement arose because the client still needed to maintain a complex environment capable of addressing multiple user demands. The infrastructure had to remain healthy at all times, and the selected service provider needed to demonstrate clear control of resource and support costs. The client’s managed service RFP therefore had four key prerequisites:
- Basic service fundamentals. Clearly define and maintain a set of core services well, maintaining availability in line with defined performance measures.
- Define a clear architecture strategy for new functionality, and an infrastructure roadmap for sustainability; ensure that the foundations of the service are understood and well-designed.
- Deliver projects and change management. Demonstrate quality, agility and innovation in solutions development; deliver seamless implementation without pain to plan and to budget.
- Govern IT as part of the College’s investment portfolio effectively. Aim was to keep costs level but reduce run costs to enable investment in continual improvement.
Vohkus assumed responsibility for the client’s service management and IT infrastructure services in August 2014. Under the agreement, Vohkus made all its specialist resources available for escalation on an as-and-when basis, managed and co-ordinated through an onsite help desk. In order to ensure continuity and prevent the client losing valuable knowledge, six members of the client’s IT staff were successfully integrated into Vohkus via a TUPE process. Vohkus transitioned the services with minimal impact to the college, and immediately implemented a transformation programme to provide an uplift and improvement in delivery.
The operational scope of the delivery model includes technical resourcing to maintain the ongoing technical integrity of the estate. To ensure transparency and to keep the client’s management team fully informed, a reporting regime was established to demonstrate this integrity, along with a sustained programme to ensure that the client remains current in terms of technical ability.
Vohkus manages, maintains and tracks all assets within the client utilised centrally and by its other sites. In order to drive continuous improvement in supplier services, Vohkus manages all suppliers involved in the client’s infrastructure, and co-ordinates regular update meetings and service improvement plans.
Everything is managed under a single agreement. Specific service towers for which Vohkus has operational and improvement responsibility include:
- Service management for desktop, file and print, Active Directory and IP services.
- Server management and hosting.
- Storage and backup.
- Application support.
- Network management, remote access, telephony and video/web/conferencing.
- Out-of-hours support and security advice.
- Procurement and management of third parties.
By consolidating resourcing and support into one contract, the client gained access to Vohkus technical skills, escalation and support within a fixed timescales, while ensuring the infrastructure remained well-managed and developed in line with best practice approaches. All third party support costs were absorbed into the main agreement with Vohkus.
During the three-year term of the initial agreement, additional efficiencies realised by Vohkus meant that renewal of the arrangement was unlikely to exceed the price of the original contract. It is estimated that overall savings of over £0.5 million were achieved during the initial contract period.