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BT IP Connect converged broadband network paves the way for fresh thinking and shared services
Norfolk County Council was keen to deliver services in fresh ways, even to the tiniest hamlets. But Karen O’Kane had a tight budget and a lot of ground to cover with it.
That’s why she called in the BT team. Now, a cost effective BT IP Connect network embraces residents, businesses, and council employees – along with children in 450 schools – right across Norfolk.
The sums add up. They all get more. And Karen knows everything’s ready for the opening of the PSN and a future of greater teamwork and shared services too.
The BT infrastructure provides us with the flexibility to integrate new systems as business needs change and more sophisticated technologies evolve. It represents a fundamental foundation that will allow us to move forward with our plans for more effective and efficient service delivery.”
- Karen O’Kane, Head of ICT, Norfolk County Council
The county of Norfolk in the east of England has a comparatively low population density, and significant distances between towns and cities, making it ideally placed to use IP-based communications to transform public services delivery.
Karen O’Kane, Head of ICT at Norfolk County Council, says: “We have to achieve a £155 million budget reduction over the next three years. It’s absolutely critical that we have best-in-class IT services and a communications partner proactively supporting our Norfolk Forward transformation programme.”
Beyond such immediate considerations, account needed to be taken of the UK Government’s Public Services Network (PSN) initiative. In fact, there is already a shared network between Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Schools, Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
A contract with BT for the provision of wide area network, telephony, and internet services was signed.
Karen O’Kane explains that choice: “We must demonstrate excellent value for money for all customers and public sector partners. BT understands our challenges and ambitions and is fundamental to achieving them.”
Under the five-year deal, BT is providing Norfolk County Council with a converged IP Connect broadband network interconnecting around 20,000 staff at some 700 sites. A BT Connect Intelligence network optimisation service underpins that converged network, ensuring critical applications perform as expected.
In addition, IP telephony means that agents in the Council’s multimedia contact centre are able to bring expert Council people onto a call where necessary, and calls can be transferred anywhere within the Norfolk organisation. Furthermore, agents can work securely from home or other offices, for example to help manage peak workloads.
Meanwhile, BT MobileXpress provides remote access services to release the power of flexible working for the 5,000 staff whose Council jobs take them out into the field. Finally, BT is supplying and managing the Norfolk Schools Internet Exchange (NSIX), which offers a secure online multimedia learning platform for the 450 schools across the county.
The network gives enhanced connectivity to communities and public service organisations. It also provides a resilient high-bandwidth platform for new business applications and back office systems. Furthermore, it furnishes Norfolk with a blueprint aligned to the UK PSN vision. BT MobileXpress secure remote access allows Council staff to use applications they rely on to carry out their duties, both from home and in the field.
Already, other local authorities such as Great Yarmouth District Council are taking advantage of shared services.
Karen O’Kane says: “The transfer of Great Yarmouth District Council ICT Services to Norfolk County Council has enabled the District to benefit from our fully managed voice and data services contract with BT.”
The BT Connect Intelligence service ensures optimum bandwidth use while providing proactive network monitoring tools.
Paul Fisher, Assistant Director for Children’s Services at Norfolk County Council, says: “A BT monitoring service based on Compuware Technology provides analyses of how schoolchildren are collaborating, accessing the web, and utilising online learning.”
Meanwhile, the Children’s Services ICT team will be using the BT On Demand Compute service, which offers a virtual data centre, to centrally run its SIF (systems interoperability framework) and SSO (single sign-on) applications.
This has been a large, complex, and fast-paced project,” concludes Karen O’Kane. “The combined Norfolk County Council and BT team has worked incredibly hard to achieve such success.”
The BT support wrap includes service delivery and provisioning, 24*7 network management and monitoring, and management of billing processes. A single point of contact help desk ensures optimum service levels.
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