BRENT COUNCIL IT STRATEGY

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1 BRENT COUNCIL IT STRATEGY

2 Contents 1 Introduction Empowering our customers Client Index Customer contact Tools for the Job Printing and scanning Desktop PCs Electronic Document Management (EDM) Joined-up Communications Conferencing and collaboration IT for Members Preparing for the future Data centres Efficient and secure networks Cloud computing Keeping us secure The Civic Centre IT Business requirements IT Service transformation IT service management IT governance Green agenda Partners and Suppliers Hybrid partnership model Software and hardware procurement Local and national partnerships Funding and Resources IT staffing IT funding Direction of travel Document Control Revision History Version Date Description of change to the document Author(s) /06/10 First draft and amendments Dane Wright /06/10 Financial details and Civic Centre tasks added Dane Wright /06/10 Suggestions from consultation included Dane Wright /06/10 Suggestions from CMT included Dane Wright /09/10 External version Dane Wright IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 1

3 1 Introduction The IT Strategy for will focus on four primary objectives: Supporting the council s customer service plans Enabling the council to meet the financial challenges of the next three years Supporting the council s move to the new Civic Centre in 2013 Improving the quality and management of council information IT has a critical role to play in supporting the council s transformation agenda in providing more efficient ways of working for staff and improving services for the public. The financial constraints facing the council mean that there will be an increased emphasis on the role that IT and efficient information management can play in providing efficiency savings through increased automation and a more productive working environment. The previous IT Strategy focussed on the need to upgrade and improve the council s IT infrastructure with the result that Brent now has one of the most modern and cost effective IT platforms in UK local government. A key task over the period of the new strategy will be to maximise the exploitation and potential of existing IT assets. IT developments over the next three years will be focussed on supporting the key council projects identified as part of the One Council programme and arising from the council s overall Corporate & Community Strategy. Brent has achieved national recognition for excellence in several areas such as customer data management, technical knowledge, the council website and the use of e-auctions. It expects to continue to be known for its excellence in these and to develop further areas. The IT Strategy will support national IT related initiatives from central government around transparency, open data and personalisation. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 2

4 2 Empowering our customers IT makes a major contribution to improving services to our customers through support and provision of key IT systems, the council s Internet presence and the development of high quality customer information via the Client Index. Although face-to-face meetings or telephone contact with council staff will be appropriate in many cases, the general trend is to towards using online transactions as the most cost effective channel for customer contact. Over the next three years the council expects to provide for increasing usage of online self-service facilities by the public. Online authentication which will allow the public to access and submit personal data will be provided through the use of the Government Gateway facility or a suitable alternative. A major project reshaping Customer Contact across the council commenced in 2010 and this will determine the priorities for IT in this area. 2.1 Client Index In 2009 Brent won the prestigious Best Use of Data in the Public Sector award for its Client Index which links customer information from the council s key back office systems. Exploitation of the Client Index including usage of customer insight data, property database and GIS mapping will be a core feature of improving customer services in Brent and it is one of the key IT systems in the Reshaping Customer Contact project. The Client Index is also a key resource for the council s involvement in government initiatives such as Tell Us Once (minimising the need for citizens to repeatedly provide the same data) and Total Place (coordinating local community partnership working). The Client Index will allow the council to provide joined-up service offers in collaboration with other public sector agencies. Over the next three years development of the Client Index will concentrate on increasing the number of source systems, further integration with back office systems to reduce manual staff activity and support continuous improvement in data quality. It will also be used to provide verifiable evidence of population figures and turnover across the borough to support initiatives in the Corporate & Community Strategy. 2.2 Customer contact IT systems which support customer contact include the website, online forms, management, telephony and the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There has been significant investment in most of these areas over the last few years and this can be exploited by the Reshaping Customer Contact project. Brent was one of only 11 councils in the UK to achieve a 4 star rating for its website in 2010 and the only one in London. A new web Content Management system was implemented in 2009 and further development priorities for the website will be primarily determined by the Reshaping Customer Contact project but will also need to ensure that it keeps pace with progress in the areas of social media, open data and content syndication. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 3

5 The promotion of electronic self-service facilities will be a major objective over the next three years and a project for the improvement of both public and internal eforms started in early The council has recently replaced its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and future development will be determined by the Customer Contact project but is likely to include integration with further appropriate back office systems, the telephony environment and more widespread use across the council. 3 Tools for the Job The last three years have seen major changes to basic council-wide IT systems such as (migration from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange/Outlook), telephony (migration from analogue to IP telephony) and home working (increased capacity and improved security). Developments over the next three years will build on these foundations with the introduction of multi-function printing/scanning, replacement of desktop PCs, implementation of SharePoint for document management and more advanced facilities for collaboration such as video-conferencing. 3.1 Printing and scanning The council intends to replace all of its printers, copiers and scanners by multi-function devices and an OGC tender was issued in March 2010 with expected implementation in early This will lead to substantial savings on old equipment leases, reduced costs of printing, improved environmental compliance and a greater emphasis on electronic rather than printed documentation. This is a key enabler for flexible working and moving to the Civic Centre. 3.2 Desktop PCs It is planned to adopt a thin client virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to replace the current use of desktop PCs. Procurement will commence in This will support the energy efficiency ratings in the Civic Centre and provide a more cost effective desktop solution for flexible working. 3.3 Electronic Document Management (EDM) The council intends to move from a paper based environment to one where all documents and records will be stored electronically. This process has already started in some areas of the council and will need to be complete before the move to the Civic Centre (which will have minimal storage facilities for paper). Information Governance policies will be developed to assist the transition to EDM and a Brent Classification Scheme which will assign document retention periods for records management is being developed. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 4

6 The council intends to use SharePoint as its primary electronic document and records management solution. It will be implemented in stages to replace shared network drives for holding working documents, to replace existing document management systems such as Lotus Dom.Doc as they reach the end of their life cycle. It will complement and eventually replace the current Intranet for internal knowledge management and collaboration. Workflow and business process management (BPM) tools will be sourced from third party organisations until suitable facilities are provided though SharePoint itself. Assuming that funding is agreed then SharePoint will be implemented in 2011 and will initially focus on replacing network drives before the move to the Civic Centre in Joined-up Communications Digital IP Telephony is replacing the previous telephony system and together with Office Communications server will provide a unified communications environment which will support flexible and home working. Extension numbers will follow staff wherever they logon to the council network and voic will be available though inboxes. 3.5 Conferencing and collaboration Microsoft Office Communicator is being installed as part of the rollout of Exchange and IP Telephony and this will provide the basis for improved collaboration between staff and increased usage of audio and video conferencing. The new system will show the status of staff available/ busy/out of office - to assist flexible working and these facilities will be extended to appropriate external organisations to allow more efficient communications with partners. 3.6 IT for Members Brent councillors will be provided with appropriate technology which will also allow them to make maximum use of the new facilities in the Civic Centre. 4 Preparing for the future 4.1 Data centres As part of the rationalisation of the IT infrastructure during the previous IT Strategy the council consolidated its IT estate into two new single high performance and energy efficient data centres linked by an optical fibre network. These provide an efficient and resilient IT environment. Over 200 servers have been consolidated and virtualised with significant improvements in manageability and carbon footprint. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 5

7 4.2 Efficient and secure networks The council in the process of installing its own optical fibre links between key office locations to provide efficiency savings and adequate capacity for growth in network traffic. The council participates in the London Public Service Network (LPSN) which provides a secure network linking London boroughs, central government and government agencies such as the NHS. This is a key component in plans for secure data sharing with partner organisations. Brent makes use of this at present for telephony links to West London authorities with plans for links to the London Library Consortium and the NHS. 4.3 Cloud computing The data centres will continue to provide the basis for IT services over the next three years but in the longer term it is expected that components of the IT infrastructure will be transferred to secure external arrangements in the government G-Cloud environment. Cloud computing is part of the path from the use of individual servers for each application towards an infrastructure free environment where computing resources are available on demand like other utilities. Specified Each application is hosted on specified servers Virtualised Computing capacity is combined from multiple local servers Applications tied to pools of computing resource rather than individual servers (Brent is here now) Cloud Large data centres hold thousands of servers Computing capacity pooled across multiple locations and accessed on demand by customers The council has already made moves in this direction through being the first public sector organisation to use Microsoft s cloud based SharePoint service for the Civic Centre team. 5 Keeping us secure Information security has become critically important in the last few years. The well-publicised loss of information by major organisations has resulted in significant change in attitude across central and local government. Security is now a key aspect of any changes made to our IT systems and procedures. The security environment we have to comply with will become more rigorous and demanding over the next three years. A loss of public trust in our ability to protect information would have a major impact on the business case for moving more services online. Avoiding loss of confidential data will be a priority and new measures will be introduced to control the use of removable media such as USB devices and encrypt data on laptops. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 6

8 6 The Civic Centre The new Civic Centre is planned to be available in early It aims to be the greenest public sector building in the UK and this will require the IT facilities to meet exacting targets for environmental performance. The Civic Centre will make use of several IT related initiatives around flexible working, improved document management and reduced energy consumption. The building itself will employ IT extensively in its environmental management. The requirement for a paper-free working environment is a key driver in the transition to using SharePoint and multi-function devices for scanning and printing. One of the data centres will move to the Civic Centre and the other is currently planned to move to the new Willesden Green development. Given that the staff will already be using the new technology before they move into the Civic Centre the main business challenge will be for the council to change its culture and processes to make the most effective use of both the Civic Centre design and the available technology. The table in Appendix 1 provides greater detail on what needs to happen by December IT Business requirements 7.1 IT Service transformation The One Council Business Support project will determine the shape and form of all internal support services but it is expected that the ongoing transformation of the service that the IT Unit provides for its customers will continue over the next three years. Wherever possible the IT Service will employ its own use of technology and data management to improve the quality of its service to customers and current plans include increased self-service through a new Service Desk system and password reset facilities for 24 hour working. As the IT infrastructure becomes more reliable it is expected that there will be less need to raise issues through the service desk. 7.2 IT service management The IT Unit is in the process of adopting the ITIL service management framework to ensure that it can provide a more dynamic, effective, controlled and efficient IT environment which is aligned with business requirements in the council. Incident and Change Management have already been implemented and over the next three years these will be consolidated and Problem, Asset and Configuration Management will be introduced. The TCO model which was introduced during the previous IT Strategy has made expenditure on IT services more transparent and allowed the cost of IT services to be incorporated in the business case for new developments. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 7

9 7.3 IT governance The current arrangements for IT governance using an IT Steering Group composed of departmental representatives will need to be augmented by a more focussed process of aligning IT priorities with those of the key One Council projects. It is expected that this will be assisted by the use of better information on IT business requirements from the council s Project and Programme Management framework. IT and data management requirements are part of the council s formal project management methodology allowing requirements for IT to be identified at an early stage and investment plans to be part of the project business case. 7.4 Green agenda In alignment with the objectives of the Corporate & Community Strategy IT has a key role to play in reducing the council s carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency through the introduction of multi-function devices for printing and copying (estimated 25 tonnes of CO2 saving per year), virtual desktop infrastructure to replace PCs and the move towards a electronic document management with SharePoint. 8 Partners and Suppliers 8.1 Hybrid partnership model Although some areas are outsourced, IT provision is primarily provided in-house but employing strategic links with key suppliers and partners to create a hybrid IT environment. Financially Brent has been a very low investor in IT (currently the second lowest in London) and has one of the smallest IT teams. The hybrid model that has been developed enables the council to maximise its own limited resources and have a flexible and cost efficient arrangement with its key partners. The fact that only four years ago the council had one of the most antiquated IT infrastructures and now has one of the most modern reflects the success of this strategy. 8.2 Software and hardware procurement Although the council currently bases its primary infrastructure around the Microsoft product set it will consider alternative options including Open Source where these will provide cost effective strategic solutions. It is planned to investigate and pilot open source alternatives to Microsoft Office to identify cost savings in advance of the move to thin client desktops. Major procurements are advertised either through OJEU or OGC and Brent has been a successful proponent of reverse e-auctions for servers and PCs. Annual supplier days are used to engage and develop links with the supplier community. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 8

10 8.3 Local and national partnerships The IT Unit has been a strong supporter of sub-regional IT partnerships such as the West London Alliance (WLA) and Connected London in Capital Ambition. It expects to contribute to cross-boundary working with the NHS, Met Police and voluntary sector organisations and to support any IT initiatives associated with the 2012 Olympics. Brent IT has been closely involved in several central government initiatives such as Local Directgov in the past and is supporting projects such as Tell Us Once which promote joint working to improve services to the public. 9 Funding and Resources 9.1 IT staffing A review will be carried out of all IT staff resources across the council to identify current IT related roles and how these could fit into a new One Council IT function to provide a more flexible, cost effective and customer centred IT service. This review follows similar One Council reviews in HR, Finance and Property Services. 9.2 IT funding It is expected that many of the IT developments required from the One Council transformation projects will make use of IT facilities which have already been put into place but others are yet to identify the nature and scale of their IT requirements. IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 9

11 Information Technology 10 Direction of travel A summary diagram of the IT Strategy shows the direction of travel and indicative timelines for some of the key initiatives. 1.Software and procurement IT Strategy Outlook rollout MFD printer rollout Data centre relocation IP Telephony rollout VDI PC replacement Web offer launched Civic Centre opens SharePoint implementation Client Index expansion Information classification scheme developed CRM for internal use Records Management implementation IT Service Desk redeveloped IT Strategy People IT Service transformation E-Forms project Process IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 10

12 IT Strategy Version: 0.8 Page 11

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