Explore how Brentwood Borough Council’s small IT team leveraged Nerdio to ‘do more with less’ while improving service to their community of over 75,000 residents.
Brentwood Borough Council, a regional government organisation located just outside of London, serves over 75,000 residents with a small IT team. Facing limited resources and increasing service delivery challenges, the council embarked on a digital transformation journey in 2017. By 2018, Brentwood Borough Council had fully migrated to the cloud and were looking into virtual desktop solutions to help employees better serve the community.
Originally, the IT team used an on-premise legacy virtual desktop offering, but it quickly became apparent there were too many unnecessary features that didn’t provide value. They needed a simplified solution that could augment the power of a small team and support their journey to the cloud. After achieving this and successfully moving their own in-house Microsoft solution to the cloud in 2018, over time it became increasingly difficult to manage and costs began to creep up once more.
“With the previous virtual desktop, we did not have the option to scale up and down. Not only was that expensive, but it also unnecessarily expanded the council’s carbon footprint,” said Tim Huggins, Corporate Manager – IT, Brentwood Borough Council. “Like many other Local Authorities we had the challenge to do more with less – scale our operations, while driving down costs and maintaining our commitment to the green agenda.”
To address these compute needs, while reducing the environmental impact, bolstering security and improving the employee experience – Tim Huggins and his team began to look into Nerdio Manager for Enterprise as they migrated to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD).
Empowering IT & Inspiring a Culture Shift
In 2020, Brentwood Borough Council also launched a new digital strategy to specifically improve three digital themes – customer experience (CX), data security and employee experience (EX). Nerdio would prove to be a critical partner in enhancing the employee experience and supporting the transformation.
Following a small proof of concept, the immediate benefits of Nerdio Manager in supporting Brentwood’s digital themes were clear. Nerdio became an integral part of the IT team, providing an intuitive user interface while improving scalability on-demand and greatly simplifying management of Brentwood’s virtual desktop solution.
“Nerdio made it possible for our small IT team to accomplish more with less,” noted Tim Huggins. “It was like hiring a whole new employee to reduce some of the burden on the team and improve work-life balance. IT no longer had to work odd hours supporting the virtual desk because Nerdio’s ‘set and forget’ functionality was able to automate so much of the critical tasks that would normally have to be done out of hours.”
Huggins continued, “Nerdio allowed us to prepare our ‘golden’ images during working hours and deploy out of hours. Patching and critical updates can now be managed and responded to in a timely manner, keeping the working environment secure and optimised for the council, allowing the Officers to continue to provide the high level of service to our residents that is required.”
Nerdio’s Impact & ROI
In addition to improving the experience of the IT team, Nerdio also ensures other employees have the access to mission critical business applications via AVD. The contact centre as well as the licensing, planning and finance teams use these applications every day to keep the council’s operations running smoothly. With the adoption of hybrid working most employees have the flexibility to work how and where they want to deliver the necessary services to the people of Brentwood. Virtual desktops must run optimally, and Nerdio is a key factor in making this possible.
However, Brentwood’s strategic digital concept ‘high availability by design’ has the ability to become expensive quickly. With Nerdio, IT has visibility into how users are actually leveraging the facilities and can fine tune use to keep costs under control.
“There should never be a time when an employee can’t log on to their system, but we still want to be careful about consumption from both an economic and environmental perspective,” said Tim. “Now we can use the dashboard to monitor activity and scale compute in real time, but also use the information from reporting to change the algorithms to adapt to demand and ensure a seamless employee experience.”
As a result Brentwood Borough Council estimates this has saved 0.5 FTE. The sophisticated reporting that Nerdio Manager provides also allows IT to be more transparent about usage and cost.
“As a Local Authority, we strive to achieve value for money for ratepayers,” Tim Huggins continued. “Now I’m able to have better, more informed conversations around costs. The reporting makes it simple to justify our spend on our virtual desktops or elaborate on how we can alter our usage to change it.”
Finally, in the current climate, security has never been more of a concern. Before implementing Nerdio Manager, the IT team didn’t have the resources necessary to securely manage all of the images and updates, in a timely manner .
“Without Nerdio, our virtual desktop environment performance would have degraded thus undermining service delivery,” explained Tim Huggins. “Not only would it be more difficult to use the applications, but we would have a much greater cyber risk without being able to keep up with patching. On top of everything else our costs would continue to rise. Nerdio has been a real asset for the team, helping us to do more with less and supporting our digital ambitions.”
“We are pleased to see how Nerdio has been instrumental in helping the organisation achieve its business and technology goals,” said Tom Archer, Regional Sales Manager UK, Nerdio. “Nerdio Manager for Enterprise is the perfect solution to enable smaller IT teams to get the most out of their Microsoft investments while simplifying operations and lowering the associated Azure costs. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.”