CDW helps Warwickshire County Council implement a more unified approach to device management, providing flexible finance to support the deployment of 4,500 Microsoft Surface Pro devices.
White Glove services delivered through CDW’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) ensures end-to-end device configuration and delivery, on budget and ahead of schedule.
Zero-touch set up allows Warwickshire County Council’s IT team to deploy the devices quickly and efficiently, enabling employees to get up and running without delay.
Warwickshire County Council
Warwickshire County Council governs the county of Warwickshire in England, providing a full range of services to partners and communities in the region.
These services include education, social care, health, waste and recycling, and the management of roads and transport systems.
The Council employs just over 4,500 people located across multiple sites, in a mixture of home, office and customer-facing roles.
Warwickshire County Council was keen to leverage Microsoft technologies, selecting Surface Pro devices with Office 365. CDW, in partnership with Microsoft, was selected to scope-out and implement the project, with full responsibility for configuring and deploying the devices.
Cost models were assessed through CDW’s dedicated Payment Solutions Team. This resulted in a tailor-made finance solution which enabled Warwickshire County Council to switch from a CapEx to an OpEx model and introduce the devices across the organisation in one go. The payment solution was deemed crucial to the project, as it allowed the Council to conserve capital and reduce the total cost of ownership of the new devices.
Like many local authorities, Warwickshire County Council has come under increasing financial pressure in recent years, with budgets being cut at a time when demand for public services has continued to rise. These pressures were being compounded by what had been an ad-hoc approach to IT provision, with hardware and software being updated on a yearly cycle when funding became available.
This disjointed approach meant that council teams responsible for delivering essential services were using many different combinations of devices, resulting in a poor user-experience and a lack of effective collaboration across the organisation.
“It was clear that we needed to rethink our IT strategy and give our workforce the tools they needed to do their jobs,” says Muhammed Asghar, Device Support & Development Manager at Warwickshire County Council. “
The use of eight different combinations of devices meant staff could not work as effectively as they wanted. It was also expensive to maintain so many different builds. It made more sense to provide employees with the same device, no matter what they did in the organisation, as we felt this would result in the delivery of improved services to our partners and communities across the region.”
The challenge for the organisation was to acquire and deploy a total of 4,500 new devices at a time when finances were being reduced. The undertaking of a project at such scale required a more flexible approach to IT management that would provide better visibility of ongoing costs.
Warwickshire County Council was keen to leverage Microsoft technologies, selecting Surface Pro devices with Office 365. CDW, in partnership with Microsoft, was selected to scope-out and implement the project, with full responsibility for configuring and deploying the devices. Cost models were assessed through CDW’s dedicated Payment Solutions Team.
This resulted in a tailor-made finance solution which enabled Warwickshire County Council to switch from a CapEx to an OpEx model and introduce the devices across the organisation in one go. The payment solution was deemed crucial to the project, as it allowed the Council to conserve capital and reduce the total cost of ownership of the new devices.
CDW and Microsoft worked closely together to plan configuration and deployment at scale. The Surface Pro devices needed to be pre-installed with Office 365, security updates and policies, enabling the Council’s IT team to implement a ‘zero-touch’ approach to deployment which would get users up and running without delay. The best solution for this requirement was CDW’s White Glove configuration services, which could be used to offer end-to-end provision of the devices in a flexible manner from its National Distribution Centre.
These services included applying the right image and profile to each device and performing Microsoft Autopilot upload – the addition of a collection of technologies used to pre-configure new devices, getting them ready for productive use. Screen protectors were also added to each device in a highly controlled environment prior to shipment. This was all completed at a capacity that would satisfy the Council’s ambitious deployment requirements.
“Our role was to accelerate the configuration and deployment programme through our experience of utilising Autopilot and our White Glove services at the NDC,” says Rob Hutchings, Strategy Lead for Local Government at CDW. “We had the right blend of technical skills to deliver the project under what was a tight timeline – and we could do it at scale.” In collaboration with Microsoft’s Partner Centre, CDW prepped and provisioned each device with all necessary software, security updates and policies. This process was overseen by Stuart Randall, Consultant Team Leader at CDW’s NDC. “We started by configuring the first few devices from a test point of view, and everything went according to plan.
“The challenge, then, was to increase capacity, and that required earmarking sufficient space inside our 120,000 square foot NDC. At the peak of the programme, we had around 80 devices going down two separate lanes. After the configuration was completed, the final task then was to apply glass screen protectors which the team needed to be extremely careful with, ensuring there was no dust on the surface whilst applying."
Once this process was completed, the NDC then managed full logistical organisation including packaging and despatch, with the devices safely delivered to the Council’s IT team. “The NDC is an incredibly slick operation and it managed all aspects of the project in a smooth and organised manner,” says Muhammed Asghar, Device Support & Development Manager at Warwickshire County Council. “It was clear that CDW had a lot of experience of managing complex configuration programmes, and that gave us a lot of confidence throughout.”
The streamlined execution of configuration and despatch at the NDC enabled Warwickshire County Council to deploy the devices in a highly efficient manner. Each employee attended a short training session before being handed their devices, set up and ready to go. A total of 4,500 devices were rolled out across multiple sites over six months.
“The project was delivered ahead of schedule and deployment was made easy through a zero-touch enrolment,” says Muhammed Asghar at Warwickshire County Council. “All of the devices had the right image, features, software and security, and this meant we could roll out hundreds of devices to our employees every day. We sat down with staff for around ninety minutes each, and then they got to take away a fully functional device.
“Without CDW’s White Glove Service, our IT team would have spent many days imaging the devices and getting them ready for deployment. It would have been a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. CDW and Microsoft made it easy, they were always there at the end of the phone to support us, with a proactive and can-do attitude throughout.” The deployment of the devices has had a significant impact on the way that Warwickshire County Council employees undertake their daily roles.
The Surface Pro is a lightweight, flexible device that can be flipped between laptop and tablet, and for this project was deployed with a digital pen. That, in combination with Office 365, means the Council has been able to move towards a highly productive, paperless environment which has resulted in a more efficient delivery of services. “The project has promoted a high performing culture inside the organisation,” says Muhammed Asghar. “We can meet the needs of our communities more quickly and productively - particularly when our teams are out in the field. It has allowed us to progress our digital transformation at pace.”
The flexible financing arrangement has also had a positive impact. By switching from a CapEx to an OpEx model, the Council was able to deploy devices at a much faster rate than it had traditionally managed through yearly budget allocations. The leasing model also freed up resources to invest in other frontline services, delivering added value. Looking back on the project, Warwickshire County Council has been keen to praise the collaborative nature of CDW and Microsoft, which resulted in a highly successful outcome. “Both organisations were always on hand to deal with any question we had, taking full ownership and being accountable whenever needed,” says Muhammed Asghar.
“The project was delivered on budget and ahead of time in a highly efficient manner.” Neil Bailey, Head of Sales – Education, Local Government & Housing at CDW adds: “We have been delighted to assist Warwickshire County Council on such a successful project. It acts as a positive reminder of how investment in new technology can help public sector organisations to transform the delivery of services, for the benefit of all.”
"The project has promoted a high performing culture inside the organisation, we can meet the needs of our communities more quickly and productively - particularly when our teams are out in the field. It has allowed us to progress our digital transformation at pace."
Device Support & Development Manager at Warwickshire County Council