Allan Lightbourne / Chief Digital Officer / Tauranga City Council
Tauranga City Councilhttps://www.tauranga.govt.nz/
Build and Migration
As New Zealand’s fifth largest city, Tauranga City Council supports New Zealand’s fastest growing population, providing its 137,000 residents with everything from an airport, library services and water supply to dog registration. Before this project its 800 employees and contractors were using a range of desktop and laptop hardware running a dated virtual desktop environment that was limiting productivity. Once the Council decided to move to 100% laptops, DDS IT managed the builds, configuration and migration – just in time for Covid-19 to hit.
Tauranga City Council employs 650 people and a further 150 contractors. It was clear to the business that the technology tools they were using were a barrier to people working effectively and connecting with the community. Users would sometimes have to wait up to five minutes for a device to connect to the virtual desktop environment, and remote access to important resources like maps, images and videos was limited – making it hard to share important information with ratepayers when staff were outside the office.
This led to reduced productivity, inefficient use of workspaces as people were reluctant to leave their desktop computers, high reliance on paper-based processes and an overall feeling of frustration with the technology.
Coupled with this, the desktop and laptop fleet Council staff were using was approaching end of life, so it made sense for a hardware upgrade to form part of the solution.
Tauranga City Council Chief Digital Allan Lightbourne says the chosen strategy was very much mobility-first.
“We moved from a virtual desktop environment where people had a mix of desktops and laptops to having 99.9% of staff on standardised laptops.”
After a thorough review Allan’s team settled on three models of laptop from HP, covering the horsepower, screen size and mobility specs different users said they needed.
“We wanted to use the move as a foundation for better productivity, using the tools and solutions in Microsoft Office 365 running on Windows 10. And we wanted every user to have a positive, seamless migration,” says Allan.
“We wanted it done quickly, and we needed high-quality results. That’s what drove our choice of DDS IT.”
DDS IT’s involvement in the 4-month project started with the nuts and bolts, dedicating three engineers on-site to configure each of the 800 machines and set them up with the configuration each user needed. An intensive testing period followed, with a focus on making sure that the legacy apps the Council needed to migrate worked well in the new environment.
Finally, DDS IT supported face to face handover, setup and onboarding for the Council’s 800 users. Following the success of this engagement DDS IT was also awarded on-going support for this desktop build environment.
laptops configured and deployed
from hardware arriving to completion
Allan says the Council went into the project with very clearly defined goals: increased mobility, so its people could connect better to the community, reduced reliance on paper based processes, and reduced help desk calls and the bad user experiences that lead to them.
Then Covid-19 hit, forcing the entire Council workforce to work from home. Allan says that’s where the unexpected benefit of the project came in.
“The move to laptops, and the speed with which DDS IT helped us configure and roll them out, meant we were in a great place when we had to switch to WFH. Every single person was equipped and ready to work from home from day one.”
For more information: www.ddsit.co.nz