When faced with a £2 million budget reduction, Warwickshire County Council’s IT team needed to take drastic action to ensure they could still serve their residents effectively. And since partnering with Google, the Council is now well on the way to realising those much-needed savings.

An internal review highlights immediate savings

Following news of the budget cuts, Tomino Ciuffini, Head of Information Assets, reviewed all of their IT operations to see where significant savings could be achieved.

The corporate email system was a prime candidate for attention. Over 20 years old, the platform was costly to maintain and support, consuming valuable cash that could be better spent elsewhere.

The power of the Cloud

With hardware maintenance, software licensing and the time taken by the network team to manage the system, on-site email was hugely costly. Having heard that Cloud systems provided all the same functionality and power, Ciuffini began talking to providers who may be able to assist with hosted email. 

It quickly became apparent that Google Apps for Work was the perfect partner. Not only could they provide enterprise-grade email for the entire Council, but many other valuable tools and time savings.

It took just eight weeks to move 3000 council workers’ accounts into the Google Apps ecosystem and bring the whole workforce up to speed with the new tools. The Council has since grown to 5500 user accounts.

Not just about money

Ciuffini is clear that his review was not simply about trying to identify immediate cost savings. “We wanted to share our facilities more effectively, improve the flexibility of our IT for staff and make it easier to work with external partners,” he said in a recent interview.

The Cloud-based nature of Google Apps for Work, coupled with the natural flexibility of the platform was just what Warwickshire County Council needed to help streamline their services.

The collaborative features of Google Drive were an instant improvement, allowing staff to work together on the same document in real time. The quality and accuracy of their work increased immediately as employees no longer had to chase down the most current version of a particular file because it is always readily available in Drive.

The any time, any place, any device access to data and productivity tools was equally valuable. Council employees can now work in the office, at home or on the road – in fact anywhere that their local service users need them. And with the addition of Hangouts to their productivity toolkit, they can chat in real time with the rest of their team, helping to do away with unnecessary face to face meetings and the time wasted travelling to each event.

How much has Warwickshire saved?

According to Ciuffini’s calculations, IT savings have been made across the board. But replacing the in-house email server with Google Apps has significantly reduced license costs for a start – to the tune of £100,000. And retiring the old email server infrastructure has saved another £100,000, followed by a further £60,000 through reduced on-site support costs.

Impressively, a single system with Google Apps helped Warwickshire County Council claw back an eighth of the needed budget reduction. But this is just the headline savings. These savings will be ongoing too – all future app upgrades are included as part of the subscription fee, helping to keep capital costs low for years to come.

New, more efficient working processes will help to reduce operating costs across the Council as a whole. And the flexibility to continually develop new ways of working will assist the organisation quickly adjust to the changing needs of their service users.